Overhaulout Part 9: Confréries Sans Frontières

By Rutskarn Posted Friday Nov 17, 2017

Filed under: Video Games 63 comments

Why are the Brotherhood of Steel in this story? Frankly, what good are they?

Here at the halfway marker the player is well stocked with goals, enemies, and resources. James was murdered by the Enclave. Project Purity is both stalled and in enemy hands. Before the end of the game the player will need to find the GECK, escape the Enclave’s clutches when captured, and mount an assault to reclaim the monument and purify the wasteland. None of that requires the Brotherhood unless we say it does. Do we really need to introduce a unique location and dozens of NPCs if all we need to say to the player is, “Go find a GECK, it’s in this part of the map somewhere?” Is the idea of fighting through all the Enclave’s soldiers and singlehandedly reclaiming the monument more unrealistic than, say, fighting one’s way alone out of Raven Rock? Or wiping out small armies of Super Mutants? Or any of the other absurd battles the player’s obliged to win without backup? At best you can argue that you need an armed force like the Brotherhood to hold Project Purity after you’ve taken it…but why would you need them to? I mean, in the original draft, why do you need to occupy the monument once you’ve successfully purified all of the water in the wasteland? Isn’t a desperate lone-wolf attack to fix the device, press the button, and who knows if you’ll make it out alive more exciting anyway? Wouldn’t that give your likely sacrifice a greater sense of heft and dramatic inevitability?

In the game as written, the primary effect of the Brotherhood is to dilute the player’s agency and responsibility. They do nothing to justify this and oblige other tremendous expenses on the part of the artists, writers, scripters, and voice actors. But I can’t cut them out; that’s not the kind of lemonade we’re making here. Instead I will ask myself:

What good could the Brotherhood be?The obvious prerequisite to that question is, what are the Brotherhood of Steel in Fallout 3? They possess these primary characteristics:

  • The Brotherhood is altruistic, noble, and concerned primarily with crusade against evil.
  • The Brotherhood is a source of advanced technology.
    • And power armor training at a roughly level-appropriate interval. Don’t try to tell me the whole faction justifies this one mechanic.
  • The Brotherhood is a military organization with aspects of a government.
    • Which distinguishes them from the Enclave, which is a.) the opposite and b.) for some reason outrageously evil.

Proceeding only from this description, they’re a pretty dubious addition to our story. Assuming the player’s a good guy, this is a story about overthrowing tyrants and handing the Wasteland the means to its own self-empowerment. Now we’re making players pursue that goal through allegiance with a paternal techno-stratocracy? Besides the fact that the Enclave happens to currently be mean and the Brotherhood happens to be led by an infallible saint, what meaningfully differentiates the Enclave from the Brotherhood? Isn’t either one a good or bad administration away from becoming the other? If so, how can you trust them as your allies and ask them to occupy your father’s work with murderous robots and elite armored forces?

This distinction is a crucial one to establish; otherwise we’re on some shaking thematic ground. More than anything else, we need to emphasize the Brotherhood’s nonviolent interests in the Wasteland. Make it clear that their “good fight” against mutants represents the necessary front lines of a scientific aid organization, a sort of Engineers Without Borders that’s forced to pack miniguns. Ideally we should sprinkle some of their public works projects (successful and otherwise) throughout the Wasteland: little fountains or medical droids or power generators or hydroponics facilities that may or may not have been co-opted by scabby raiders. Since these projects are not tools of conquest, we learn that at the very least the Brotherhood is not leveraging all its resources towards self-empowerment, which puts them pretty obviously about the Enclave or just about any other government. It becomes easier to face the idea that we’re leaning on them for help.

Back to tour narrative: the player is taken into the Citadel with all the other project survivors. There’s no lengthy scene with Li and Lyons hashing things out; it’s straight off to a holding cell to be interrogated personally about the Project’s status and the intervention of the Enclave. If the player’s mouthy or uncooperative, no special action is taken, although it’s implied that Dr. Li already talked quite a bit. Eventually the interrogation gives a sense of what the Brotherhood believes: the Enclave are evil scum motivated more by desire for power and control than a sesne of what’s good for humanity. The Wasteland needs another source of clean water. Your father’s project, even if in enemy hands, is the best dog in that fight. Also, it probably sucks.

