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Due to disagreements over how technology should be controlled in the wasteland, the Brotherhood of Steel waged a long and bloody war against the NCR. Despite superior equipment and training, the Brotherhood went into retreat.Fallout: New Vegas loading screen

The NCR-Brotherhood War, also referred to simply as the Brotherhood War,[2] is a major conflict between the Brotherhood of Steel and the New California Republic that has thoroughly affected New California as well as areas around it, shifting its fragile balance of power.


The roots of the war lie in the decline of the Brotherhood of Steel between the eldership of Rhombus and the emergence of the New California Republic as the dominant power in New California.[7] Confronted with an expanding nation state, the Brotherhood adopted a reactionary policy, attempting to seize any advanced pre-War technology, limiting and controlling access to such technologies throughout the region, particularly energy weapons.[8]

The Republic refused to accept the policy the Brotherhood attempted to impose on it, which resulted in a military confrontation.[3] Although the NCR tolerated Brotherhood presence as late as 2241,[9] by the late 2250s or early 2260s, military clashes between the republic and the Brotherhood were already commonplace and consuming lives.[1]

Course of the war

This gave way to a long and bloody war that took a considerable toll on the NCR Army and the Republic itself as well as the Brotherhood. During the early years of the war, the Brotherhood was able to inflict heavy losses on the NCR, achieving numerous victories and successes in the opening stages of the conflict. However, despite enjoying a huge advantage in individual training and equipment, the Brotherhood was unable to match the New California Republic's manpower and ability to replace losses, and the tactical and strategic flexibility it provided. Eventually, the Brotherhood was forced into retreat and hiding.[3] At least six chapter bunkers were wiped out by the Republic, four destroyed by the Brotherhood in a last-ditch attempt to deny them to the NCR.[4]

Eastern front

Main article: Operation: Sunburst

Although hostilities continued in New California,[10] the Republic recovered and focused its efforts on expanding eastwards, into the Mojave Wasteland and Hoover Dam. Elder Lyons mentions turmoil, in that "the Brotherhood of Steel has been struggling for years, both here and back home." The subsequent occupation of the Dam in 2273 brought it in conflict with the Mojave chapter of the Brotherhood, which operated unrestricted in the region for years. After two years of guerrilla skirmishes instigated by the Brotherhood, the NCR launched Operation: Sunburst to neutralize the chapter in a single, pitched battle at HELIOS One. The indefensible nature of the solar power plant, inexperienced soldiers, limited manpower, and poor tactical decisions made by Elder Elijah were ruthlessly exploited by the republic and its commanders. Concentrating a force that outnumbered the Brotherhood defense by a factor of between 15[11] and 20 to 1,[12] the Operation was a tremendous success. The Brotherhood was routed, losing half its manpower, including over a half of its veteran knights and paladins. The survivors retreated to Hidden Valley through the McCullough Mountains and enacted a strict lockdown.[Non-game 1] As they hid, the republic increased its military presence in the Mojave fivefold.[13]

Notable battles

Operation: Sunburst, a pitched battle where the Mojave chapter lost control of HELIOS One and suffered crippling casualties amounting to half the chapter.


Hostilities continue in New California as of 2281,[10] although it is no longer considered a priority conflict for the NCR. After years of warfare and attrition, the Brotherhood has been forced into hiding and retreated into their bunkers. Veteran commanders of the Brotherhood War have been reassigned to other fronts, with the most prominent of those being Colonel Cassandra Moore, with four tours to her name, a legendary status among the troops, and tasked with effecting the annexation of the Mojave through any means necessary.[14] Victory came at a significant cost in men and materiel, especially during bunker assaults, when platoons of troops were lost to eliminate a stronghold.[15]

Meanwhile, the Brotherhood in the West is dying out, effectively in hiding,[5] with some of its most talented members going rogue instead of aiding the Brotherhood.[16] The depletion of manpower has severely impacted its ability to wage war, with fallen veterans replaced by relatively inexperienced soldiers promoted out of necessity.[Non-game 2]

The NCR has stopped actively searching for Brotherhood bunkers by 2281 to focus on the NCR-Legion War.[17] Despite ongoing hostilities, the NCR is willing to continue its pursuit and elimination of the Brotherhood. However, in the interest of strategy, it is willing to form alliances with surviving chapters, provided they are not at crossed purposes.[18]

Although stationary, Lost Hills, the heart of the Brotherhood out West, remains under Brotherhood control as of 2287, and the elder council remains in power. The elders continue monitoring far flung chapters, reestablishing contact with Lyons' chapter in D.C. and reintegrating it after the rise of Arthur Maxson. Cults dedicated to the new Maxson started to emerge on the West Coast, routinely suppressed by the council.[19]

