| ||For details on the non-canon Eastern Brotherhood of Steel hierarchy, see Brotherhood of Steel hierarchy (Midwest).|
The Brotherhood of Steel relies on a strict hierarchy, where orders flow through the ranks and are carried out without hesitation.
Members of the Brotherhood are divided into distinct castes, each with a function of their own. The actual organization of the classes themselves and the ranks varies to some extent, typically by geographic region. Most follow the original regime for ranking. The Chain that Binds doctrine is traditionally intended to ensure obedience and conformity among the members of the Brotherhood, maximizing the efficiency of the Brotherhood as a war machine.
All members are subject to the same body of laws, at least in theory. Even elders may be dismissed for violating the Brotherhood's charter or laws, such as destroying technological devices without due cause, violating the Chain that Binds, or murdering a fellow member. Due to the requirement for elders to set an example, elders may also be stripped of their position if allowing them to retain it would compromise the morale or integrity of a given chapter. In practice, the law is selective, for example; High Elder John Maxson could issue direct orders to the Vault Dweller, an initiate, without consequences. Elder McNamara's violation of the Chain that Binds have also gone unnoticed, due to chapter ignorance of large parts of the doctrine.
Ranks have been separated by type of organization, using descriptive names.
The early years saw the implementation of a provisional rank system, including a completely new ideology to replace the old loyalties of Brotherhood's members. Maxson's goals in inventing a new tradition and mythology for the Brotherhood were two-fold: First, they would ensure that members of the Brotherhood would be stripped of their ties to the pre-War military and government, ensuring that any surviving general or politician would not be able to invoke their oaths and use them to, for example, unleash nuclear devastation on the world again (as was the case with Col. Ellen Santiago and Sec. Thomas Eckhart in Appalachia). Second, it would give the survivors an idea to believe in, something they could dedicate themselves to and fining meaning in their lives after nuclear fires burned away their families, friends, everything. Inspiration came from the fall of the Western Roman Empire, when knights and scribes kept the fire of civilization going after the empire imploded. By June 20, 2082, all members under his command had switched over to using Brotherhood ranks and practices, both in New California and Appalachia.
As the initial founders of the Brotherhood were predominantly military personnel, the Brotherhood used Army ranks for several years, and even once the new ranks were implemented, civilian auxiliaries were treated with a certain degree of patronizing contempt. It was not until Maxson formulated the doctrine of preserving human progress that civilians were accepted as equal members of the order, with the provisional rank of scribe formalized as a distinct, separate class.
One of the unique parts of this early model was the rank of a squire, granted to new recruits regardless of age. Overall, the response to the new system was mostly positive, though there were some reservations within the organization, especially among veterans of elite units like the Rangers. To some, ranking grown men and women using the term "squire" - one that traditionally referred to young nobles no older than children - was considered insulting by ranking members. Senior Knight Ted Wilson persuaded Maxson to change it, although the modifications were mostly not introduced by the time Appalachia was cut off from the west.
Lost Hills modelEdit
The structure of the early years was modified and expanded to accommodate the growing numbers of the Brotherhood, culminating in the creation of what is best termed the old or classic model. It is the oldest stable type of organization, followed by the founding chapter at Lost Hills and affiliated chapters, such as the Mojave chapter.
- Initiates are the youngest and/or least experienced members of the Brotherhood, whose sole purpose is training and learning to become a valued member of either the knights or the scribes. Initiates are first promoted to senior initiates, and later to apprentices in their chosen Order: knights or scribes. After completing their training, apprentices are promoted to journeyman knights or scribes.
- Scribes are scientists, responsible for researching and reverse-engineering recovered technologies, maintaining the Brotherhood's scientific knowledge and even experimenting with new ones (though the Brotherhood's focus on preservation means this is rare). Scribes rarely leave the safety of the bunkers, but they are sometimes called into the field to examine a piece of technology or perform a task beyond the skills of the Brotherhood soldiers. Due to their stationary duties, scribes typically staff medical facilities, responsible for intensive and long-term care of Brotherhood members.
