|For the cut location in Fallout, see Burrows.|
The Burrows is a term referring to the Harpers Ferry stormwater management system, operating since 2057, stretching beneath the entire town. The spacious underground areas are some of the oldest parts of the city and by 2072 were partially falling apart due to a combination of lack of funds, general neglect, and sheer age. However, this also made them a welcome refuge for people who had very little, with communities regularly emerging beneath the town and just as quickly dispersed by work crews in accordance with anti-trespassing laws.
In September 2072, renovations were started on the oldest parts of the stormwater system, which were on the verge of collapse. Due to potential infrastructure issues, plans were approved to bypass water flow around these sections and preserve access for future work. Work continued, with squatters continuously removed by the work crews. They usually left without causing much of a fuss, used to drifting out of society's sight. Even if they were sympathetic towards their plight, the engineers enforced the law. The worst came when Public Works decided to solve the situation permanently, installing automated security turrets in the network, loaded with stun rounds and programmed to attack any non-employees so that they would be collected.
Once the renovations were completed, the stormwater network was significantly improved and expanded, with equipment installed to measure and test various substances in water. The project was completed 2 months overdue and 1.4 million dollars over budget due to a historical society's complaint of construction occurring in one of the oldest sewer chambers. In the words of one of the engineers: "When society's getting nostalgic over their own shit you know something's went wrong." The completion of renovations was followed by complete automation in 2075, with the workers tasked with monitoring the network told to vacate the premises within a week and sacked. Some took it poorly, like John Welch, who rigged the turrets to attack everyone while leaving his post. Military fabricators were installed within the network, giving it military-grade security. To the soon-to-be unemployed workers, it felt like an excuse to funnel even more money into the coffers of RobCo.
After the Great War, the situation changed dramatically. The Harpers Ferry stormwater tunnels became a refuge for those who lost everything, continuing the tradition established by the squatting communities. Under Maude's leadership, the neighborhoods that formed in the tunnels invited the unlucky, the broken, and the destitute to join and help them form a society beneath Harpers Ferry, seeking to keep values of civility alive in the post-apocalypse. Its role was elevated especially after the Christmas Flood of 2082, when the Burrows welcomed everyone who was in need of a home, opening arms to those who needed a new start.
However, the peace did not last the test of time. Eventually, Marcus, the son of one of the public works employees, decided to take over the central chamber neighborhood and institute his own, despotic rule. His gang, the Burrow Boys, decided that everyone had to earn their keep - and everyone was limited to people strong enough to take what they need. They mandated biweekly scavenging runs to keep food reserves high, used the water station as a source of water to purify and boil, and maintained the old turret network - now loaded with live ammunition and gunning down anyone who wasn't them. Most of the denizens vacated the stormwater network, including Maude, her supporters, and the infamous Doctor Ken, a chem dealer first and doctor second. Recognizing that Maude's group would try to flee, Marcus sealed off all exits out of The Burrows and reprogrammed its robotic security systems to target Maude's group. Nevertheless, many former residents of The Burrows - including Doctor Ken - were able to flee, creating a new settlement named Mosstown further north.
The turrets and robots did not escape the notice of the Brotherhood of Steel, back when they were still exploring Appalachia. Romeo Squad was dispatched to investigate reports of military-grade robots in the area, eventually disappearing in the vast network of tunnels.
An automated status report from May 2101 states that water from the network was being directed to the Whitespring, with over 600,000 gallons of water pumped. It is not explicitly stated when this "Whitespring Pipeline" project began, though an operations terminal in the Whitespring Bunker makes mention of a Harpers Ferry pipeline and a water reservoir.
- If entering from the southern entrance, one will immediately gain access to the central area. The safe entrance area with a Brotherhood corpse leads to the main storm drain, with branching paths to the approximate north and the south that run in parallel to the main channel. Both areas are heavily infested with ghouls. The northwest areas contain the mess hall with a locked pantry and allow circumnavigation of the cave-in further down the central channel. A branching path leads to a damaged pipe that can be taken to get to the retracted bridge area.