Economic hardship

Although victorious, the NCR suffered greatly on the economic front. When the Brotherhood could not counter the Republic's military advantage, it attacked the gold reserves that backed the New Californian dollar, robbing its gold reserves.[Non-game 3]

As the raids intensified and gold became unavailable, destroyed or rendered useless by Brotherhood operations, NCR citizens panicked and rushed to reclaim the listed face value of currency from NCR's remaining gold reserves. Since the NCR was unable to realize these withdrawals, particularly towards the frontier, value in their currency considerably dropped. To protect against actual economic collapse, the NCR government abandoned the gold standard and established fiat currency, not payable in specie. Since then many wastelanders lost faith in it as a medium of worth, both as a result of it not being backed by anything but the government's word and the inevitable inflation. In response to the loss of faith, merchant consortium of the Hub re-established their own currency, the venerable bottle cap, backing it with water by exchanging a standardized measure of water for caps. (The traders of the Hub had introduced the bottle cap a long time ago, but had switched to NCR dollars as the "default" currency instead of bottle caps.) The decision to reintroduce the bottle cap as the leading post-nuclear currency was born out of frustration stemming from NCR's ineptitude in handling the currency crisis.[Non-game 4][Non-game 5][Non-game 6][Non-game 7]


The NCR Brotherhood War is an ongoing war, with many of its battles being mentioned in Fallout: New Vegas.