- Knights are the craftsmen and foot soldiers of the Brotherhood. They maintain the Brotherhood's stockpile of technology, repairing and providing technical services where they are needed, as well as producing new weapons to replenish stocks and provide trading goods. Knights also perform patrols, scouting assignments, and support paladins in offensive operations. Those that focus on combat training may be eligible to become paladins, the protectors of the Brotherhood.
- Paladins are the primary combat force of the Brotherhood, in charge of all security and outside activities. Equipped with the best military technology the Brotherhood has to offer, they are some of the most fearsome warriors in the wasteland. The ranks of the paladins are reinforced by promoting exceptional knights and it is highly improbable to become a paladin any other way. While power armor was reserved for paladin use in the first century of the Brotherhood's existence, the restrictions were relaxed over the decades, allowing knights and in extreme cases even initiates to use power armor (usually older models, such as the T-45).
- Elders are the highest-ranking members of the Brotherhood, its leaders and decision-makers, determining everything from meals to the course of campaigns. Typically, only paladins are eligible to become elders, but exceptions can be made for extraordinary members of other branches. Regardless of their branch of service, elders are elected into the council by its members, with its head, the high elder, also elected by the council. The candidate can turn down the offer. Out of the first four high elders, three belonged to the Maxson lineage, but there is no requirement for the council to propose the position to a member of the bloodline.
The Lyons model was introduced in the D.C. bunker known as the Citadel in response to the challenges encountered in the Capital Wasteland and opening up the ranks once more to local recruitment. Lyons' representatives regularly made recruitment runs in the Capital Wasteland, sponsoring volunteers for induction into the Brotherhood ranks. The formation of the Outcasts in 2276 forced Lyons to suspend the sponsorship program and accept recruits as they came, leading to an influx of unskilled, but overzealous soldiers into the ranks.
- Squires are children born into the Brotherhood of Steel, who begin their training, and indoctrination, as squires. Under Lyons' command, the only squire at the Citadel was the young Arthur Maxson.
- Initiates are the newest and/or least experienced members of the Brotherhood. Although their usual purpose is training and learning to become a valued member of either the knights or the scribes, manpower shortages forced Lyons to deploy them in combat roles - with predictably disastrous results.
- Scribes are scientists, responsible for researching and reverse-engineering recovered technologies, maintaining the Brotherhood's scientific knowledge, and even experimenting with new ones (though the Brotherhood's focus on preservation means this is rather rare). There are three scribe orders within the Brotherhood, focusing on different types of technology: the Order of the Sword (offensive), the Shield (defensive) and the Quill (civilian). One major difference from the Lost Hills model is that scribes are also responsible for manufacturing and engineering activities of the Brotherhood, a function originally reserved for knights.
- Knights and paladins are responsible for security, logistics and combat operations, forming a single, continuous hierarchy, which reflects Lyons' professed proactive focus. While power armor was reserved for paladin use in the first century of the Brotherhood's existence, the restrictions were relaxed over the decades, allowing knights and in Lyons' case, even initiates to use power armor (usually older models, such as the T-45).
- Elder is the highest-ranking member of the chapter, its leader and decision-maker, determining everything from meals to the course of campaigns. Elder Owyn Lyons (Star Paladin at the time) received a field promotion to the rank of elder and remained at the head of the chapter for over twenty years until his death circa 2278. His daughter Sentinel Sarah Lyons was promoted to elder after.
The Eastern division represents an evolution of the Lyons model, adapted to the greatly expanded reach and power of the Brotherhood in the East.
The Brotherhood actively recruits wastelanders, in stark contrast to western chapters. Elder Arthur Maxson continued Lyons' practice, including and expanding sponsorship. All adult recruits have to be sponsored by existing Brotherhood members (usually paladins), who would travel with them and teach them the ideals of the Brotherhood and train them in combat. To this end, active members can promote recruits to initiate rank in the field, but the rank and subsequent promotions have to be confirmed by the elder at the earliest possible opportunity. However, while the member can retract their sponsorship, once the rank is confirmed by the elder, only the elder can dismiss the sponsored party from the organization. Those born into the Brotherhood receive the rank of squire and on becoming an initiate will then join one of the services, much like those who have been sponsored and recruited.
