The Castle, originally known as Fort Independence, is a historic landmark in the Boston area, dating back to the pre-Revolutionary period. The granite star fort was one of the first forts in the United States, and provided harbor defenses for the city of Boston. Since the Great War, the name of Fort Independence has fallen out of favor, as most residents of the Commonwealth refer to it simply as the Castle.[Non-game 1]
It served as the headquarters for the Commonwealth Minutemen until 2240, when the Castle was partly destroyed by a gigantic mirelurk queen, and most of the Minutemen leadership wiped out.[Non-game 1] Their general at the time, McGann, was cut off from the battle early on when the tunnel to his quarters collapsed. While waiting for rescue, he secured the armory by activating its security. Eventually, as he ran out of supplies (and conceded that help was not coming), he drank wine he found, easing his passing into oblivion.
Almost fifty years later, the Commonwealth Minutemen under the Sole Survivor (as general) can retake the fort by wiping out the mirelurks that have since made it their nest. They can clear out the egg clutches and corpses and reactivate their communications equipment, returning a critical asset to Minutemen hands. Once this is done, Ronnie Shaw, an older member from before the Castle's loss, calls the general back to open its west bastion and access its armory, giving the Minutemen access to their artillery once more.
Fort Independence is a star fort, consisting of five triangular bastions connected by walls. The walls are hollow and contain most of the fort's infrastructure, with only the workshop and the Radio Freedom transmitter in the courtyard and two ruined Minutemen artillery positions on top of the wall. The northwest and southwest walls have been all but demolished, and a sizable hole punched in the south wall as well, making the west bastion, which contains the armory, inaccessible except through the tunnels. The north bastion contains the kitchen, the east bastion contains the general's quarters and access to the tunnels, and the southeast bastion contains the barracks. The southwest bastion is completely inaccessible.
The Castle is initially occupied by a large group of mirelurks, and piles of mud studded with mirelurk egg clutches can be found all over the courtyard and all interior areas save the armory. Once the quest Taking Independence is completed, these will be cleared away and the fort made available for settlement.
Inside the fort is a missile launcher and flamer, as well as a small amount of ammunition for each. Once settled, it comes with five free beds, a cooking stove, a first aid station, a chemistry station, starter lighting and an electrical cable system, and an industrial water purifier good for 40 units of water should the player character reintroduce power into the system.
Inside the armory are a cache of heavy weapons, a weapons workbench and an armor workbench, and three laser turrets as well as three Tesla arcs that can be stored or redeployed elsewhere using the workshop menu. Also present are laser musket mods and the schematics for building the special artillery units. However, access to the armory is impossible until the quest Old Guns is completed.
Access to the settlement is through the south via the main gate, and enemies will usually attack from this direction or the other land approach to the northwest; behind the main gate is a small and highly defensible room.
The Castle tunnels
The entrance to the tunnels is difficult to find prior to beginning the quest Old Guns. It is hidden behind rubble, and cannot be accessed unless the workshop for the Castle has been unlocked by advancing in the quest Taking Independence.
Once the workshop is unlocked, head to the room in the east bastion. Then, look to the left to find a pile of rubble which can be scrapped in workshop mode. Upon scrapping this rubble, the stairs leading down to the door to the Castle tunnels will be revealed.
The tunnels are winding but essentially linear. Hazards include mines, explosive gas, radiation, and a turret. Storage areas are encountered first, then an area with a chemistry station and a generator, followed by a barracks with usable beds. Next is a locked security door guarded by a malfunctioning, hostile sentry bot named Sarge; this door can only be unlocked by Ronnie Shaw via the nearby terminal during the quest Old Guns. Behind the door is a room with the corpse of General McGann and the exit to the armory in the west bastion.
The Castle's courtyard is spacious, with plenty of room for growing crops or constructing buildings if desired. There is also accessible open water to the north (outside the walls of the fort) which can be useful for large-scale water production. Being a fort, the Castle is already well-fortified from attacks, which is helpful given that the area is prone to raids. There is almost no junk that can be scrapped for building materials, so supply lines will likely be needed to supplement the Castle's resources. The tunnels can be useful as an initial source of extra junk.
- General McGann
- Up to five Minutemen, including radio operator (optional)
- Ronnie Shaw (optional)
- Guns and Bullets issue #8 - On the radio operator's desk, in the middle of the Castle courtyard.