Behind the scenes

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Courier: "Do you have any other family in the Brotherhood?"
    Veronica Santangelo: "Just my parents, but they haven't been around for a long time. Dad was a Paladin, Mom was a Scribe. They died in the same battle trying to hold off the NCR from... something. I don't remember what it was. Guess it seemed important at the time."
    The Courier: "Who was this Father Elijah to you?"
    Veronica Santangelo: "I would say he was my tutor, but that doesn't cover it. After my parents passed, he looked after me. The whole Brotherhood brought me up, really, but he made sure of it. I never had a grandfather - not that I knew, anyway - but Elijah was in some ways what I'd imagine a grandfather to be."
    (Veronica Santangelo's dialogue) Note: Veronica was born in 2254 and states she was brought up by the Brotherhood, indicating they passed in her early childhood, which pins the earliest known instance of NCR-Brotherhood hostility in the 2250s/2260s range.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Aaron Kimball: "Born in a tin shack on the outskirts of One Pine, Jeremy Watson never had it easy. His father worked as a caravan guard on the Short Loop, and his mother, like many Californians, braved the ruins of the Old World as a prospector. They suffered through water shortages, raider attacks, and the Brotherhood War. Like our mighty Sierra Nevadas, they endured. But the time came when they could no longer shoulder the burden alone. Twelve years ago, they called out for help, and the republic heard them.
    (Aaron Kimball's dialogue)}}
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Fallout: New Vegas loading screens: "Due to disagreements over how technology should be controlled in the wasteland, the Brotherhood of Steel waged a long and bloody war against the NCR. Despite superior equipment and training, the Brotherhood eventually went into retreat."
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Courier: "Any recommendations on how to complete the mission?"
    Robert House: "From time to time, the NCR has assaulted Brotherhood bunkers. In four of the six incidents I know of, the bunkers self-destructed. I surmise it's standard practice for the Brotherhood to install a self-destruct system. It's consistent with their uncompromising nature. You might use that against them. Or kill them another way, it's up to you. Return when it's done."
    (Robert House's dialogue)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Nolan McNamara: "Veronica. I hope-"
    Veronica: "I brought you a present."
    Veronica Santangelo: "We unlocked the secret of HELIOS One."
    Nolan McNamara: "What? Wonderful news!"
    Veronica Santangelo: "No. It's not. ARCHIMEDES II is an orbital laser. Effective only outdoors in a limited radius and requiring a long recharge."
    Nolan McNamara: "In the hands of the enemy-"
    Veronica Santangelo: "They'd be marginally more effective. We lost most of the chapter defending glorified artillery."
    Nolan McNamara: "We couldn't have known. We fought for what we believed in."
    Veronica Santangelo: "And nearly died for it. Tomorrow you'd do it all over again, having learned nothing."
    Nolan McNamara: "Are you trying to shame me?"
    Veronica Santangelo: "I'm trying to open your eyes. We need to engage the outside world. We can't win without new recruits."
    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 the conversation at the end of I Could Make You Care taking the path of discovering what was important about HELIOS One.
  6. The Courier: "If it's worked for this long, there must be something redeemable about their beliefs. Have faith."
    Veronica Santangelo: "Wow, you sound like Elder McNamara. I know I should. Hell, it's what I signed up for when I chose to stay into adulthood. I know there's something worth saving in there. But we're in decline. Our membership is... decimated. There's got to be something we can do."
    (Veronica Santangelo's dialogue)
  7. The Chosen One: "{131}{}{Before we go any further, why tell me all this now?}"
    Matthew: "{132}{}{(sigh) The Enclave has developed vertibird technology, flying machines that allow them to move deeply into surrounding territories. Without similar technology to counter this threat, the Brotherhood would be unable to stop an invasion launched by the Enclave. We need to have vertibird technology, or a viable counter to it, for ourselves.} {133}{}{Now, recently the Enclave established a base north of here called Navarro. It's used as a stopover point for the maintenance and refueling of vertibirds. It's my belief that such a base may have complete technical plans of the vertibirds. All I need is for someone to infiltrate the base, steal the plans, and bring them here to me.}"
    The Chosen One: "{135}{}{Let me guess. You want me to infiltrate this base for you.}"
    Matthew: "{136}{}{Let me be frank with you,} {137}{}{. The Brotherhood of Steel is not the power that we once were. We believed ourselves to be the sole source of technology left to mankind. Secure in this belief we have let our order decline over the years. Now we don't have the resources at our disposal to deal with the Enclave. We need your help.}"
  8. GTtv interview with Josh Sawyer
  9. The presence of a Brotherhood outpost in the NCR capital at that date.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Fallout: New Vegas endings
  11. The Courier: "Why do you hate the Brotherhood so much?"
    Robert House: "Because they're ridiculous! Because they galavant around the Mojave pretending to be Knights of Yore. Or did, until the NCR showed them that ideological purity and shiny power armor don't count for much when you're outnumbered 15:1. The world has no use for emotionally unstable techno-fetishists. Just wipe them out, will you?"
    (Robert House's dialogue)
  12. The Courier: "Why was the Brotherhood of Steel here?"
    Lt. Haggerty: "Damned if I know. Put up a hell of a fight, though. We had them outnumbered, I don't know, twenty to one, maybe. They held out as long as they could. Lost most of their force before they retreated. Gave us a little parting gift, too. They had some of the plant running, but they shut it all down. Enabled an old security system, too, to keep us away from the controls. Jerkoffs."
    (Haggerty's dialogue)
  13. The Courier: "Tell me about the lockdown."
    Nolan McNamara: "It's a protective measure that was enacted after our defeat at HELIOS. The NCR was hot on our heels, and we wouldn't have survived another encounter. It was decided that we would stay quiet for a time, heal the wounded, and try to come up with a new strategy. However, after we had fully recuperated, our first scouting measures showed that the NCR's presence in this region had only increased in our absence. There are now more than five times the number of NCR troops in the area as when we fought them, and we have half the number we did at HELIOS. And so the lockdown has been extended. To go outside would be the death of us all."
    (Nolan McNamara's dialogue)
  14. The Courier: "Colonel Moore's "way"?"
    Chief Hanlon: "The colonel is an effective commander - one of the best - but she sharpened her claws on the Vipers and the old Jackals. Did four tours against the Brotherhood, too. She used to be ranger until an injury took her out of action. Happens to a lot of us, unfortunately. She's better at making graves than making friends. Bring in Moore and the earth will be razed. Fields will be salted."
    (Hanlon's dialogue)
  15. The Courier: "The Brotherhood of Steel has been wiped out."
    Robert House: "Singlehandedly destroying a Brotherhood of Steel bunker is quite an accomplishment. Platoons of NCR troops have died, trying to do the same. This welcome news comes just in time, as events in the wider world are coming to a head..."
    (Robert House's dialogue)
  16. Elder Elijah's departure after Operation: Sunburst and one of potential fates of Veronica Santangelo at the end of I Could Make You Care.
  17. The Courier: "Why don't you deal in energy weapons?"
    Alexander: "We used to. But every caravan carrying them was getting ambushed and wiped out. By someone sophisticated enough to know which was which. We think it was the Brotherhood of Steel - those crazies always go hard for energy weapons. But the NCR would rather pretend they killed all of them."
    (Alexadner's dialogue)
  18. For the Republic, Part 2 and its two possible outcomes.
  19. The Prydwen terminal entries: "The Rise of Elder Maxson [...]"


