|For the video describing the history and lore of the faction, see The Appalachian Brotherhood of Steel (video).|
The Appalachian Brotherhood of Steel, also known as the West Virginia Brotherhood, was a chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel that was founded by Paladin Elizabeth Taggerdy. By 2102, they had been almost entirely wiped out by the Scorched; however, a small group of reinforcements later arrived from Lost Hills, and established a new Brotherhood contingent in the area.
The origins of the Appalachian chapter are closely tied to Taggerdy's Thunder, a US Army Ranger unit led by Lieutenant Elizabeth Taggerdy. Deployed to war games organized in Appalachia in October 2077, Taggerdy led the Thunder against a unit of United States Marines. As usual, Taggerdy planned for a hard and fast attack, hugging the edge of the exercise area and striking where the Marines were least expecting it. She never got the chance to execute that strategy, as the Thunders were surprised by the Great War. After first dismissing the attacks as part of the simulation, the nuclear warheads that struck Appalachia soon revealed that war came home.
With the chain of command in tatters and nothing but static on the radio, they attempted to raise any kind of ranking officer to receive new orders and move forward through the desolation of the nuclear war. What Taggerdy didn't expect to find on the radio bands was Captain Roger Maxson, looking for someone in Appalachia. Although she was hesitant about speaking to a confessed traitor, her friendship made her decide to give Maxson a chance. The fact that the U.S. Army disappeared in a nuclear fire overnight played a key role in the decision. Together with her unit, Taggerdy moved to Camp Venture, an old survival training camp, where they spent the dark winter of 2077. Soon after, she ordered the camp reactivated to fill out the ranks of the Thunder. Due to the strict requirements posed by the drill instructor, only four recruits made it through to the end of training and became members of the Thunder. However, they were far from the only ones and soon recruits started appearing at the Camp in numbers, primarily former soldiers looking for a way out.
That way out presented itself when Captain Roger Maxson announced the foundation of the Brotherhood of Steel. Although Taggerdy was hesitant to accept a completely new system of ranks and ideas, believing that the military training and loyalty to commanding officers was enough to carry the day, she did not object, at first treating it as an order like any other. Although Taggerdy was skeptical, Maxson outlined his plan to give her and her men a new identity as members of the Brotherhood, both as a way to return meaning to their lives and combat the overwhelming depression that threatened to take what few survivors made it through the nuclear fire and to immunize them to the authority of any politicians that might emerge from the Vaults (or in Appalachia's case, the Whitespring Congressional Bunker) and set fire to the world again. Taggerdy accepted the new orders without believing in them at first, but soon grew into her role.
Paladin Taggerdy was known for only recruiting from those who had military experience and found it difficult to coordinate with the other, more "civilian" factions in Appalachia. This became apparent in their dealings with the Responders and Charleston: By October 2082, the Brotherhood appeared on the verge of conflict with the Responders, as they requisitioned munitions while the Responders were trying to contain the Huntersville mutant threat. Although they eventually acquiesced to the demands, it did the relations between the factions no favors. However, the relations eventually normalized, especially since the Brotherhood had other problems (as did the Responders, due to the Christmas Flood which destroyed Charleston in December 2082). The Brotherhood's numbers and new classes graduating from Camp Venture exhausted the available space at the survival camp, necessitating improvised measures. The Brotherhood decided to expand south into the Cranberry Bog, opting to seize the defunct Allegheny Asylum as their new base of operations. Although plagued by feral ghouls, the building was structurally sound and had a direct connection to the Thunder Mountain power plant via landlines, wrestled from the Free States by Taggerdy's troops. Although the Asylum provided enough space to grow into, they soon encountered problems: scorchbeasts, first as unknown bats flying in from Watoga, easily scared away by miniguns. This was chalked up to Bog weirdness at first - a grave error.