That’s the important subtle detail: the Brotherhood of Steel, who have not even taken a crack at the monument in all these years, don’t actually know how the purifier is supposed to work and are actually pretty sure it can’t. In other words, they don’t really believe the project can purify all the water in the Wasteland. Why would they? But even if it’s going to end up a glorified de-radifying water cooler, that’s a net good that at the very least should not be in Enclave hands. They tell the player that if they ever discover the proper components to fix it up, they’ll help evict the Enclave, free of charge.

Partially, this restructuring of ideas and faction purpose is to validate our parents as awesome geniuses who can’t even be anticipated, let alone equaled, by the scientists who replace them in the story. Partially this reframing preserves the sense of the player being the one with desire and agency, rather than a pack of wrinkly BoS questgivers who step in smoothly to fill in for James, who is dead[/anchor voice]. Whenever possible, though, conversations with Brotherhood workers should highlight their thematic role: they as a faction symbolize The Helpers. First and foremost they’re not a crack military force or de facto government, but a collection of people who spend their lives trying to make things right for complete strangers. They swap stories not just about duels with killer mutants, but about harvests failed, settlers massacred, injustices suffered, towns laid low by preventable disease. They should agonize about failures and nurse the scars of defeat, physical and emotional. Each is tormented by demons of effort squandered or people not saved. The Brotherhood should represent altruism at its most sincere, personal, and consuming. Among other things, as the final choice between charity and enterprise draws closer, their obvious strain and misery and mixed feelings should lead the player to wonder:

Is this kind of sacrifice really what I want for myself?



From The Archives:

63 thoughts on “Overhaulout Part 9: Confréries Sans Frontières

  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Brotherhood has paladins.Paladins must be lawful good.Therefore the brotherhood is lawful good.QED

    1. Ardis Meade says:

      Tell that to 4e

      1. Cybron says:

        And 5e. And most D&D spinoffs since 4e.

        Turns out a lot of people aren’t big on alignment restrictions.

      2. Felblood says:

        And 3rd Edition Paladins of Chaos,

        and every freshman OGL project ever,

        and Blackguards.

        1. galacticplumber says:

          Or paladins of tyranny. Or…. Greygaurds was it?

          1. Groggy says:

            Or Choatic Good Paladins or Lawful Evil Paladins.

            Called “Gareths” & “Illriggers”.


            (God-damn Dragon magaizine could be stupid sometimes)

          2. Sartharina says:

            Greyguards are still required to be Lawful Good – in fact, maintaining that alignment is the one check on their station. They’re very much “Ends justify the means”, though – but that restriction requires the ends to actually pan out, not just take action they hope works out for the best.

  2. MichaelGC says:

    Regarding NEXT WEEK: I can't remember – did we blow up Megaton or do we still have the nuke to hand? Because I just thought of a use for it.

    1. KarmaTheAlligator says:

      But can it be carried?

      1. galacticplumber says:

        Depends. Do modded weapons count? If so there’s unique fatman variant that makes that explosion happen at the point of impact. Regardless of where you are without godmode you’ll almost certainly die firing it. If they die too though? Worth it.

  3. ElementalAlchemist says:

    wrinkly BoS questgivers

    Hah, I can picture that wrinkly old bastard Lyons in my mind’s eye now.

  4. Gerbil says:


    Oh shit

    1. tremor3258 says:

      After everything Rutskarn has already pulled off with this series, I think he can find something good in Little Lamplight.



      1. Viktor says:

        Honestly, Little Lamplight isn’t hard to fix. I’ll post my version when Rutskarn’s goes up, but in short, all you need to do is explain why it exists, and that’s actually not as hard as you’d think.