There are three main paths an initiate can take: ground combat (knights and paladins), air combat (lancers), or research and engineering (scribes).
- The ground combat path begins with the rank of an initiate, who then becomes an aspirant. After completing their training (or initiation), the aspirant becomes a full knight and receives the right to wear power armor. The knight then continues their work and training to attain knight command ranks and then become a paladin. Knights comprise the bulk of the Eastern division's ground force and are the backbone of their military. Paladins are veterans who represent the most skilled ground soldiers the Brotherhood has at its disposal. They are also expected to be a symbol of integrity and set an example for other troops. Paladins are usually deployed as field commanders or head special operations in the field, such as reconnaissance or delicate tech recovery. The eastern division of the Brotherhood also retains a special rank: sentinel. It is a rare and illustrious rank given to the east coast brotherhoods most distinguished and experienced soldiers. Those who possess this rank do not require orders and usually conduct operations at their own discretion, answering directly to the elder. The rank was rarely awarded; by October 2287 no sentinels had existed in the Brotherhood for many years.
- The air combat path the newest addition to the Brotherhood hierarchy. Its members are granted lancer ranks, and are responsible for piloting The Prydwen and the Brotherhood's fleet of vertibirds. The ranking structure is similar to that of the ground combat path knights, although the rank of lancer-captain is the highest rank. Several lancer-captains are stationed in the Commonwealth and can be found aboard the Prydwen or piloting vertibirds, but they report to Lancer-Captain Kells who is the second in command to Elder Arthur Maxson and captain of the Prydwen.
- The research and engineering path consists of those who pursue the path of a scribe. Scribes are split into three distinct Orders: the Order of the Sword, the Order of the Shield, and the Order of the Quill, which are responsible for the research and maintenance of weapons, the research, and maintenance of armor and for history, record keeping and non-combat technology respectively. Each order is led by a proctor who consults with the head scribe and the elder on certain issues. Unlike the western chapters or Lyons, the Eastern division also assigns scribes to field operations. Field scribes are trained in rudimentary combat to bolster their skill set and make them a powerful asset to any Brotherhood unit in the field.
All members of the Brotherhood answer to the elder. An elder is either voted in by the chapter or promoted by the elder council from Lost Hills. As of 2287 the elder of the East Coast Chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel is Arthur Maxson, the last known descendant of Roger Maxson, the founder of the Brotherhood.
Known high elders:
- Roger Maxson (2077 - 2135)
- Maxson II (2135 - 2155)
- John Maxson (2159 - ?)
- Rhombus (? - 2208)
- Jeremy Maxson (ca. 2231 - ?)
The elders form the Brotherhood's ruling council. Individual elders are occasionally leaders of localized splinter chapters of the Brotherhood. Under normal circumstances, the ability to become an elder is reserved for paladins, although there are exceptions, such as Elder Elijah, who was a scribe.
Sentinel is a rank used by the East Coast division, ranking between star paladin and elder. Sentinels do not require specific orders and usually conduct operations at their own discretion, with the elder issuing only standing, high-level orders. Sentinels are rarely appointed for this reason.
- In Fallout 3, the only sentinel is Sarah Lyons, who leads the Lyons' Pride elite unit.
- In Fallout 4, the Sole Survivor can also attain this rank if they complete the Brotherhood main questline. Based on dialogue with Elder Maxson, the Sole Survivor would be the only member of the Brotherhood of Steel that currently holds the title and it has been some years since the last sentinel served under him.
The main commander of the paladins, responsible for overseeing their operations and training them. The head paladin may induct other members of the Brotherhood into the paladins at their discretion, depending on their aptitude.
- John Maxson was the head paladin of Lost Hills before he accepted the post of high elder in 2155. He was replaced by Rhombus.
