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We arrived here in '55. Established ourselves in the Citadel within the first few months. The Elder has kept us busy since then.Scribe Rothchild

The Citadel, sometimes referred to as the DC Bunker,[1] is the heavily defended headquarters of the Brotherhood of Steel in the Capital Wasteland in 2277. It is built into and beneath the ruins of the Pentagon, located at the 1600 Defense Pentagon, Washington, D.C., on the west end of the Key Bridge, northeast of Arlington Library.


Opened in 1943, after two years of construction, the Pentagon was the nexus of the American military for the next 134 years, until the Great War of 2077 destroyed the United States. As headquarters of the Department of Defense, it was the symbol of the American military.

The building was constructed at the site formerly occupied by the notoriously unsafe Hoover-Washington Airfield. Although the original pentagonal shape was dictated by the planned Arlington Farms location, it was retained at President Roosevelt's request. The massive, four story high concrete building has five concentric rings, designated from the center out as "A" through "E" (with "F" and "G" in the basement). It also has five facades, counting clockwise from the north one: the Mall Terrace Entrance, the River Terrace Entrance facade, the Concourse Entrance (or Metro Station) facade, the South Parking Entrance facade, and the Heliport facade. The Mall Entrance and The River Entrance feature a portico, with the latter leading out to a long terrace once used for ceremonies.

In the years leading up to the Great War, the Pentagon was adapted as a location for one of the most secret military research projects, a joint venture between General Atomics and RobCo aiming to create Liberty Prime, the ultimate American war machine. However, the nuclear war and the destruction of America cut the project short and the damaged building was eventually abandoned.

It was not until 2255 that it earned a second lease on life, when the elder council of the Brotherhood of Steel decided to send a contingent of soldiers to the East Coast, to recover any and all advanced technology from Washington, D.C. When the contingent under Star Paladin Owyn Lyons reached the Pentagon, they discovered it largely destroyed. However, upon closer inspection, they discovered its sub-levels mostly intact, with enough pre-War technology and weaponry to keep Brotherhood forces going. They also secured the mighty Liberty Prime, a technological marvel that, if finished, could help the Brotherhood rebuild strength and reputation that had been declining steadily for years.

The discovery earned Lyons a battlefield promotion to elder, and a new directive from his superiors: to establish a new, permanent Brotherhood base in the Capital Wasteland and continue the search for any other advanced technology hidden in the capital's ruins. The Citadel's construction was masterminded by Scribe Bowditch. The new gate, leading directly into the Bailey, was built into the destroyed corner between the Mall Entrance and River Entrance façades, with a crane-operated solid metal gate barring entrance.[2]

After a few months of work, the husk that was Pentagon finally became the Citadel. The Brotherhood reoccupied the laboratory underneath the courtyard and the two inner rings, A and B. The remaining three are left empty, except as transit between the inhabited sections and the sentry posts mounted on the top rim of the E ring. The courtyard was adapted as training grounds, called the Bailey. Over the next decades, the former heart of the American military would bear witness to a number of events significant to the Capital Wasteland. By 2287, a full decade after the events of the Brotherhood-Enclave War, the Citadel continues to serve as the headquarters of the eastern chapter of the Brotherhood.[3] At some point, the Citadel was the site of a noteworthy occurrence, prompting some members to state "Remember the Citadel!"[4]



The Citadel is a large fortress with walls of stone and steel. It retains the shape which gave it its name, the "Pentagon." It only has a single entrance, a large metal gate usually guarded by multiple paladins, and one sentry bot. (After the water purifier is completed and operational, these guards no longer appear.) A small corridor leads from the main gate to a door which provides access to the inner bailey.

The inside is inaccessible until the quest The Waters of Life is completed. Entry is scripted as part of the completion of this quest. Before then, the gate guard Paladin Bael will gruffly deny entry.


Citadel courtyard.jpg
Main article: Citadel bailey

The fairly large bailey serves as a training and sparring area. Under the command of Paladin Gunny, new recruits practice various skills from unarmed combat to firearm usage. To this end, the bailey contains shooting ranges and other installations for combat practice. A large hatch in the middle of the courtyard connects to the laboratory, although it cannot be used as an entrance by the player character. The laboratory and A ring, sections of the buildings which surround the yard, can be accessed through doors opposite and next to the main entrance. There are several beds here for the player character and initiates to use.

Citadel – A Ring

Main article: Citadel A ring

The A Ring is a small sector within the Citadel, which can be accessed directly from the bailey. The entrance is on the right upon entering the Citadel.

The A Ring contains the Lyons' Den, the Great Hall, the Library, and entrances to B Ring as well as the Citadel laboratory. The Lyons' Den is the quarters of Lyons' Pride while the Great Hall serves as a briefing room for high-ranking members and the Pride. This is where the Pride gathers and waits for new action orders.

In the library, the Lone Wanderer can find the Vault-Tec terminal they need to consult as part of Picking Up the Trail. Another terminal reveals some background information on the Maxson family and various pieces of information about the history of the Brotherhood. Another terminal contains information on a UFO that crashed shortly before the war and a plan to send mutant rodents to weaken China.