        On-topic: Ruts’ post here helps the BoS, but it doesn’t actually fix the fundamental problems with them that he pointed out. Not his fault, the problems are too integral to when they show up and their role in the story, but if even a rewrite like this can’t fix a problem, someone really screwed up at the initial plotting stage.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          People werent rubbed the wrong way by it because it was illogical for it to exist,but because they were forced to serve the whim of immortal assholes who they shouldve been able to squash like a bug if they wanted to.Its extremely difficult to change that into something palatable without actually messing with the game and either allowing one to skip it(without wasting a perk,that is),or to simply annihilate it.

          1. Ciennas says:

            This. The characters in Bethesda games that are the most abrasive, are the ones you can’t touch- not because you aren’t strong enough, but because Bethesda granted them a godmode flag.

            For an excellent example of this, check Maven Blackbriar, the woman who thinks she owns the world because she’s been playing her little behind the scenes power game, and threatens the manifest will of Akatosh- a person who casually eats Elder Dragon souls for breakfast, and can tell reality to break in ways that only Sheogorath had dreamed of.


            I know, she becomes the new town mayor if you sign up with the imperials. I counter that if you’re that desperate to not interfere with that scripting, throw in a new quest after all other conditions had been met, and let me get the woman arrested at least.

            1. BlueHorus says:

              Gah. That woman.
              I’d joined and won the civil war, worked for her as part of the Thieves Guild (helping her out quite a lot), slain at least two dragons outside her town – and she’d STILL talk down to me and she was STILL invulnerable.

              Welp, that’s another argument for PC games. Thanks to the debug console, not only did Maven find she was no longer invulnerable, but she was brought back to life several times so I could kill her in different ways.

              1. Trix2000 says:

                Now come on! What kind of horrible person would–

                …Oh wait, one of the first things I did when I met her was my patented “quicksave->overheadswing->rampage->death” cycle.

                Carry on then.

          2. Syal says:

            It’s not even that hard to make them not asshats. “We can’t let you in, Ron took the keys when he left and no one can open the door anymore. You need to go find Ron.”

            Or if you want to keep the Children of the Corn vibe, it needs to end with blasting seven kinds of hell out of those kids.

            1. galacticplumber says:

              Not even that. Here’s a simple thing you can do while allowing them to still intentionally not let you in at first.

              “You expect me not only to let a stranger with twice the size and likely physical ability of everyone here in, but one who I can see is loaded down with combat armor and various weapons? When the last grownup interaction we’ve had was a bunch of slavers stealing one of our own and preventing us from pursuing with superior firepower and the danger of being taken too? When we’ve no reason to trust you and your first demand is just to get in immediately? Find our friend in this general direction or shove off.”

              See? Much more reasonable while still being completely and utterly against your current wishes.

              1. Syal says:

                That one would still end with a Fat Man to the back of the head, though. If you tell PC me you think I’m dangerous I’m going to spend the entire questline waiting to prove it to you.

                1. galacticplumber says:

                  Yes but it MAKES SENSE GODDAMMIT. This person doesn’t like or trust me, but it’s for well established reason.

        2. tremor3258 says:

          It’s hard as much as a single-player, free wandering multiple ending type game have even a genial beneficial organization for dropping player empowerment.

          “Oh, I work for these guys now, even though I’m three babies from my baby kicking achievement,” versus, “Well, I got this list of issues the town has, and I’m fixing everything down to the blinking light in the lavatory”

          The first game, of course, they’re crazy isolationist and the player digs them up.

          If it was something like fighting the Enclave you hear about some super-helpful, super-tech guys in, say, Baltimore or something. Then the capstone is the player fighting through to either convince these guys to assault Raven Rock, or go in, and steal their robot. That’d be a little higher agency

          1. Stealing Liberty Prime would definitely be a superior option to have.

        3. BlueHorus says:

          It’s better saved for next week, but there’s nothing wrong with how Little Lamplight starts out…it’s just the stuff they try to do with it after that.
          Like a lot of Bethesda stuff it’s fine until you start to think about it too much (read: at all in this case)

          But yeah, next week.