- The southern side is where the fishing wharf was located and connects to a small living space with an armor workbench and a lit tunnel leading to an enclosed space with power armor. Both paths terminate in the barricade leading to the central area. The walkway can be accessed through the righthand path (looking at the entrance to central) and leads to the retracted bridge that can be opened using the nearby terminal near a flamethrower trap.
- Over the bridge lies the market, just next to the Burrows' north side. Through a large living space is a closed storm drain pipe that can be opened using the nearby valve and leads to Doctor Ken's chem den in the west. It contains some chems and other medical supplies and is surrounded by more winding corridors. At the southern end past the den lies the northern entrance to the Burrows. The tunnels through to the northeast lead to the main section, with a tinker's workbench, tucked off in the corner to the west.
- The heart of the Burrows, filled with makeshift construction. The main "hall" includes a weapons workbench, with storage offset to the sides. The adjacent reservoir (roughly northern/eastern side) has a closed-down bar on the upper floor. A cooking station is below, overlooking the reservoir.
- The western section of central contains the Burrow Boys' throne room, with Marcus' terminal in the corner. Approaching it triggers an ambush by several feral ghouls.
- The southern section leads to the market and further back to Dr. Ken's chem den.
- The eastern part, marked with a red light and a do not enter sign leads to old, damaged tunnels and through them to the pump station, required to complete the quest Waste Management.
- The pump station consists of hostile robots and is accessible once one turns the valve down the northern end of the old tunnel. It has an open layout with pipes providing cover. The office in the corner to the right of the entrance contains a tinker's workbench. On the opposite end, the station leads up the walkways into the old control room and beyond it, into the heart of the robot maintenance and control system.
- Entering the room will spawn additional robots. Accessing the terminal allows for collecting the final quest holotape and opens the door in the nearby red pipe, leading back to the bar area.
- Holotapes and notes
- Burrows mission brief - Holotape, on the body of a Brotherhood corpse immediately after entering from both sewers.
- Burrows warning - Note, on a table in the mess hall.
- For Maude - Holotape, inserted into the control terminal in the pump room.
- Maude's journal page - Note, on a table near a sleeping bag east of the market.
- Marcus' speech - Holotape, inserted into the Burrows Boys' terminal.
- To Pete - Note, at the old tunnel gate entrance (cannot be taken).
- Warning for Dylan - Holotape, on a metal shelf near the riverway of lights.
- Other loot
- Burrows old tunnel key - On a nightstand in the Burrows Boys' throne room.
- Raider power armor - In the corner of a flooded side room before the riverway of lights.
- Potential magazine - On a red barrel near the riverway of lights.
- Potential armor plan - On a metal shelf near the riverway of lights, on the lower row.
- Potential weapon mod - Near the armor workbench at the shooting range, on a table.
- Potential recipe - Next to the cooking station in the central chamber, on a cinder block.
Behind the scenes
The Burrows was primarily created by level designer Trevor Swafford, who also wrote the story (including holotapes and terminal entries) and quest associated with the location. He aimed to "nail the look" of old storm drain tunnels in designing the area. He also scripted several combat encounters, as well as the extendable bridge, valve doors, and sirens for the final room.
- The Burrows terminal entries; bridge control terminal, Work Log: Bridge Malfunction
- The Burrows terminal entries; pump station access terminal, Work Log: Old Tunnel Renovation
- The Burrows terminal entries; station terminal, Automated Safety Notice
- The Burrows terminal entries; station terminal, Work Log 16213
- The Burrows terminal entries; observation deck terminal, Work Log: Last Day
- The Burrows terminal entries; station terminal, Welcome to The Burrows!
- For Maude
- The Burrows terminal entries; station terminal, Goodbye Home
- The Burrows terminal entries; Dr. Ken's terminal, Relocation
- Burrows mission brief
- The Burrows terminal entries; control terminal, AUTOMATED STATUS REPORT
- The Burrows terminal entries; operations terminal
- Trevor Swafford's website