West of the mountains, the Brotherhood forged alliances. The Brotherhood and the Responders united together against the super mutants, fighting a bitter battle to contain the mutants that ultimately ended in a major victory. The campaign ended in May 2086, marking the high point in Responder and Brotherhood relations, although it claimed many lives, including Squire De Silva and Paladin Swafford. Congratulating them on their victory, Elder Maxson also announced a new mission for the Brotherhood: To act as preservationists, keeping the embers of civilization burning, so that the Brotherhood may become the catalyst for a new, better civilization in the future. Taggerdy implemented the new orders, and one of her first orders was to pull troops out from Grafton dam, abandoning passes through the Savage Divide that allowed the Responders and Free States to trade openly.
Some responded to this new policy with enthusiasm, others with grudging acceptance, and yet others, like Sergeant Hank Madigan, left the Brotherhood to join the Responders. The new mission quickly took a backseat, however, as the Brotherhood encountered the scorchbeasts and the Scorched in the Cranberry Bog. Conferring with Maxson's ace researcher, Scribe Hailey Takano, the Brotherhood in Appalachia quickly calculated that the scorchbeasts represented a potential extinction event for humanity. Lost Hills supplied several designs and weapon schematics to help stem the tide, including a sonic generator and an automated research program, but by the 2090s, the failing infrastructure of the Old World rapidly rendered communication impossible. Before being cut-off, Maxson ordered Taggerdy to hold the tide - and proscribed the use of nuclear weapons.
Camp Venture was officially abandoned on July 20, 2093, as the Brotherhood tightened their belt and pulled all remaining troops to focus their firepower at the Allegheny Asylum and Thunder Mountain power plant. The remaining Squires completed their training, though no new candidates were accepted at this point. The Brotherhood focused on fighting the scorchbeasts entirely, tapping all available sources of supplies, taxing their goodwill. By January 2094, that meant routinely requisitioning food, dozens of missiles, fusion cores, and hundreds of rounds of conventional ammunition from all available sources.
Realizing that time was not on their side, the Brotherhood launched Operation Touchdown on January 29, 2095, with Paladin Taggerdy taking the most well-trained troops of the Brotherhood to confront the scorchbeasts in their lair and destroy them. The operation claimed the life of Paladin Taggerdy and her men, but for over a week, no scorchbeasts appeared on the surface, leading Senior Knight Wilson to declare a preliminary mission accomplished. However, this proved to be optimistic. By June, the sightings continued to increase in number, indicating that Touchdown had failed. By August, the situation was clear: The Brotherhood had failed in its mission and was rapidly approaching extinction. Rather than flee, the soldiers decided to continue manning their posts until the bitter end, trying to buy as much time for Appalachia as possible.
By August 18, 2095, the Brotherhood was down to Scribe Grant and a handful of surviving knights. They made their last stand at Fort Defiance. Thunder Mountain fell on August 19, completing the destruction of the Brotherhood. With their deaths, the Brotherhood in Appalachia was extinguished, leaving behind a bounty of weapons and the automated defenses for those who would come after to try and fight the scorchbeasts.
The Brotherhood of Steel in Appalachia was initially limited to just Taggerdy's Thunder and auxiliary forces recruited at Camp Venture (later turned into full rangers and members by the brutal training methods). After joining the Brotherhood, they were folded into the existing Brotherhood of Steel hierarchy, with one minor difference characteristic to the early years of the Brotherhood in that squires were adult members of the Brotherhood training to become full knights. The nomenclature was unpopular among some of the troops and Maxson eventually changed it - long after the Brotherhood in Appalachia perished.
Another difference is the emphasis on the military aspect of the organization. Taggerdy was famously distrustful of civilians, considering them to be weak links in the chain, and that attitude translated into their dealings with non-military factions across Appalachia, making cooperation difficult. The landmark battle of Huntsville and Maxson's Preservation of Technology speech that introduced a new mandate and elevated scribes like Grant as equals of the knights changed the internal organization of the faction, but not, unfortunately, the general attitude that prevented effective cooperation and confronting the scorchbeasts.
Originally a small unit of US Army Rangers, Taggerdy's forces eventually exercised limited control of several strategic locations across Appalachia, including:
- Camp Venture: A survivalist camp that acted as the first permanent base of operations for Taggerdy and the Thunder. Later served as a training camp for Brotherhood recruits. Abandoned in the terminal stages of the war against the scorchbeasts.