          1. Anitogame says:

            Thing is, the story behind how it got started is really good and the location would work… IF the game was set 20 years after the bombs, not 200. At that point you’d still be largely in the ‘everything’s gone to shit’ survival of the fittest phase, where a group of kids holing up in a cave and trying to survive without adult supervision could be feasible. Not hugely likely, but feasible, and it’s a decent enough idea for a location in a game series known for its dark humour.

            But when you have to make the kids immortal due to ratings boards, it removes or dulls player agency. Which is why NV has VERY few kids, maybe half a dozen at most.

            1. galacticplumber says:

              You can have a character be an asshole, or someone I can’t kill, and it’s only a minor complaint. Do both at once and we have a problem.

            2. onodera says:

              And even then there still are mods that get rid of the Mick and Ralph’s cryer in the most gruesome ways.

        4. The Big Brzezinski says:

          I just hope to see a better explanation of how LL maintains its population when it kicks people out shortly after reaching puberty. Maybe they’re a much-rumored beacon for orphaned children seeking refuge and slavers seeking easy prey. Bethesda, with Wally Cleaver’s nuance and maturity, simply never addressed it. This unintentionally implied Lamplighters had to quickly reproduce before reaching age sixteen. If Megaton was nonsensical and Rivet City was sloppy, Little Lamplight was super creepy.

          That’s not even getting into the real question; what do they eat?

          1. galacticplumber says:

            THAT surprisingly is actually one of the better answered food questions in fallout 3. They subsist on a strange fungus that grows from meat found in the cave. They’ll even trade you fungus for meat because the meat is in limited supply and won’t last forever. The creepy part? It’s human meat. The kids are unknowingly using human meat as a farming tool. The strange meat from Andale is the only thing you can make the trade with.

  5. Pax says:

    Hey, your description of your redesigned BOS sounds remarkably like the Followers of the Apocalypse, an important faction from the original games that Bethesda doesn’t give a shit about because they don’t wear power armor.

    1. Ciennas says:

      Ya know, why didn’t they just make Lyons a Follower leading a contingent of Brotherhood troopers through mutual respect and trust or whatever?

      Or make them Followers with Powered Armor Training?

      Wouldn’t even require much rewriting.

      1. Anitogame says:

        Only problem is the BoS should be basically dead. They were virtually wiped out in the war with the NCR. But Bethesda completely ignored that little detail :/

        1. Decius says:

          Depends on whether Fallout: Tactics is canon or not. If not, then the blimps that departed to chase super mutants at the end of Fallout remain canon. If so, then the Eastern Brotherhood has a strong power base and also either a history of aggressive recruiting or a history of xenophobic omnicide.

          Deathclaw companion? Worth it.

        2. Jabrwock says:

          Even better re-write, these are the REFUGEE Brotherhood who fled California after the rest got wiped out in the NCR clash.

          Gives them a credible reason to switch from technology hoarders (we must safeguard technology to prevent another Enclave) to technology guides (we must restore civilization). They had a crisis of faith after NCR, and had to look at what their role *really* was. Even librarians guarding knowledge against the darkness need to eventually bring the books back out to give the knowledge back to the people, otherwise what’s the point?

          1. Somniorum says:

            It’s been a long while, but I… think? that their story is somewhat along these lines?

            At the very least, Fallout 3 didn’t pretend that the Brotherhood didn’t have those fairly ignorant roots – they treated the Brotherhood that you see in the Capitol Wasteland as being renegades who, due to leader whats-his-name’s uncharacteristic idealism, became more outward-looking and altruistic than was the norm for the Brotherhood. You see Brotherhood purists wandering around the Wasteland who don’t much care for the Capitol’s current (heretical) mainstream.

            1. Sartharina says:

              Amusingly – someone pointed out that the more Altruistic Brotherhood managed to do more for their original mission (Project Purity, than the loyalist “Outcasts” managed.

    2. Decius says:

      “This banner tells the wasteland that this territory belongs to the Followers of the Apocolypse, and to keep out.”

      FoA are more badass than BoS, because they accomplish more with their lack of tech than the brotherhood does with their advanced bunker and bureaucratic inventory controls.

    3. BlueHorus says:

      The Followers aren’t on the box art for the original Fallout, either.