- Nolan McNamara was the head paladin of the Mojave chapter until 2276. After the disastrous Operation: Sunburst, he became elder, with Edgar Hardin appointed head paladin.
Senior paladins are paladins that show promise to become paladin commanders, paladin lords, or head paladins. They are well respected among other paladins and knights and can increase the morale of soldiers greatly.
- Senior Paladin Talus, Lost Hills, 2161
- Senior Paladin Ramos, Mojave, 2281
- Edgar Hardin was a senior paladin during Elder Elijah's reign.
The commander of the knights, in charge of all their operations. The Brotherhood allows for positions to be combined, and one person can be both head knight and head paladin.
- In Fallout, Rhombus is the head knight.
Star paladins are paladins who have been recognized by the Brotherhood for their honor, loyalty, and tenacity in battle. They are given far more freedom (similar to sentinel) in how they conduct operations, although not as much as a sentinel would.
- In Fallout 3, there is only Star Paladin Cross, appointed by Elder Lyons. Lyons himself was a star paladin before he was promoted to elder.
- In Fallout 4, star paladins can be seen guarding Liberty Prime's construction platform, and they can be seen out in the field at checkpoints in the southern area of the Commonwealth if the Sole Survivor has completed Ad Victoriam. Star paladins continuously level with the player character.
Paladin commanders are unit leaders in the Eastern Division and are well respected among the Brotherhood's ranks. They are scarcely found in the field, often planning with the other commanders in the Brotherhood, but when they are, they are a force to be reckoned with, often found with powerful energy weapons and leading huge forces. They rank only below star paladin, sentinel, and elder.
Paladins are a class of members of the Brotherhood of Steel. They are likened to the scribes of the Brotherhood as being on the same level, but with a different purpose. They are the protectors of the Brotherhood, fighting and protecting its interests across the wasteland, equipped with power armor and an array of lethal weapons.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, the Courier is promoted to paladin after Eyesight to the Blind or Tend to Your Business is complete.
- In Fallout 3, paladins are ranked above knights.
- In Fallout 4, paladins are both veteran fighters and commanders, as denoted by their black power armor and second red stripe on the armor's left forearm.
Knight commanders are often seen in the field leading shock troopers dropped off of Vertibirds, or in charge of a command post in the Commonwealth, leading lower ranking knights into battle. They are the highest ranking knights in the Brotherhood.
Knight captain is a rank used by the East Coast division.
- In Fallout 3, there are four known members of the Brotherhood who have achieved this rank, Dusk, Gallows and Colvin from Lyons' Pride as well as Knight Captain Durga. Knight captains can be seen holding staff jobs as well as command positions.
- In Fallout 4, there are several knight captains around the Boston Airport and the Prydwen area as well as appearing in the field with other Brotherhood soldiers. Two of them are Cade, the ship's medical officer, and Larsen who is sent to clear out Acadia if the Sole Survivor informs the Brotherhood of its existence in Far Harbor.
Knight sergeant is a rank used by the East Coast chapter, denoting a position below knight captain. The rank gives command of one or two squads of knights, as well as the command of a base or outpost like the GNR building plaza,
- In Fallout 3, Knight Sergeant Wilks is the only knight sergeant.
- In Fallout 4, knight sergeants are numerous, but unnamed, with the exception of Knight Sergeant Gavil who is in charge at the Boston Airport supply depot, and the mentioned-only character Knight Sergeant Dawes.
Experienced knights may be promoted to a position of seniority, overseeing the activities of their juniors.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, Senior Knight Lorenzo is the head of the knights at the Mojave chapter and answers directly to the Elder.
| ||For the NPCs in Fallout 3, see Knight (Fallout 3).|
Knights are responsible for manufacturing and repairing the weapons and other pieces of technology. After many years of service and experience, the best knights are promoted to paladins, the pinnacle of the Brotherhood military. The next rank is senior knight, and finally, the leader of the order is the head knight. Knights wear mostly power armor. The large gear in the Brotherhood of Steel symbol represents the knights.
In the East Coast chapter, "knight" is a strictly military rank and the scribes are the ones responsible for manufacturing technology there.