- Fat Man and mini nuke - In the armory, accessible during/after Old Guns.
- Nuka grenade - In the armory, accessible during/after Old Guns.
- Various laser musket upgrades - In the armory, accessible during/after Old Guns.
- The Last Minute - Sold by Ronnie Shaw, after completing Old Guns.
- Bottle message #2 - Outside the southeast bastion, by the water's edge. The submerged boat and steamer trunk for the objective are located just northwest of Spectacle Island.
- Taking Independence: The Sole Survivor can retake the fort by wiping out the mirelurks that have since made it their nest. They can clear out the egg clutches and corpses and reactivate their communications equipment.
- Old Guns: Ronnie Shaw, a member from before the Castle's loss, calls the Sole Survivor back to open its west bastion and access its armory, giving the Minutemen access to their artillery.
- It is possible to clear out the Castle before the Minutemen retake it during Taking Independence. When Preston Garvey asks the Sole Survivor if the Minutemen are ready to take back the Castle, one has the option to say that they have already cleared the place out.
- The mess created by the mirelurks and the eggs (intact or smashed) will remain if the player character takes this route. The Minutemen appear to clean up the mess once they arrive, although this may take some time to happen. Afterward, it will be identical to the outcome of taking it with the Minutemen, aside from any goo piles that may have been caused by the mirelurk queen killing them with acid.
- After gaining access to the workshop, the Castle will be partially cleaned up when the Sole Survivor later visits the settlement. Much of the overgrown vegetation as well as some of the debris piles along the demolished walls will be gone.
- The Castle's walls can be repaired effectively in build mode using shack foundations. However, this may cause a bug where enemies spawn inside the foundation blocks in some quests.
- Unlike other settlements, settlers assigned to guard posts in the Castle will not be permanently posted at those guard posts; instead, they patrol the Castle walls and will stand watch at certain points, such as the entrances. This eliminates the need for multiple guard posts spread out around the Castle, as two guards will effectively cover all of it.
- To open the way to the armory, the Sole Survivor must scrap the rubble blocking the stairwell in the east bastion in workshop mode, and make their way through the Castle tunnels to the other side.
- The plasma traps on the shelves in the armory are bugged, and cannot be used. The laser turrets can be moved or stored in build mode.
- The Castle already has an intricate electrical system; connecting generators to the wiring will activate wall lights in the interior. There is a pre-built water purifier that is connected to the wiring. The water purifier is hooked up to the sinks in the kitchen in the north bastion; drinking from these will not raise radiation levels.
- The built-in Castle radio, which broadcasts Radio Freedom, will attract more Minutemen to the Castle; however, it appears to stop recruiting after the Castle has a total of five Minutemen.
- The Castle's Minutemen cannot be assigned to all the same tasks as settlers (such as forming a supply line). There is one specifically assigned Minuteman to handle the radio transmitter. His voice is the same as the broadcaster's on Radio Freedom.
- Once connected to a power source, Radio Freedom will automatically begin to broadcast from the Castle. However, this can be turned off by using the switch on the radio tower. Once the speakers are turned off, the only way to hear Radio Freedom will be to tune in on the Pip-Boy until one turns the speakers back on.
- If one is following the Minutemen main storyline, the Castle will be the site of several battles against the Institute and the Brotherhood of Steel.
- During Defend the Castle, one can expect to find the enemies on the path south.
- If used as a settlement and one uses the increased settlement size exploit, the Castle can possibly produce over 1,000 water.
- If one stores power armor inside the armory, Ronnie Shaw may enter it during times when the Castle is being attacked.
- There are a couple of respawning loot sites:
- The diner with the "Ivan's" sign outside the walls where the Minutemen gather before the initial assault to retake the Castle has an ammo box, a first aid box, and three fragmentation mines that respawn. The ammo box and first aid box will contain different ammo types and chems on each visit, but the three frag mines will always be present.
- Once the armory has been accessed, inside is a box on a shelf containing artillery smoke grenades and flares that respawn very frequently.
- It is impossible to "take" the Castle before or after Taking Independence for the Nuka-World raiders, or to turn it into a vassal settlement.
The Castle only appears in Fallout 4.
Behind the scenes
- The Castle is based on Fort Independence, one of the oldest continuously occupied fortified defenses of the original American settlers in the United States, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. The landmass Fort Independence is built upon is named Castle Island.