      It does make a hell of a lot more sense, though. It’s the aims and ideals of the Followers almost to a T (or an F?).
      In Rut’s version Followers would be even MORE fitting, since they are exactly the kind of people who would overextend themselves in the Capital Wasteland trying to help and then be caught completely off-guard by Super Mutant incursions. It really would be engineers and scientists with weapons and armor they never intended to use barely holding back the waves of Mutants.

      1. Decius says:

        It wouldn’t even have to be waves at that point. Super mutants could in small groups better combatants than an entire team of people who spent most of their time in a workshop that doesn’t have it’s own rifle range.

  6. TheJungerLudendorff says:

    Mandatory comment section spellcheck:

    1st paragraph

    Here at the halfway marker the player is well stocked with goals, enemies, and resources James was murdered by the Enclave.

    Seems to miss a punctuation dot between “resources” and “James”.

    5th paragraph

    This distinction is a crucial one to establish; otherwise we're on some shaking thematic ground.

    Unless “shaking” is a new euphemism the kids are using these days, this is probably supposed to be “shaky thematic ground(s)”
    Or perhaps “theme shaking ground”?

    5th paragraph

    which puts them pretty obviously about the Enclave or just about any other government.

    “about the Enclave” is probably meant to be “above the Enclave”

    6th paragraph

    he Enclave are evil scum motivated more by desire for power and control than a sesne of what's good for humanity.

    “sesne” should be “sense”

    last paragraph

    rather than a pack of wrinkly BoS questgivers who step in smoothly to fill in for James,

    Not sure, but is “BoS” meant to be “BS”?



    should be incoherent screams of rage, frustration and dissapointment, with the occasional vow to never buy any Bethesda game ever again.

    1. Dan Efran says:

      Also, “Don't try to tell me the whole faction justifies this one mechanic.” seems backwards. Probably meant “Don't try to tell me this one mechanic justifies the whole faction.”

      1. Ciennas says:

        Well, the Super Mutant problem is largely contained to the meatgrinder in downtown DC.

        So that’s something. They still leak out around it though, especially since Vault 87 is way on the opposite end of the map.

        So… huh. They need more.

        1. BlueHorus says:

          Yeah, about that…

          I fought a hell of a lot of giant scorpions around Vault 87, quite a few Yao Guai, but no Super Mutants. I suppose I missed the miles-long underground tunnel they all used to get to the DC ruins? ‘Cos that army must have got from A to B somehow…right?

          Ah, I’ve done it again. Just need to stop thinking too much.

    2. 4ier says:

      BoS is Brotherhood of Steel.

      Connecting words such as “of” and “the” are sometimes put as lowercase letters in acronyms.

  7. Bloodsquirrel says:

    Alternatively”‹, the BoS are tragic. They want to be helpers, but the need to be a military has diluted and taken over their mission. They show how trying to weild power, even for good, can be full of traps, and how even the best intentioned can wind up mired in conflict.

    1. Sartharina says:

      I think the point is they want a team the Player wants to align with here, not another Villain faction.

      Frankly, having the BoS as it was (In fact, having it be less openly altruistic might help, so less altruistic players still want to go with them), in a “We both hate the Enclave, so let’s take them down together. We’ll take care of the details of Project Purity, and you’ll get a suit of Power Armor” sort of way. As far as the interest in Project Purity – it’s an impressive technological feat, and the Brotherhood want it to happen on those grounds alone. That everyone else in the wasteland is just a happy coincidence.

      I actually don’t mind the idea of the Brotherhood and its split being an adjacent plotline to the main narrative that merely intersects it here for a while. Remember – Video games have amazing worldbuilding potential – condensing a game’s story to a single ‘pure’ narrative wastes a lot of that potential. We have the Originalist Outcasts, who want to still just hoard technology (And… they’re not doing well.) We also have Lyon’s Brotherhood, which is far more engaged because they want development of tech to continue. We have “The Pitt” to explore this schism, which would show the darker side of Lyon’s branch of the Brotherhood – While in DC the quest to get massive technology working helps everyone, that same mission has awoken the dehumanizing “Industrial Monster” in Pittsburgh.