- Fort Defiance: Formerly the Allegheny Asylum, the fort was established as the Brotherhood sought to expand its operations from Camp Venture. Although never fully cleared of ghouls leftover from the war, it became the nucleus of the Brotherhood's defense against the scorchbeasts.
- Thunder Mountain power plant: Primary source of power for the Brotherhood forces in Appalachia, seized from the Free States. It was the last location to fall to the Scorched.
- Grafton dam: A frontier outpost used to provide power and secure a trade route between the residents of Morgantown and Harpers Ferry.
- Big Bend Tunnel East: A chokepoint in the Cranberry Bog to help prevent the Scorched threat from spreading outside the region.
- Drop Site V9, Firebase LT, Firebase Major, Firebase Hancock, Forward Station Alpha, Forward Station Delta, Survey camp Alpha, The Thorn: Defense sites established along the perimeter of the Cranberry Bog.
- Paladin Elizabeth Taggerdy - Chapter founder, associate of Roger Maxson, leader and namesake of United States Army Rangers unit Taggerdy's Thunder. Killed in action during Operation Touchdown, a mission to destroy what was thought to be the main scorchbeast nest in the Glassed cavern.
- Paladin Swafford - Killed in action in Huntersville.
- Senior Knight Ted Wilson - In charge of training at Camp Venture before it was abandoned, held out with Tex and an unknown member on the fourth floor of Fort Defiance during its fall to the Scorched.
- Scribe Grant McNamara - Helped restore power to the Grafton Dam.
- Scribe Kerry - Killed on the rooftops of Watoga.
- Knight Esposito - Training sergeant at Camp Venture before it was abandoned, later killed when her position was assaulted by three scorchbeasts.
- Knight Johnny Moreno - Killed along with Paladin Taggerdy during Operation Touchdown.
- Knight Kaede Ito - Mentioned by her brother Jonah Ito, killed defending Fort Defiance.
- Knight "Tex" Rogers - Held out with Wilson and an unknown member on the fourth floor of Fort Defiance during its fall to the Scorched.
- Knight Reische - Oversaw supply lines and scout deployment for the camp at Big Bend Tunnel East.
- Rachel Pryce - Combat medic, former member of the Responders.
- Initiate Vernon Dodge - Former member in-training at Camp Venture, enslaved by raiders while attempting to locate a lost recruit, and the only current known surviving member.
- Initiate Fowler - On a mission with Initiate Tieggs in Forward Station Delta.
- Initiate Tieggs - On a mission with Initiate Fowler.
- Squire Belmonte - Mentioned in Fort Defiance.
- Squire Evelyn - Mentioned in Fort Defiance.
- Squire Hannah de Silva - Performed initial recon of Fort Defiance, killed in action in Huntersville.
- Squire Gary Weber - Went missing during a patrol.
- Squire Gilden - One of the two final survivors, who died in the last stand at the Thunder Mountain power plant.
- Squire Montgomery - Sent to VTU with a strike team to secure the automated research lab.
- Squire R. Rosen - One of the two final survivors, who died in the last stand at the Thunder Mountain power plant.
- Squire Schultz - Scouted out locations in the Cranberry Bog.
- Danny - Part of Squire Montgomery's strike team sent to VTU.
- Martinez - Part of the team to secure Grafton Dam.
- Melissa - Responsible for the camp at Big Bend Tunnel East.
- B - Recruit at Camp Venture, only known by initial.
- cut note at Camp Venture. M.R.V. - Armorer at Camp Venture, mentioned only by initials in a
- Henry - Recruit at Camp Venture.
- Shelley - Recruit at Camp Venture.
- Romeo Squad - A Brotherhood squad sent to investigate a large number of military robots at the Harpers Ferry pump station.
- Former members
- E. Fisher - Went AWOL before his graduation from Camp Venture.
- K. Kelly - Committed suicide during her training at Camp Venture.
- Hank Madigan - Joined Fire Breathers after having a falling out with the Brotherhood.