- Knights appear in every game in some form or another.
- In the Broken Steel add-on for Fallout 3, The Lone Wanderer becomes a knight after the quest Take it Back! is completed Although knights are typically required to train as initiates, it appears that this can be waived at the elder's discretion as Elder Lyons directly appoints the Lone Wanderer as a knight. Lyons even states that he will "circumvent our standard recruitment procedures" in the Lone Wanderer's case.
Journeyman knight is the one small step rank before becoming a full-fledged knight. It is where an initiate decides after their advancement whether to continue as a knight or scribe. It is an important step in advancement as they continue to serve the Brotherhood.
The rank of aspirant was created by the East Coast Chapter of the Brotherhood some time between 2277 and 2287, denoting an initiate who has entered training under a superior officer, such as a paladin or knight-commander, in order to be promoted to a full-fledged knight.
In the early years of the Brotherhood, squire is a title that ranked above initiate, similar in function to the East Coast's later aspirant rank. However, by 2277, the rank appears to have changed its purpose, as the only member of the Brotherhood known to hold it is the young Arthur Maxson of the East Coast chapter.
By 2287, the East Coast chapter of the Brotherhood has adopted the rank of squire as a title for children who have been recruited by the Brotherhood, making it the lowest rank in the chapter. These children are not permitted to take part in combat. Instead, they perform errands and menial labor for the Brotherhood's military and are provided with training and education in return. They also appear to be heavily conditioned by propaganda, with those aboard the Prydwen claiming not to fear death and possessing an almost religious devotion to the Brotherhood. Upon reaching adulthood, squires become initiates and begin active duty.
Squires are occasionally taken out as observers on a sweep and clean mission led by high ranking members of the Brotherhood. Lancer Captain Kells bestows such a responsibility upon the Sole Survivor in the radiant quest Leading by Example. The squire that accompanies the player character does not take part in the fighting and is merely there to observe and study combat techniques.
Senior initiates are initiates who have completed basic training and move on to more advanced training.
Initiate is one of the lowest ranks in the Brotherhood of Steel's rank system. The precise definition of the rank appears to vary between the regional chapters.
The West Coast division uses the term to indicate a mere trainee as having been initiated into the Brotherhood, whereas the other two reserve that title until the recruit has completed initial training. The most plausible explanation lies in the fact that the West Coast division is significantly more insular than the others; the bulk of its new recruits are the offspring of existing members and only rarely are outsiders accepted into the organization. By contrast, circumstances have forced the other two divisions to actively recruit from among the local population.
The West Coast chapters divide the rank into "buck" initiate and senior initiate. It is not known whether the East Coast division follows this practice.
In the West Coast division, initiate is the base rank of one who has only just been accepted into the Brotherhood as a trainee. After completing initial training, initiates are promoted to apprentice, like Apprentice Watkins. Apprentices who are at the stage of choosing their career path then becomes a journeyman, but must choose which order of training they wish to receive; either scribe or knight.
Initiates on the West Coast were also not allowed to leave the Lost Hills Bunker and experience field combat. They would have to be promoted to squire before they could actually fight.
Unlike in the other Brotherhood divisions, east coast initiates may even be issued power armor if their assignment merits it (as in the case of the ill-fated Initiate Reddin of the Lyons' Pride). They were also sent out into the field of battle to experience fighting the mutants for real, because of the low numbers of soldiers. However, since their arrival in the Commonwealth, initiates are never seen wearing power armor and are instead seen with uniforms (referred to as "fatigues") made from some sort of light ballistic fiber that offers small protection from small arms fire and shrapnel.
Not so much a rank, but a designated role for paladins tasked with coordinating assaults.
Scribes are tasked with creating and keeping records of the technology recovered and used by the Brotherhood and experimenting with new weapons and other useful devices to be used in the field by the Knights and Paladins. Scribes rarely leave the safety of the BoS bunkers, but they are sometimes called into the field to examine a piece of technology or perform a task beyond the skills of the Brotherhood soldiers. The attitude of many scribes in the Brotherhood can be described as techno-centric. While a great number study history and cultures, the majority of scribes focus their studies on subjects related to the acquisition, repair, or creation of technology.