      Oh… and I think Rutskarn made a mistake in having Autumn get killed by Project Purity. He should have been in power armor in that scene, just not wearing his helmet (Which they might have to do some shenanigans with to make him hold it until the Purifier is sabotaged, at which point he puts it on as he escapes) – but when we see him again, he’s been turned into a ghoul by the brief exposure of his head to the radiation.

  8. BlueHorus says:

    I…like Fallout 3’s take on the Brotherhood, possibly more than the canon version. As people, I mean.
    People using their reserves of technology for good, to help others rather than a group of ritualistic isolationists who steal people’s stuff (often by force) ‘for their own good’ and don’t really seem to have a plan beyond that.
    I mean, how long is long enough to keep this technology safe from abuse? Forever? Why not just destroy it? Do you vet people every generation? Or is it until war changes? ‘Cos I have some bad news for you on that count, guys…

    One thing Fallout 3 did well was include the Outcast faction, who had stuck to the Brotherhood’s original mission – they came across as an obsessive, out-of-date cult, even when depicted by Bethesda. The Brotherhood faction that you interact with (almost by accident) actually do make quite a lot of sense.

    Of course, Obsidian did it better (Poor Veronica :( ) and with more nuance, but that’s a given really.

    1. Viktor says:

      See, that’s my objection to the F3 take. It’s a post-apocalypse; the world’s a mess. There should absolutely be good people still trying to help, and even smaller Followers of the Apocalypse-style organizations, but an entire gameworld-affecting faction whose goals and methods you can unreservedly support is not an option the devs should be including unless they are very sure it fits the tone. The Wasteland/Mojave/Commonwealth are supposed to be rough places where everyone is struggling to survive. Including a group that manages to keep their hands clean while still being a large, relevant force undercuts any attempts to depict the struggle elsewhere.

      1. BlueHorus says:

        It does fit the tone.
        …of a simplistic Bethesda game.
        I remarked last time that the Enclave go out of their way to capture and imprison that one old man who actually believed in them – why?
        ‘Cos they’re the bad guys and they do the bad guy things.

        And the BoS are the good guys, so they do the good guy things like helping people, fighting the mutants, and dying in irradiated control rooms when the player points out that’s a dumb thing to do.
        They could certainly have been written better, sure. I personally love the idea of finding a brotherhood squad about to rob a destitute farm at laser rifle-point for the famer’s medical supplies and ammunition, because people on the front need them more: ‘There’s people dying for you in those ruins RIGHT NOW! Just give us what we need and we’ll leave!’.
        (Hey, non-obvious moral choice!)

        Buuuuuuuut, it’s Bethesda, so nuance and depth are for losers.

        1. Ciennas says:

          You know, I don’t think everything has to be washed into a grey haze. They wanted an unambiguously good choice, and while poorly thought out, I loved having an unambiguously good choice to work with.

          It’s possible to do this and still have complexity and depth. For a crash course on this style, go watch the new Wonder Woman. And then watch it again, cause that was a good movie.

          Back to Fallout 3: This iteration of the Brotherhood of Steel still sticks with me as a group I would love to hang out with. Them turning into their own antithesis within a decade’s time rankled me.

          1. BlueHorus says:

            I’d say the Followers of the Apocalypse as depicted in New Vegas fit too.
            They didn’t always get it right; they were by no means perfect; they made mistakes; did stupid things; sometimes people died or got hurt as a result of their actions…

            And they meant well, every single time. Very rarely were their actions motivated by anything other than a genuine desire to protect, help, or enable people. When it went wrong, often it was because of a bad situation, or the actions of someone else who wasn’t a Follower…
            Of all the factions in New Vegas, they were the only group I would help out without reservation or second thoughts.

            1. Anitogame says:

              “or the actions of someone else who wasn't a Follower…”

              Veronica says hi ;_;

        2. Decius says:

          Torment, This War of Mine, Papers Please, and Prey have met my recent need for non-obvious moral choices.

          I can handle a bit of ‘whose side are you on’ in a game about taking sides.

