“Ah, the Codex. If it's in there, we have to abide it, if it's not, it's not important. It documents our history, too. Part of what Scribes like me do is update it. Hmm... I wonder... Nah, they'd probably catch it if I rewrote the Founder's axioms.”— Veronica Santangelo
Created by the Brotherhood's founder, Roger Maxson, the Codex dates to the first decades of the Brotherhood. Members of the Brotherhood who take the required Oath of Fraternity swear to adhere to its commandments and conduct themselves with honor. Should a member break the Oath, the Council of Elders would be the ones to decide their fate as a Brotherhood member.
The Codex contains text that formulate the Brotherhood's core tenets, doctrines, responsibilities of its members, and other essential elements of the Brotherhood's ideology and organization. Members of the order are expected to abide by its contents, with topics not covered by the Codex considered unimportant, such as idle conversation.
It also serves as a record of the Brotherhood's history, in conjunction with its essential component, the Scrolls, and contains axioms attributed to the Founder, Roger Maxson. One of the duties of the Brotherhood's scribes is to maintain and update it. Theoretically, a scribe could alter any part of the Codex, even the axioms, but there would be consequences were they to be caught doing so.
An integral part of the Codex, Scrolls record the lives, achievements, and other details of the members of the order. They were created in the early years of the Brotherhood and were in common use by 2103, for example, by the Brotherhood First Expeditionary Force.
Each Scroll contains the Brother's current rank, personal details, and a summary of their service. These include the circumstances of their entry into the Brotherhood, a description of their personality and standing, notable deeds (such as battles, tech recoveries, and promotions), and may otherwise end with a description of their death or reassignment. The responsibility for maintaining the Scroll will then pass to the new command. The duty is typically assigned to the Head Librarian of a Brotherhood bunker or a designated scribe if one is not appointed.
Brotherhood chapters and detachments are expected to remain in contact with Lost Hills to synchronize the contents of Scrolls (with Roger Maxson describing it as the deeds enduring forever in them). Tradition also dictates that the Scrolls record each member's death. Recovering the holotags to confirm demise is considered acceptable, if resources do not permit a proper recovery and burial.
Finally, the Elder in command of a chapter may order certain names to be struck from the Codex in the case of desertion or insubordination. Paladin Leila Rahmani faced that risk after losing contact with Lost Hills, which caused some concern in New California that she had gone rogue at the time. The procedure was carried out in respect to Henry Casdin and the Brotherhood Outcasts after their departure from under Owyn Lyons' command in 2276. This resulted in the absolute forbidding of mention of the group, with members in good standing forbidden from even speaking the outcasts' names.
"Shield yourself from those not bound to you by steel, for they are the blind. Aid them when you can, but lose not sight of yourself, it says." – Arthur Maxson in Fallout 3
"We do not help them, or let them in. We keep knowledge they must never have." – Nolan McNamara in Fallout: New Vegas
In Fallout: New Vegas, if the player character has the Terrifying Presence perk while doing the quest I Could Make You Care, they have the option of using the dialogue "I will cast down your Codex and bask in the dying agony of those who hold it dear" which will, in turn, scare away the Brotherhood of Steel members who are tracking down Veronica.
↑ 1.01.1Encrypted broadcasts: "This is Elder Roger Maxson broadcasting to Paladin Leila Rahmani, secure private channel. I’ve sent the Scribes away. This message is not being recorded in the logs. I’m speaking to you now not as your Elder or commanding officer, but as a friend. Leila, I know you and I have had our disagreements, but I still believe you understand the value and purpose of the Brotherhood. You wanted this mission, though I am sure you have suspicions about why you were chosen. I still hope you are simply unable to answer our broadcasts. We may not see eye to eye, but you know the Codex and are sworn to it. The alternative… I don’t wish to entertain it. For the time being, I have suppressed that suggestion among the officers and kept it out of our other attempts to reach you, but if you do not report in soon, I may be overruled. Your mission out there is important no matter what you may think. You are still one of us. Still a Paladin of the Brotherhood, duty-bound. Broadcast on any Brotherhood channel, encryption be damned – just do it. Maxson out. Message repeats."
↑ 2.02.1Encrypted broadcasts: "First Expeditionary Force, this is L-H. Elder Maxson recording. Paladin Rahmani, your unit has now been out of contact with Brotherhood headquarters for over three months. Our Scribes estimate that your unit should be entering Appalachia and closing in on the ATLAS Observatory shortly. It is imperative that your first order of business after securing the facility is to reestablish communications and provide a full report on your activities during the period of radio silence. You now represent the Brotherhood in Appalachia. When you restore contact with us, there will once again be one Brotherhood on both sides of this land and your deeds will enter the Scrolls forever. Adhere to the Codex. Conduct yourselves with honor. Maxson out. Message repeats."
