As a military-born organization, the Brotherhood of Steel uses ranks to distinguish its various and deserving members. The different localized sub-factions use ranking systems which differ to some extent from that of the original Brotherhood, but most follow the original regime for ranking.

Ranking systems

West Coast

Knights Scribes Paladins
  • Apprentice knight
  • Journeyman knight
  • Senior knight
  • Head knight
  • Apprentice scribe
  • Journeyman scribe
  • Senior scribe
  • Head scribe
  • Junior paladin
  • Paladin
  • Senior paladin
  • Head paladin

Initiates are trainees and amateurs of the Brotherhood of Steel who are expected to perform well enough in the training process to be promoted to senior initiates, and later to apprentices. After proving themselves, apprentices are promoted to journeyman knights or scribes. The next rank is senior knight/scribe, and finally the leader of each of these orders is the head knight and head scribe. The initiates must prove the Brotherhood of Steel training is well-developed and that it can make the weak into soldiers, and that the Brotherhood has superior soldiers with enough training via utilizing their skills.

Scribes are responsible for copying the ancient technologies, maintaining the current technology and even experimenting with new weapons and other useful devices to be used on the field by the knights and paladins. 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. They can act as medics if need be, to test medical advances, but usually the Brotherhood has specialized medic units for that.

Knights are trained soldiers of war that know their enemy well enough to show their progression on the battlefield. They take part in maintaining strategic advances in the battlefield and they support their fellow soldiers with the utmost honor and respect, even giving their own lives to save their comrades. It is this courage that shows that many have the heart of a true lion. The ranks of knight are: apprentice knight, journeyman knight, senior knight, and head knight. From there it is possible to be promoted to paladin.

Paladins are in charge of all security and outside activities. The paladin ranks are junior paladin, paladin, senior paladin, and head paladin.

Elders are the most senior members of the Brotherhood, responsible for setting its course. They must go through all ranks before reaching elder and must have many years of experience. The only exception is when one dies and the next elder is "coronated". The leader of the council and the Brotherhood itself is the High Elder, usually descended from the Maxson family.

East Coast

Army Air Force Civilian
  • Squire
  • Initiate
  • Aspirant
  • Knight
  • Knight-sergeant
  • Knight-captain
  • Knight-commander
  • Paladin
  • Paladin-commander
  • Star paladin
  • Sentinel
  • Squire
  • Lancer-initiate
  • Lancer
  • Lancer-knight
  • Lancer-sergeant
  • Lancer-captain
  • Squire
  • Scribe initiate
  • Scribe
  • Senior scribe
  • Proctor
  • Head scribe

The east coast detachment utilizes a considerably different system of rank to that of the original Brotherhood on the west coast.

There are 3 main paths an initiate can take: the Army, Air Force or a civilian role as a scribe. The Brotherhood actively recruits wastelanders who have been sponsored by those already in their ranks who take up the mantle of initiate, something not commonplace within other Brotherhood chapters. Those born into the Brotherhood take up 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.

The three services are:

The Army is effectively the ground force of the Brotherhood and follow a ranking system which incorporates both knights and paladins (the latter being officers), different from other Brotherhood chapters.

The Air Force consists of lancers, those who pilot the airship Prydwen as well as the many VB-02 Vertibird gunships the Brotherhood has in its possession. The ranking structure is similar to that of the Army's knights, although the rank of lancer-captain is the highest rank in the Air Force as opposed to commander. 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.

Civilian roles are dedicated to the scribes who follow a separate ranking structure to that of the Brotherhood's two military services. 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 elder on certain issues.

An elder is the leader of the Brotherhood and is selected and instated by the Elder Council back on the west coast. An elder can be selected from any of the three services, though it is most common for elders to be selected from a background of military service. The current elder of the East Coast Chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel is Elder Arthur Maxson (as of 2283), descendent of the great Roger Maxson; founder of the Brotherhood.

The ranks of ground troopers on the East Coast can be split up into four parts: regular ground soldiers (initiates, aspirants), non-commissioned officers (knight, knight-sergeant, etc.) low ranking officers (paladin, paladin-commander, etc.) and field commanders (star-paladins and sentinels).