      2. Decius says:

        The Followers aren’t a large, relevant force. They’re a large group of people that doesn’t lose political fights because 1) They stay out of politics 2) Their goals are broadly in everyone’s interest and 3) they stay out of politics

  9. RichardW says:

    Just want to say I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this series (and reading the discussions in the comments). Even though Fallout 3 is one of my favourite games, I have to admit the plot was a bit nonsensical at times. Reading your thoughts on what might have been if Bethesda had a little more forethought has been a lot of fun, and I’m pretty sure whenever I end up going back to the capital wasteland my head canon is going to be working overtime papering over the cracks with some of the gems in here.

  10. tzeneth says:

    One thing that’s bothered me is that people claim that the BoS in Washington is out of character but aren’t they the minority survivors from Fallout Tactics, which its opening indicates that they are more open to sharing their technology and doing good. Heck, in the opening of that game it talks about them trading advanced medicine, recruiting locals, and spreading their minority “ideals”.

    1. camycamera says:

      Well that’s the thing, nobody played Tactics :P

      1. Decius says:

        I must have played a different game. Tactics was about the Elders of the survivors of that group purging their ranks of anyone who disagreed with their xenophobic ideals by sending them on missions of Certain Death. To a lesser degree, they enslaved lesser peoples, ghouls, mutants, and animals by conscripting them to fill out the rosters of missions being sent into areas of certain death.

        “We won’t kill you all if you send three strong warriors to serve in our military.”
        “Brave warriors, a bunch of bandits are trying to ransom one of your rival tribes. Take these subpar firearms and go stop them.”
        “Shit, they came back. Send them off to go shoot at those nutjobs threatening to blow up that ghoulie city with the greenine brothel, there’s no way they can handle that.”
        “Oh come on. Fine, send them off to ‘recover the power armor’ from that group of deserters. No way will they survive that.”
        “Really? REALLY?! FINE! Make them hand-deliver a nuclear lockpick to the center of the robot threat.”

        1. tzeneth says:

          I’ll admit to not playing it and only watching the opening cinematic. But the cinematic does partially explain the blimp in FO4…although they lost their blimp.

          1. Anitogame says:

            It really doesn’t. For one, Tactics isn’t canon. Second, the BoS Bullshit-powered Blimp in Fallout 4 was constructed at Adams Airforce Base.

  11. JBC31187 says:

    So, it’s taken me a while to put my thoughts together. I think the BoS can fit in Rutskarn’s version pf Fallout 3 mostly as is, with some better explaining/re-writing of who they are, what they were, and how they fit into the game’s world.

    Who are they?: The East Coast BoS is a small (VERY small) group of un-mutated humans who possess limited amounts of pre-War tech, mostly weapons. They defend human civilians from raiders, feral ghouls and super-mutants, and try to improve the quality of life in the area, mostly with lasers. IN RETURN, locals pay a tax in gear and extra food. It’s not a heavy tax, and the BoS is flexible with due dates, but the message is clear- help us, and we’ll help you. Don’t help us, and you’re on your own. Call it “pragmatic heroism.” Instead of trying to save the world like Dad, they’re focused on improving life in the local community (mostly with lasers). In a way, they’re like Dr. Li, who abandoned Project Purity in favor of more practical goals like hydroponic gardens for Rivet City.

    Who were they?: The original BoS were pretty much militant, isolationist hoarders. They may or may not have gone to war with the New California Republic, but the fact remains that they were out-numbered and out-gunned, and their old-world tech really isn’t the equalizer they thought it was. When Elder Lyons was sent east, he had limited resources and ended up far from his target. At first they survived by poaching off the civilian populace, but like back west, they didn’t have the numbers to make a go of it, and lost too many of their own, such as Mrs. Elder Lyons. So, Lyons started making deals with local traders and farmers, exchanging superior firepower for food and shelter. Eventually, they made their way to DC, which is now an irradiated, mutant-ridden wasteland, with a notable lack of old-world tech that hadn’t been scavenged already. Unable to retreat, Lyons shacked up in the Pentagon, eventually turning it into the Citadel.