- Toward the end of the Castle tunnels, near General McGann's body, is a crate of Amontillado wine. Opposite the wine is a skeleton seemingly entombed in a wall. This is a reference to Edgar Allen Poe's story The Cask of Amontillado, where the protagonist's enemy is lured into an underground vault, chained and then encased by a wall. The label of the Amontillado Bottle ("Montressor, Amontillado, Bottled by: P. Edgar") is again a direct reference to the work of Poe and the protagonist, Montresor.
- This story was, in turn, purportedly, inspired by a story involving the fort following the death of Lt. Robert F. Massie, who was killed in a duel with Lt. Gustavus Drane at the fort in 1817. The story goes that Massie was so popular with the soldiers that they took revenge on Drane by walling him up into one of fort's vaults. Poe, who served at Fort Independence in 1827, allegedly heard the tale and was inspired to write The Cask of Amontillado. However, while the duel took place, Drane, in fact, was not murdered and continued his service until he died in 1846.
- The small partially destroyed building to the west of the Castle with the destroyed sign that says "Ivan's" with a shamrock is based on the real-life restaurant outside Fort Independence called "Sullivan's." The real restaurant features shamrocks on its sign, and has been outside Fort Independence since June 1951.
- The Minuteman in charge of broadcasting Radio Freedom may complain (usually after starting the Old Guns quest) that the transmitter is not being powered, despite having power. This is due to the Minuteman becoming hostile to Sarge in the Castle tunnels, and so should be able to be prevented by eliminating Sarge before Old Guns. Otherwise, this bug prevents the use of Radio Freedom.[verified]
- You can get into the armory without Ronnie Shaw and before Old Guns has been started by walking up to the door and placing a fast-travel marker underneath.[verified]
- Assigning guards to guard towers can be problematic, as they assign to a patrol route along (invisible) patrol markers that are already in place when you take the Castle.[verified]
When building generators to power the beacon, the beacon will show the power requirement not being met regardless of how much power is being supplied to it, and as a result will not activate.[verified]
- This can usually be fixed by removing each generator, storing them, and replacing them.
- Sometimes the castle door will not open, forcing the player character to go back through the tunnels.[verified]
- Preston Garvey: " "
(Preston Garvey's dialogue)
- Justin Ayo: "What exactly is he/she doing here?"
Alana Secord: "Excuse me sir, but is it wise to have this meeting given... present company?"
Shaun: "I will address that issue, but there are other subjects that require our attention first."
Justin Ayo: "SRB agents are monitoring all known situations, sir."
Alana Secord: "Oh, yes. Uhh... Watchers have not shown any additional threats at this time. We're still monitoring increased activity around Fort Independence, though there's no immediate cause for concern."
(Alana Secord, Justin Ayo and Shaun's dialogue)
- The Castle terminal entries; security terminal, Attacked in the night
- The Castle terminal entries; security terminal, Bolstered my position
- The Castle terminal entries; security terminal, Final entry
- Preston Garvey: " "
(Preston Garvey's dialogue)
- Events of Old Guns.
- Preston Garvey: "We've gotten big enough that we're having trouble communicating with all our settlements. It's a good problem to have. And I have a solution. I think it's time to retake the Castle. It used to be the Minuteman HQ, way before my time. Well-fortified, centrally-located, and most important - it has a powerful radio transmitter we can use to broadcast to the whole Commonwealth."
(Preston Garvey's dialogue)
- Fallout 4 Vault Dweller's Survival Guide Collector's Edition p. 517: "[18.08] THE CASTLE
Historians have noted the original name for this settlement was Fort Independence, but the people of the Commonwealth now refer to it simply as the Castle. This place has a long and storied history; it is one of the first forts in America and predates the Revolutionary War. In recent times, it served as the base of operations for the Minutemen as they attempted (and failed) to establish a Provisional government. In 2240, the Castle was partly destroyed by gigantic Mirelurk, and most of the Minutemen leadership died. Still, it is generally agreed that the location could yet become an excellent base of operations for the Minutemen (and an exceptional settlement) if it can be reclaimed from the sea creatures. Note that the map information refers to interior corridors within the fortification walls."
(Fallout 4 Vault Dweller's Survival Guide Map)