↑Vault Dweller: "Isn't there any way for you and Rahmani to reconcile?" Daniel Shin: "Rahmani broke her Oath. Under normal circumstances, it would be up to the Elders to decide her fate as it relates to the Brotherhood. It is not my wish to be so shameless as to act in their stead. But if Rahmani is left to continue leading this force unofficially, the damage will be irreversible. Something must be done. And I am the only one left to do it."
↑ 4.04.1The Courier: "What's the Codex?" Veronica Santangelo: "Ah, the Codex. If it's in there, we have to abide it, if it's not, it's not important. It documents our history, too. Part of what Scribes like me do is update it. Hmm... I wonder... Nah, they'd probably catch it if I rewrote the Founder's axioms." (Veronica Santangelo's dialogue)
↑Daniel Shin: "Idle conversation is not listed in the Codex."
↑ 6.06.1The Lone Wanderer: "Tell me more about the Outcasts." Henry Casdin: "We were cast out for our dedication to the Brotherhood's true goals. Lyons wanted to play hero to the locals, instead of doing his job. We were proud to leave him, so we kept the name "Outcasts" and wear it with pride. A big "fuck you" to the old man. He may have struck our names from the great Codex, but we'll be vindicated in the end, and our names will be restored." (Henry Casdin's dialogue)
↑The Lone Wanderer: "What are the Scrolls that you mentioned?" Elizabeth Jameson: "Scrolls are kept by the Head Librarian of each Brotherhood bunker. The Scrolls are a record of the Brotherhood itself. Into each Scroll is written the name and deeds of each of our Brothers. Battles, what technology he has recovered, when he was promoted. Everything. The last entry for each Brother is that Brother's death. It is important, as the way a man dies is just as important as the manner in which he lives. And so each man who nobly serves the Brotherhood ascends into our history, to be remembered by those who come after him." (Elizabeth Jameson's dialogue)
↑Peabody: "Greetings, Elder. I wish I could say that things were well. Unfortunately, I am still having supply problems. When Casdin..." Oywn Lyons: "Scribe. You are not to speak the name of an Outcast in the walls of the Citadel. Is that understood?" Peabody: "I... I understand, sir. But the Outcasts have stolen a great deal of our uncatalogued equipment. I am beginning to run short of supplies for repairs." Owyn Lyons: "Then make do with what you have. We may lack the Enclave's resources, but I'm counting on your ingenuity to make up for that!" Peabody: "Yes, Elder. I understand. Forgive me for speaking out of turn. My... frustration got the better of me." (Peabody and Owyn Lyons' dialogue)
↑The Lone Wanderer: "Relax, Squire. I don't bite." Arthur Maxson: "I plead for your pardon if my behavior offends you, sir/ma'am.. We don't get many visitors in the Citadel. The Brothers and Elder Lyons are excellent teachers, but I get nervous about the protocols. The codex says that outsiders are not to be trusted. Shield yourself from those not bound to you by steel, for they are the blind. Aid them when you can, but lose not sight of yourself, it says." (Arthur Maxson's dialogue)
↑ 12.012.1The Lone Wanderer: "Understandable. I've met a lot of dangerous people myself." Arthur Maxson: "It's not simply the outsiders that we are wary of, anybody who has not taken the Oath of Fraternity is suspicious to us. The Codex says: "Fear those who do not pledge to the Brotherhood for though their eyes may be opened through service, they are now blind" But it also tells us "Give way your suspicions to the wisdom of thine Elder. Where he shows trust, so shall you". Elder Lyons trusts you, so you are free to stay here." (Arthur Maxson's dialogue)
↑The Lone Wanderer: "Your distance is good. Let's talk about something else." Cross: "As the Codex says: "Through discourse, we gain the strength of our Brothers' minds."" (Cross' dialogue)
↑Nolan McNamara: "What does the Codex say?" Veronica Santangelo: "A bunch of closed-minded bullshit." Nolan McNamara: "We do not help them, or let them in." Veronica Santangelo: "But-" Nolan McNamara: "We keep knowledge they must never have." Veronica Santangelo: "Give it a chance. For me. I can't stay here and watch us waste away." Nolan McNamara: "I'm sorry." Veronica Santangelo: "We'll die out." Nolan McNamara: "<Sighs> I know." Veronica Santangelo: "Come on. I can't listen to this anymore." (Veronica Santangelo and Nolan McNamara's dialogue) Note: This is an excerpt from the conversation between Veronica and McNamara near the conclusion of the questI Could Make You Care.