    How to they fit in the game world?: Like Rutskarn said, the BoS is a “paternal techno-stratocracy.” Don’t undo it, emphasize it- and focus on the similarities and differences between the Enclave and the Brotherhood. They’re both militant, patronizing tech-hoarders. But the Enclave has the army to bend the area to their will, and the Brotherhood is reduced to squabbling with Talon Company over who controls this trading town.

    So, my version of the Brotherhood of Steel:

    Three Dog likes to talk about the Steel Paladins fighting the good fight. Striding forth to battle slavers and rescue Super-Mutant captives, the BoS patrol the wasteland, helping civilization grow. Occasionally, you’ll even see a Paladin and lesser-armored recruits escorting merchants (not the other wandering merchants, these guys are competitors). You can make your way to DC and the Citadel, which is an ever-expanding safe zone built around the Pentagon (construction halted due to Super Mutants and Talon Company attacks). Outsiders aren’t allowed in the fortress proper, of course, but you can wander around the outside town, which is small but clean, and not littered with random shit. The BoS is still processing new recruits, but if you join later you get a spiffy new suit of battle armor, and power armor if you graduate. That’s the official word.

    The reality is, the BoS was already low on manpower and supplies, and is now facing extinction thanks to the Enclave and the Super Mutants. They can barely arm their initiates and auxiliary troops with battle armor and bullets, never mind the power armor. Elder Lyons really does want to help the entire Wasteland, but he was raised by the old-school Brotherhood and is constantly frustrated by how the little people don’t listen to their elders. The Citadel is losing a trade war with Rivet City and their group of merchants, because the BoS thought they could take over without a hitch. So, BoS-sponsored merchants have less gear of lower quality, and the Citadel is excluded from the good trade. Local warlords are arming themselves to take on the most visible threat nd choicest prize- Talon Company in particular found a stash of battle armor and rifles outside the game map, and are now challenging the Brotherhood for the advanced tech stashes. The Renegade BoS are angry and humiliated about doing grunt work for food scraps, and are covertly recruiting among Lyons’ group. The Underworld ghouls are pissed off about the BoS shooting at them, and will absolutely shoot back.

    1. JBC31187 says:

      What does this mean in-game:

      In-Universe, while the Brotherhood may advertise themselves as champions of justice and the way to the future, they just don’t have the industry or the manpower to do more than defend the Citadel and the surrounding area. This is Bad, because they’re also the only ones who can fight the Super Mutant raiding parties without needing an entire army or nuking the area. They’re also self-righteous and pig-headed, which means they’re pissing off people who should be their allies. This is also Bad, because the Brotherhood can’t fight Super Mutants or the Enclave without outside help.

      So, they’re a prominent faction, but they’re still dependent on you, the player, to get shit done. They have enough salvaged weapons to reward you for exploring the old vaults and bringing back specific toys (Liberty Prime scavenger hunt?). They can provide a safe zone in the middle of DC even if you can’t get pass the plot-locked Citadel proper, and a store to sell off your extra crap. They have the tech base to point you in the direction of the main plot, and will even supply you with weapons and power armor to see it through.

      And then there’s the subquest potential. The BoS is tired of eating 500 year-old spam, and Dr. Li has hydroponics that the Brotherhood would love to “borrow.” The problem, of course, is that Rivet City and the Citadel are feuding over trading rights with Megaton, and Li’s still pissed over the last time the BoS “borrowed” her research (which explains why no one in the Citadel has scurvy). Not to mention that Rivet City’s been placing bounties on “scavenged” power armor to build their own militia, and are happy to pay Talon Company for freshly-scavenged sets.

      Or: someone’s been attacking BoS scouting parties when they were checking out vaults. Turns out they’re ghoulified survivors from The Pitt, when Lyons fought a war to take over production, and ended with some unknown idiot nuking the place. Do you expose the BoS’s old sins on radio to gain points with the local Ghoul factions, or blackmail Lyons for extra toys, or talk him into confessing for the good of all, at the cost of any sweet rewards?

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