- Main article: Brotherhood of Steel technology
Like its parent organization in New California, the Appalachian Brotherhood of Steel was the most advanced faction in Appalachia, especially after the Enclave under Thomas Eckhart went extinct. It used standardized weapons and uniform, and most importantly, had access to a large number of T-51 power armor suits that were standard issue to ranking knights, after completing their training at Camp Venture under Senior Knight Ted Wilson. The Brotherhood used many conventional weapons such as the minigun, missile launcher, and even custom-modified hunting rifles. However, they also had access to highly advanced pre-War weaponry, such as the Fat Man, Gatling laser and laser gun. With the help of ultracite, they even modified some of their laser weapons to do improved damage against creatures infected with the Scorched Plague. The Brotherhood also made use of several surviving vertibirds to police the Cranberry Bog against the scorchbeasts, and utilized numerous automated surface to air missiles to combat the Scorched both in the air and on the ground. Augmenting their firepower was a broad array of research and recon tools provided by Lost Hills and Scribe Hailey Takano, including an Automated Research Program for analyzing scorchbeast DNA for weaknesses, sonic scanning module for tracking down the echolocating monsters using their unique frequencies (which provided the intel necessary for Operation Touchdown), and even tentative designs for a modified T-51 power armor utilizing ultracite to enhance its combat performance.
Interactions with the player character
- The Brotherhood of Steel is the last faction to be introduced in the course of the main quest, as the main goal of the struggle becomes clear: The destruction of the scorchbeasts. The locations are primarily focused on fighting off the Scorched and scorchbeasts, reflected by the Brotherhood event quests.
- There are two vendors for the Brotherhood, Vendor bot Phoenix (Watoga Shopping Plaza) and the Brotherhood vendor (The Whitespring Resort).
Behind the scenes
A large amount of the Appalachian Brotherhood's story was written by Ferret Baudoin. To Baudoin, writing for the Brotherhood in Fallout 76 was an opportunity to explore "some things that haven't been explored before that make sense," including Roger Maxson, whom he had always seen as an intriguing figure.[Non-game 2]
Ferret addressed some of the early criticisms claiming that the Brotherhood of Steel's presence in Appalachia was a retcon, explaining that the Brotherhood of Steel has always had a deeper history than the glimpses seen in the Fallout series show. Indeed, the Brotherhood's understanding of its own history and origin in the future timeline have been muddled and misinterpreted over time. Having worked on the Brotherhood of Steel for the unreleased Van Buren by Black Isle Studios, Ferret is intimately familiar with the deeper lore behind the Brotherhood as a faction, having worked directly with the designers of the original Fallout titles.[Non-game 3][Non-game 4] He went on to explain that he enjoyed the opportunity to tell the story of the evolution of the faction from everyday soldiers to zealots.[Non-game 5]
- Vault Dweller: "Have you gotten to speak with Dodge from the West Virginia Brotherhood?
Odessa Valdez: "Yes! He's quite the interesting guy. He really familiarized himself with the proprietary tech that the West Virginia chapter developed. He's been an excellent source for archiving their research. I'm glad we could give him a safe place to stay after all he's been through."
(Odessa Valdez's dialogue)
- Events of Steel Dawn.
- Russell Dorsey:"The Brotherhood of Steel! The original ones, from out in California! A group of them have been broadcasting radio messages to Appalachia. Your Pip-Boy should be able to pick up the signal. They're on their way to West Virginia to set up a new chapter here at the ATLAS Observatory."
(Russell Dorsey's dialogue)
- War Games
- Radio log: Aug 29 2077
- Taggerdy's Journal: NOV 04 2077
- Camp Venture terminal entries; Duty Log THNDR8107A
- Camp Venture terminal entries; Duty Log THNDR8234A
- Formation of the Brotherhood of Steel
- About the Brotherhood
- Fallout 76 loading screens: "Paladin Taggerdy was known for only recruiting from those who had military experience and found it difficult to coordinate with the other, more "civilian" factions in Appalachia."
- Charleston Capitol Building terminal entries; Envoy to Taggerdy
- De Silva's recon report
- Fort Defiance terminal entries; WHAT?