It can be seen like this:

  • Initiate: private
  • Aspirant: specialist/corporal
  • Knight: sergeant
  • Knight-sergeant: staff sergeant
  • Knight-captain: first sergeant
  • Knight-commander: sergeant major
  • Paladin: captain
  • Paladin-commander: major
  • Star paladin: colonel
  • Sentinel: general
  • Elder: general-of-the-armies
  • High Elder: commander-in-chief


Military Civilian
  • Initiate Initiate
  • Senior Initiate Senior initiate
  • Squire Squire
  • Senior Squire Senior squire
  • JuniorKnight Junior knight
  • Knight Knight
  • Senior Knight Senior knight
  • Knight Commander Knight commander
  • Junior Paladin Junior paladin
  • Paladin Paladin
  • Paladin Commander Paladin commander
  • Paladin Lord Paladin lord
  • General General
  • Commanding officer
  • Elder
  • Civilian
  • Scribe
  • Elder
Mini-FOT Logo.pngThe following is based on Fallout Tactics and some details might contradict canon.

In Pip-Boy

The midwestern branch has a rank system that differs from the original Brotherhood ranks. In the midwest, the scribes act as both scientists and engineers, taking the place of both western scribes and knights. Midwestern knights are just a military rank lower in the hierarchy than paladins and are not allowed to use power armor. The inquisitors are the Brotherhood's law enforcement and intelligence. The "general" rank seems to be made from the real life general rank, and the "commanding officer" is the military leader of the Midwestern Brotherhood of Steel and also the only one rank higher than generals, responsible for giving mission orders to everyone, and also the only one that can give their opinion on the elders' politics. Also, the assignment into commanding officer is done by the elders and only a general can become commanding officer. Like all Brotherhood of Steel, the midwestern elders are the leader and the thinkers of all decision.

Brotherhood of Steel chain of command

High Elder

The high elder is the leader of the entire Brotherhood of Steel and the other elders. Since all other known high elders came from the Maxson family, it has been speculated that Rhombus was descended from Roger Maxson as well. There were most likely some high elders between Rhombus and Jeremy Maxson.

Known high elders:

Gametitle-VB.pngThe following is based on Van Buren and has not been confirmed by canon sources.
Gametitle-VB.pngEnd of information based on Van Buren.


Bos rank elder icon.png

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.


Generals control all of the Brotherhood's military. They report to the high elder and the Elder Council and will only make a move if it's approved by them. They obtain the title of general by showing outstanding performance in military tactics and combat. They help decide the titles of the most promising recruits from initiates and squires all the way up to the head paladin and head knight.


Bos rank sentinel icon.png

Sentinel is a rank used by the East Coast division, ranking between paladin and elder. The only known member of the Brotherhood to have achieved this rank at the time of Fallout 3 is Sarah Lyons, who leads the Lyons' Pride elite unit. The Sole Survivor can also attain this rank if he or she completes the Brotherhood main questline. Based on dialogue with Elder Maxson at the end of Fallout 4, sentinels do not require orders and usually conduct operations at their own will. Maxson states that the Sole Survivor is the only member of the Brotherhood of Steel that currently holds this title and it has been some years since the last sentinel served under him.

Head paladin

The head paladin is responsible for dealing with the paladins in the same way the head knight does, but the head paladin chooses which paladins should lead each knight squad and which areas may prove to be suitable HQ's. The head paladin holds meetings with the high elder, elders, head scribe, generals and head knight. Both the head knight and head paladin report to the high elder and generals, no one else. The head paladin and knight don't tend to go out into the field of battle, although they may in critical circumstances. When they do enter a battle it is almost certain that they will have a huge army protecting them and will very rarely be seen on the front line, they normally sit back with the generals and help plan strategic maneuvers.

Star paladin

Star paladins are paladins who have been recognized by the Brotherhood for their honor, tenacity in battle, and loyalty to the Brotherhood. They are a separate caste (similar to sentinel) in that they are free from the chain of command, although they are not given as much freedom as a sentinel would. The only star paladin encountered in Fallout 3 is Star Paladin Cross, and it is mentioned that Elder Owyn Lyons 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 will continuously level with the player character.