Citadel – B Ring

Main article: Citadel B ring

The B Ring is another section within the Citadel which can only be reached from the A Ring via two doors in the back. It consists mostly of sleeping quarters for all Brotherhood of Steel members as well as a medical bay and the private quarters of Owyn Lyons and Arthur Maxson. Lyons' unique laser pistol is in his safe in his private quarters.

Squire Maxson's room contains a hackable terminal in which, among various children's stories and other personal entries, one can find a reference to a Guns and Bullets magazine under the bed in the Lyons' Den (A Ring).

The medical bay is home to Sawbones, a unique Mister Gutsy robot who is the doctor of the Citadel, which Knight Artemis finds "creepy."

Citadel – Laboratory

Main article: Citadel laboratory

The laboratory is the third sector of the Citadel, connected to both the bailey and the A Ring. It spans two levels and consists of the main working area, the armory, and sleeping quarters for the scribes. Various terminals with technical background information on weaponry are scattered all over the place.

The lab is naturally the working place for most of the scribes, save those of the Order of the Quill. While they are conducting research on various fields such as threat assessment, weaponry, and defensive technologies, their main focus is the work on Liberty Prime, a gargantuan pre-War robot which was the main reason the Citadel base was established.

Scribe Rothchild, who is part of various main quests, is usually to be found in the area just in front of the robot, on the bottom level. In the vicinity of the robot dock, there's also a terminal with progress information on the work on Liberty Prime which allows one to run a soundcheck.

On the wall at the bottom level, there is a digital map display from which the Lone Wanderer can extrapolate the location of the Vault-Tec vaults in the Capital Wasteland if they have not already found them. After Scribe Rothchild has used it to show the location of Vault 87, the map markers will automatically be added to the Lone Wanderer's Pip-Boy 3000.

There is a graphical error in the location of Vault 108 between the Pip-boy 3000 and the vault map on the wall. The wall map shows it north of Canterbury Commons and the Pip-Boy shows it south of Canterbury Commons.

The armory is located in an extra room on the bottom level and is run by Knight Captain Durga. She will trade with the Lone Wanderer if they have Elder Lyons' permission, which is easily obtained.

Inside the laboratory on the same floor entered from, there is a room to the east. The possible companion Star Paladin Cross is located in that room, along with a set of power armor in poor condition.

Citadel armory

Citadel armory.jpg

If the Lone Wanderer chooses to destroy the Citadel in Who Dares Wins, they will find a door leading to the armory within the crater and one on the far side of the circular path around the crater. This section is not to be confused with the regular armory located in the laboratory.

Within this armory, there is a terminal describing several "incident reports" and a wall safe (unlockable through the terminal) containing Callahan's Magnum.


¹After the quest Death From Above

Notable loot

  • The three personal logs of Owyn Lyons: One in the Citadel lab, the other two in his room.
  • A Duck and Cover! book in a crate in one of the stalls in the bathroom of the Citadel lab.
  • A Guns and Bullets book under the rightmost bed in A ring's "The Den" area.
  • Smuggler's End, Elder Lyons's unique laser pistol, can be found in his safe in B ring's "The Solar" area. A Lockpick skill of 100 is required to open the safe. Occasionally, it may be taken from the safe by non-player characters, in which case it must be either pickpocketed normally or reverse pickpocketed.
  • Two Tesla cannons in the Citadel lab as well as in the armory. Broken Steel
  • Callahan's Magnum in a safe in the Citadel armory. Broken Steel
  • Three mini nukes in the Citadel armory. Broken Steel
  • 72 alien power cells in the Citadel armory. Broken Steel
  • Hundreds of bottles of Aqua Pura in the courtyard and many other areas. Broken Steel
  • Elder Lyon's robe - Worn by Elder Lyons and can only be obtained through reverse pickpocketing.

Related quests


  • With the Broken Steel add-on, the Citadel can be targeted by the orbital missile platform controlled by the terminal in the Adams Air Force Base at the end of the quest Who Dares Wins. This destroys the Citadel, revealing some helpful supplies beneath the ruins.
  • With the Broken Steel add-on, a super mutant overlord will spawn by the south side of the Citadel, accompanied by other assorted mutants. Two Brotherhood paladins will also spawn with them in the sniper nests.
  • After getting special permission from Elder Lyons, the Lone Wanderer can receive Power Armor Training by talking to Paladin Gunny.
  • If one enters the labs directly (missing out the A Ring) from the far side of the bailey, the door one enters through leads straight down into the lab. However, as found out during the final mission, Liberty Prime is raised through the very center of the courtyard, implying the lab is directly below it. The door from the bailey is a double door while the door in the lab is a single door, an obvious design error.
  • The Brotherhood will not be hostile toward Fawkes, despite their mission to destroy super mutants. They will attack him, however, if the player character fires him in their vicinity.
  • In the courtyard's ring area, where two initiates may be fighting, one can stand in the middle of them and be hit by their punches with no ill effects, as the punches are scripted to deal 0 damage.
  • Initiates on line in the courtyard do push-ups at seemingly random intervals of their own volition.
  • If the Citadel is viewed from the outside, there is a tall construction crane visible; however, with the exception of the mission Take it Back!, there is no construction crane if viewed from the bailey.
  • After completing Who Dares Wins, only one of the initiates in the ring area will be visible. The other one will be walking towards it holding a grenade.
  • Other than Lyons' Pride, any inhabitant of the Citadel in power armor will dress down to basic wasteland outfits to sleep; their power armor will not, however, be in their inventories available to take and nor will their basic clothing when they are in full armor.
  • In Fallout 4, Paladin Danse will often shout "For the Citadel!" and "Remember the Citadel!" during combat. This, combined with a Prydwen terminal entry regarding the loss of Elder Sarah Lyons in combat, suggests a tragic event after Fallout 3. Another terminal entry, mentioning returning a fallen brother, makes it clear that the Citadel still functions as the HQ for the eastern Brotherhood of Steel.