- Battle of Huntersville Speech
- Huntersville graves
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; 6/1/86
- Preservation of Technology
- Final orders for Grafton Dam (found under the Battle of Huntersville speech holotape)
- The Nuclear Option (holotape)
- Fort Defiance terminal entries; 93-JUL-20
- Fort Defiance terminal entries; 94-JAN-03
- Fort Defiance terminal entries; 95-FEB-02
- Fort Defiance terminal entries; 95-JUN-03
- Thunder Mountain power plant terminal entries; 95-Aug-19
- Final Stand
- Belmonte incident
- Big Bend Tunnel terminal entries; Knight Reische's terminal, Supply Line Reports
- Morgantown Airport terminal entries; Announcement: Rachel Pryce
- Mission 099-01 orders
- Scattered journal pages; Journal page 4
- Burrows mission brief
- Camp Venture terminal entries; JAN-03-81: E Fisher
- Camp Venture terminal entries
- Belly of the Beast recordings and the Watoga crash indicate the use of vertibirds.
- BoS Archive: ARP Background
- Sensor module specs
- Fort Defiance terminal entries
- Fallout 76 Vault Dweller's Survival Guide p.5: "BROTHERHOOD OF STEEL
Taggerdy's Thunder was a US Army Ranger unit led by Lieutenant Elizabeth Taggerdy. She continued to lead her troops—as a Paladin—after they all joined the Brotherhood of Steel. Paladin Taggerdy was known for only recruiting from those who had military experience and found it difficult to coordinate with the other, more "civilian" factions in Appalachia. Fort Defiance served as headquarters for the newly established Appalachian branch of the Brotherhood of Steel."
(Fallout 76 Vault Dweller's Survival Guide faction profiles)
- Bethesda Fallout 76 Interview ~ QuakeCon At Home 2020:
Ferret Baudoin: "I did a lot of the writing for the Brotherhood of Steel at the launch of Fallout 76. And for me, I'm like, a big, huge Fallout Brotherhood of Steel fan. And to me, it was an awesome chance to sort of say like, 'let's explore some things that haven't been explored before that make sense.' Because Maxson has always been just a very intriguing figure to me. Just by talking about that, actually, there are nods to all sorts of things from various games. Fallout 1, probably, more than anything."
- Ferret Baudoin - 12/16/2020 Fallout for Hope - CHAD: A Fallout 76 Story Podcast Twitch stream: "It was a bit intimidating reading, before we launched... the many articles about, the Brotherhood of Steel, being a ret-con that they were here and such. What people may not know is that I was actually going to be doing, over at Black Isle, I was going to be doing the Brotherhood of Steel there, on the Fallout 3 that never shipped. That was my faction. And so, I was very, very up on the lore of that, and talked to the people who created the original Fallouts on that. And so, to me, I knew that this could be... like, we could do this. And in a way that I think would be - hopefully add value, not only to our game, but hopefully make it feel like wow, there's a richer history going on here. Like, I've always been fascinated with Maxson as a historical figure. In fact, I was planning on doing Maxson's bunker there, and so, to me, it was bliss to be able to have the opportunity to do this... these are some stuff, that, later on, you will not hear these stories. You may be able to figure out many reasons why you would not hear these stories later on, but this is the actual Elder Maxson and what he believed."
- Ferret Baudoin - 12/16/2020 Fallout for Hope - CHAD: A Fallout 76 Story Podcast Twitch stream: "They're such an interesting group. At parts, noble. At parts, just completely introverted and not caring... and just trying to imagine how you go from the principled letters you see from Roger Maxson as he's basically seceding from the union to the Brotherhood of Steel-that is a journey. To me, it was fun to be able to at least put some-a little bit of breadcrumbs to where you can see like OK, this is how they went from here to there."
- "They haven't become zealots yet. Some become zealots very fast, which I think is very realistic, right? Like if the bombs fall, people will cling to things that give them sanity and hope, or just even a sense of order. Because everything else has gone to hell, but I think a lot of people are just like, 'Paladins? Knights? For real?' It's fun to explore that before people are like... because in Fallout 4 times, it's like of course, yeah, that's just the Brotherhood of Steel. Whereas this was an opportunity to explore like how do you go from a normal like, 'I'm in the Army Rangers' and now I'm a knight."[verification needed]