  1. Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition p.43: "Brotherhood of Steel"
    "The Brotherhood of Steel is a militant organization devoted to the preservation of pre-war technology and human knowledge. Their professed mission is to preserve pre-war technology and human knowledge for the benefit of future generations. In practice, its definition of technology is strangely selective, ignoring basic but potentially useful technologies (genetic modification of crops and civil engineering, for example) in favor of combat technology such as energy weapons and power armor: and even now, nearly two centuries after the Great War, the Brotherhood zealously restricts the use and knowledge of such technologies to its own membership.
    The Mojave Brotherhood operated freely amid the Vegas wastes for several years, carrying out many reclamation missions without serious opposition. The balance of power shifted in 2251, when a large contingent of NCR troops entered the region and occupied Hoover Dam. Conflict was inevitable. Nearly two years of guerilla skirmishes culminated in a pitched battle at HELIOS One, a solar energy plant the Brotherhood had been refurbishing for several months with the goals of bringing it back online and activating its hidden offensive capabilities (the ARCHIMEDES II death ray). The battle for HELIOS One (Operation: Sunburst) proved a disaster for the Mojave Brotherhood. More than half its Paladins and Knights were killed. The chapter's leader, Elder Elijah, disappeared without a trace. The Brotherhood was driven from the facility, which suffered extensive damage. Survivors retreated to Hidden Valley.
    Since that defeat, the chapter's leader, Elder McNamara, has restricted activity outside the bunker to occasional reconnaissance missions and high-value raids. All operations take place at night, and engagement of NCR forces is strictly forbidden. Though the Brotherhood's ascetic lifestyle has prepared its members for a sequestered existence better than most, the passivity of their current situation has proved highly stressful."
    (Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide faction profiles)
  2. Josh Sawyer: "Many years have passed since the events of Fallout 1 and in the time between F2 and F:NV, the western Brotherhood has suffered very heavy losses. Because they are, by nature, insular, replacing their fallen veterans is difficult. Most of the Mojave chapter's paladins are relatively inexperienced. There isn't an army of Rhombuses down there."
    (J.E. Sawyer on forums.bethsoft.com)
  3. [1] Joshua Sawyer: "I wouldn't think so. When USD was gold-backed the value of the dollar didn't change based on proximity to Fort Knox.
    Anyway, I don't actually remember anyone in the game saying that the BoS made NCR's gold radioactive, but that they attacked a reserve and stole a shitload of it."
  4. Josh Sawyer:"And this is discussed in-game: BoS raided NCR's gold reserves until NCR could no longer generate gold coinage nor back their paper money. They abandoned the gold standard and established fiat currency, which is why its value is inflated over both caps and (especially) Legion coinage. (...) People in eastern NCR and the Mojave Wasteland lost faith in the NCR government's a) ability to back the listed value of paper money and b) stability overall. If you're living in Bakersfield, staring at a piece of paper that says "redeemable for value in gold" and you have no faith in the government's ability or willingness to do that -- or if you see that the government has changed the currency to say that it is not able to be exchanged for a backed good -- you may very well listen to the strong consortium of local merchants offering to exchange that paper note for currency backed by water."
    (Josh Sawyer on forums.somethingawful.com)
  5. Josh Sawyer: "Traders from the Mojave travel the Short Loop into NCR, which means that they have to go through a few hundred miles of solid desert. Carrying enough water to travel from New Vegas to the Boneyard (or vice versa) would undercut cargo capacity significantly. Even the communities around the Mojave Wasteland (other than New Vegas itself) have water brought in and stored in local towers. Of course, the Colorado River is nearby as long as you don't mind walking through an active war zone."
    (Josh Sawyer on forums.somethingawful.com)
  6. Question: "How does the Hub 'back' caps? Can you exchange a certain number of caps for a standard measure of water?
    Josh Sawyer: "Yes."
    (Josh Sawyer on forums.somethingawful.com)
  7. Joshua Sawyer: "It happened during the BoS-NCR war. I believe Alice McLafferty mentions it, but I'm not positive. She doesn't detail the events in this much detail, but here they are: The attacks caused NCR citizens (and others who held NCR currency) to panic, resulting in a rush to reclaim the listed face value of currency from NCR's gold reserves. Inability to do this at several locations (especially near the periphery of NCR territory where reserves were normally low) caused a loss of faith in NCR's ability to back their currency. Though NCR eventually stopped the BoS attacks, they decided to protect against future problems by switching to fiat currency. While this meant that BoS could no longer attack a) reserves or b) the source of production (all NCR bills are made in the Boneyard), some people felt more uneasy about their money not having any "real" (backed) value. This loss of confidence increased with NCR inflation, an ever-looming spectre of fiat currency. Because the Hub links NCR with the Mojave Wasteland and beyond, the merchants there grew frustrated with NCR's handling of the currency crisis. They conspired to re-introduce the bottle cap as a water-backed currency that could "bridge the gap" between NCR and Legion territory. In the time leading up to the re-introduction, they did the footwork to position themselves properly. If some old-timer had a chest full of caps, they didn't care (in fact, they thought that was great, since the old-timers would enthusiastically embrace the return of the cap), but they did seek to control or destroy production facilities and truly large volumes of caps (e.g. Typhon's treasure) whenever possible."
    (Josh Sawyer on forums.somethingawful.com)