Paladin commander

Paladin commanders lead squads (if not battalions) in the East Coast, 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.

Paladin lord

Paladin lords are paladins who lead special operations outside of the main Brotherhood of Steel military. They only report to the high elder and head paladin. Their operations are sometimes kept secret from the generals, because they often clash with Brotherhood military regulations. They are given specially selected squads that will follow the paladin lords without question, and are forbidden to talk about their missions to other members of the Brotherhood.

Senior paladin

Senior paladins are paladins which show promise to become paladin commanders, paladin lords or sentinels. They are very well respected among other paladins and knights and can increase the morale of soldiers greatly.


Bos rank paladin icon.png

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 becomes a paladin after the quest "Eyesight to the Blind" is complete.

Paladins in Fallout 3 are considered the elite versions of the knight; however, in Fallout 4, paladin is the lowest rank of the officer caste, as denoted by their black power armor and second red stripe on the armor's left forearm.[1] Their command and influence seems to be equivalent to that of a modern-day captain or major.

As mentioned in Chris Avellone's Fallout Bible 8, "the scribes develop technology, the knights build it, and the paladins use it."

Head knight

The head knight is responsible for allocating knights to missions ( i.e. to defend bases or to secure areas of interest.) The head knight is also responsible for reporting all incidents involving the knights to the generals, elders or high elder (depending on the severity of the situation.) The head knights are also present at meetings with the high elder, elders, head scribe, generals and head paladin, like knight commanders and knight captains in the Midwestern and East Coast branches.


Mini-FOT Logo.pngThe following is based on Fallout Tactics and some details might contradict canon.

Inquisitors primarily act as a detective service within Brotherhood territory. An inquisitor is a special rank of the Midwest Brotherhood, and they are usually extremely sadistic. They are in charge of interrogation and intelligence within the Brotherhood, and are not restricted by much of the Brotherhood's code when it comes to their job. The inquisitors appear in Fallout Tactics in Barnaky's alternate ending and were to appear in Fallout Tactics 2, the canceled sequel.

Mini-FOT Logo.pngEnd of information based on Fallout Tactics.

Knight commander

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. Being the highest ranked field knight, they are accountable only to officers such as paladins, the sentinel, and the elder.

Knight captain

Bos rank knightcaptain icon.png

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, which are Knight Captain Dusk, Gallows and Colvin from Lyons' Pride as well as Knight Captain Durga. Though not officially officers, they hold influence and command similar to that of a modern day second or first lieutenant. 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

Bos rank knightsergeant icon.png

Knight sergeant is a rank used by the East Coast branch, denoting a position below knight captain. The rank gives a command of one or two squads of knights, as well as the command of a base or outpost like the GNR building plaza, Knight Sergeant Wilks is the only knight sergeant in Fallout 3. Knight sergeants appear in Fallout 4, however all are unnamed with the exception of Knight Sergeant Gavil who is the NCO in charge at the Boston Airport supply depot and the mentioned-only character Knight Sergeant Dawes.

Senior knight

Senior knights are knights which show promise to move up to be paladins, knight commanders or knight captains. They are very well respected among the other knights, and in the western Brotherhood of Steel they are some of the top mechanics and engineers. An example of a senior knight is Lorenzo from Fallout: New Vegas.

Operations officer

The only known person of this rank is Operations Officer Edwards in Fallout 3.


Bos rank knight icon.png

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. As all paladins are also knights, the head paladin is usually also the head knight. Knights wear mostly power armor. The large gear in the Brotherhood of Steel symbol represents the knights.

In the East Coast and Midwestern divisions, "knight" is a strictly military rank and the scribes are the ones responsible for manufacturing technology there. This rank is most likely the equivalent of real-life junior non-commissioned officers (corporal or sergeant).

The Lone Wanderer becomes a knight after the quest Take it Back! is completed if the Broken Steel add-on is installed for Fallout 3. 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 Wanderer's case.

Icon disambig.svg
For the NPCs in Fallout 3, see Knight (Fallout 3).

Junior knight

Not much is known about this rank only that it is higher than journeyman knight.

Journeyman knight

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.