- Order of the Sword is responsible for weapons research and development. Guns, ammunition anything of an offensive nature.
- Order of the Shield is responsible for defensive research. Power Armor, defensive structures, anything that is intended to protect.
- Order of the Quill preserves the written knowledge of the ancients, seeking out all manner of books and holotapes.
The head scribe is the highest-ranking civilian class of the Brotherhood of Steel. The head scribe is responsible for choosing which scribes work on which project and which scribes should be assigned to each order. The head scribe also chooses the proctors of each order and must also oversee the projects each order is working on. The head scribe is a highly intelligent person who has mastered the orders of the Sword, Shield, and Quill, and may also take on a project of their own interest, as Head Scribe Rothchild did with the Liberty Prime project. The head scribe is one of the people who must attend the meetings with the high elder, elder council, generals, head paladin, and head knight. The head scribe reports to the high elder and Elder Council only.
The proctors oversee and approve of each project that the scribes in their order are working on, and assign the proper scribes to the right projects. Each proctor must report to the head scribe, which assigned them to their respective order, on each project, and to get approval to move ahead with a new project. They often work on their own projects, which are usually completed very quickly because the proctor can prioritize them and assign senior scribes to them.
Senior scribes are some of the most advanced scribes. They are always chosen for the most important projects and are the next in line to become proctors of orders when the old proctor retires or dies. They often take on the most promising journeyman scribes to be their apprentices and choose what order they should be in (usually, it is the same order that the senior scribe is in). Senior scribes teach their apprentices everything they know and will continue to teach them until they are nearly senior scribes themselves. On rare occasions, the senior scribe will be promoted to head scribe and their apprentice to proctor. When this occurs, the apprentice will be given special treatment and the elders usually separate the two to remove any impression of impropriety. Three examples of senior scribes are Linda Schuler, from the Mojave Brotherhood of Steel, and Yearling and Neriah, from the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel.
Scribes are tasked with creating and keeping records of the technology used by the Brotherhood. The attitude of many scribes in the Brotherhood can be described as techno-centric. While a great number study history and culture, the majority of scribes focus their studies on subjects related to the acquisition, repair, or creation of technology.
Journeyman scribes are scribes-in-training. They are often taken in by one of the senior scribes and made apprentices, where they are then taught to be full scribes. If they are not apprenticed by a senior scribe, they are often chosen to work on projects that are very insignificant. Journeyman scribes don't initially belong to an order but will either pick one for themselves, or their master may choose for them.
- One example is Veronica Santangelo, a journeyman scribe of the Mojave Brotherhood of Steel, and a possible companion in Fallout: New Vegas.
- Lorri's assistant is also described as a journeyman scribe in Fallout.
These are scribes in training. Serving in the East Coast Brotherhood.
An archivist is a position introduced within the Maxson model. Little is known of their role inside the Brotherhood of Steel other than they can work with and directly report to the elder on matters assigned to them, and have a highly scientific skill set, capable of parsing energy readings and determining the source and possible purpose.
In 2287, the only known archivist was Archivist Knox who identified energy readings from the Commonwealth as originating from the Institute. Elder Maxson reviewed his findings and they both agreed on the possibility of weapon or other device development, and prompted his expedition into the Commonwealth.
Lancer-captains are the highest ranking members of the lancers, being the head of the branch as a whole. Lancer-Captain Kells is the only known named member of this rank.
Lancer-sergeants are the officers of the lancer branch.
Lancer-knights are veteran pilots and crewmembers of the Prydwen.
Lancers are fully qualified pilots who have completed their training.
Lancer-initiates are the lowest caste of the lancers. They are however still capable of piloting Vertibirds by themselves.
In Fallout 3, proctors are not actually ranks but rather roles taken on by certain scribes. As of the events of Fallout 4, however, proctors have become a rank of their own, superior to senior scribes.