Aspirants are only seen on the East Coast, and is a rank used to denote someone training under a superior officer such as a paladin or knight-commander in order to be promoted to a full-fledged knight. They are a step above initiates.

Senior squire

Senior squires are squires which are ready to become knights and are taught all the requirements and oaths to be a knight of the Brotherhood of Steel.


The only member of the East Coast branch who holds this rank in 2277 is Arthur Maxson. It is possible that this rank is used similarly in the original Lost Hills Brotherhood. Squire was originally a title which ranked above initiates and were to receive training out in the field unlike the initiates.

By 2287, the East Coast branch of the Brotherhood has adopted the rank of squire as a title for children who have joined the Brotherhood. These children are not allowed into combat, instead performing errands and menial labor for the Brotherhood's military, and are provided with training and education in return. These children 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.

Squires are occasionally taken out as observers on sweep and clean missions led by high ranking members of the Brotherhood. Lancer Captain Kells bestows such a responsibility upon the Sole Survivor in the repeatable quest Leading by Example, the squire does not partake in the fighting and is merely there to witness the proper techniques of exterminating vermin from the Commonwealth.

Mini-FOT Logo.pngThe following is based on Fallout Tactics and some details might contradict canon.

In the Midwestern Brotherhood, squires are one step above initiates and are the least experienced and trained of the Brotherhood active military.

Mini-FOT Logo.pngEnd of information based on Fallout Tactics.

Senior initiate

Senior initiates are initiates which have completed basic training and move on to more advanced training.


Bos rank initiate icon.png

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.

Both the West Coast and Midwestern divisions 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 slated to become either scribes or knights, and are promoted to apprentice in the appropriate branch. 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.

Mini-FOT Logo.pngThe following is based on Fallout Tactics and some details might contradict canon.

In the Midwestern division, initiates are members who have completed initial training (and are thus one step above recruits), and the lowest rank that can be assigned to combat duty. Initiates may advance to the rank of squire.

Mini-FOT Logo.pngEnd of information based on Fallout Tactics.
FOBoSLogo.pngThe following is based on Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel and has not been confirmed by canon sources.

In the Texas division, initiates are members which are accepted and must prove themselves on the field. They receive basic training in the use of weapons and in combat. Shortly after their training was completed, initiates were sent on missions to prove their value to the Brotherhood.

FOBoSLogo.pngEnd of information based on Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel.

In the Mojave Wasteland Brotherhood of Steel, the ranks are the same, however there is one unique Mojave rank, apprentice. The only person with this rank is Apprentice Watkins.

Civilian ranks by level of position

Head scribe

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 high scribes or 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.

High scribe

The high scribes are the proctors of the Orders. There are three high scribes: one of the Sword, Shield and Quill. They 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 high scribe must report to the head scribe on each project and to get approval to move ahead with a new project. The high scribes often work on their own projects, which are usually completed very quickly because the high scribes can prioritize them and assign senior scribes to them. In some cases, high scribes have been called to meetings with the high elder and the Elder Council; The East Coast Brotherhood of Steel tend to have their three high scribes (Peabody, Jameson, and Bowditch) in every meeting with Elder Lyons.

In 2287 when Elder Maxson brings the massive airship the Prydwen to the Commonwealth he brings three proctors with him. They are Proctor Teagan of the Sword, Proctor Ingram of the Shield and Proctor Quinlan of the Quill.

Senior scribe

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 high scribe. When this occurs, the apprentice will be given special treatment and the elders usually separate the two to remove any impression of impropriety. Two examples of senior scribes are Linda Schuler, from the Mojave Wasteland Brotherhood of Steel 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.

It is implied by the Fallout Tactics Manual that some scribes, at least in the Midwest chapter, organize themselves into unions similarly named to American labor unions.[2]

Journeyman scribe

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 start off in no order but will either pick an order themselves, or their master will choose for them. One example is Veronica Santangelo, a journeyman scribe of the Mojave Wasteland Brotherhood of Steel, and a possible companion in Fallout: New Vegas.



  1. Dialogue differences with Knight Sergeant Gavil in Fallout 4.
  2. Page 1, Fallout Tactics Manual
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