The Citadel appears only in Fallout 3 and is mentioned in Fallout 4 and in Fallout 76, introduced in the Wastelanders update.[5]

Behind the scenes

  • The Citadel is built in the ruins of the Pentagon, a real world location.


  • Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 There are at least two Brotherhood of Steel initiates using the firing range, and one is firing a laser rifle. Nobody will become hostile if one shoots the laser rifle out of his hands, and he will start throwing frag grenades at the target. Many of his throws will either be off-target or ricochet in various directions, causing numerous casualties among the nearby Brotherhood of Steel. When attempting this by using V.A.T.S., it is possible that if targeting the "weapon" too many times, the initiate will take out a grenade almost instantaneously after the rifle is shot. If this happens, one may accidentally shoot the grenade and kill the initiate and anybody close. [verified]
  • Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 The radio in the bailey will continue to play GNR as if Three Dog is still alive after one has killed him. [verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 It is possible to gain access to the Citadel as early as level 2 through a nearby hole north of the Citadel, atop a pile of rubble. One can then speak to Paladin Gunny and receive Power Armor Training. [verified]
    • Xbox 360Xbox 360 Utilizing this same method to access the Citadel, and then reading the Vault-Tec Terminal's entry on Vault 87 will prematurely trigger Picking Up the Trail, bypassing most of the questline and allowing one to potentially finish the main quest without even entering Vault 112, as well as canceling out most of the Enclave's invasion of the Capital Wasteland (Enclave encampments do not appear unless The Waters of Life is finished, though troops still appear at Vault 87, Raven Rock, etc.). Characters will also speak as though James was dead, even if the relevant stage of The Waters of Life has not been reached, and Madison Li and her colleagues will speak as though they were already at the Citadel, even if they have not departed from Rivet City. Also, the option to fast-travel to the Jefferson Memorial will still be available, as this also only becomes disabled by completing The Waters of Life.
However, the above glitch will have to be utilized again to complete The American Dream, as the Citadel's entrance will still be sealed shut, though it will open for Lyons' Pride during Take it Back!. This may also lead to complications with The Waters of Life and Trouble on the Homefront depending on when the glitch is executed.
  • Playstation 3Playstation 3 It is possible for Angela Staley to spawn outside the Citadel upon fast traveling. She is capable of all her dialogue options as if she was in Rivet City. She immediately begins walking back to Rivet City, but can be spoken to. [verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3 At the firing range, the Brotherhood of Steel initiate using a laser rifle will shoot through the wall every time he shoots. [verified]
  • Playstation 3Playstation 3 If, when the Citadel gate first opens, the player character walks against the door until they can get through, then open the door before the gate finishes opening, One cannot gain bad karma and can take anything without anybody considering it stealing, nor will anyone turn hostile. This glitch never goes away and the game and story can continue as normal. [verified]



  1. Scribe Jameson's report to Elder Lyons
  2. The Lone Wanderer: "Which Order do you serve, Squire Bowditch?"
    Bowditch: "I am Proctor of the Order of the Shield. I oversee the others in my Order, and make sure our defenses are up to snuff. Do you know how long it took to fortify these ruins? From the husk of the Pentagon I carved a grand Citadel! No easy task, my friend! Ah, but that was yesterday, when all we had to worry about was those damn Super Mutants. The Enclave, now... That's a different problem altogether..."
    (Bowditch's dialogue)
  3. The Sole Survivor: "Why establish an outpost at the police station?"
    Danse: "Given the nature of the facility, we felt it would be tactically advantageous to search it for weapons and ammunition. The radio tower on the roof was an unexpected boon, but it obviously has its shortcomings that need to be rectified. It might not be as imposing as the Citadel back in the Capital Wasteland, but it suits our purposes. That's all I'm willing to divulge at this point. Are you ready to proceed with the mission?"
    (Danse's dialogue)
  4. Danse: "Remember the Citadel!"
    (Danse's dialogue)
  5. The Vault Dweller: "Our Overseer was supposed to secure Appalachia's nuclear missile silos."
    Oliver Fields: "That sounds in line with Vault-Tec's M.O.! I'm sure they didn't bother checking if that was okay with the Pentagon."
    (Oliver Fields' dialogue)
  6. Cut content DLC02testText terminal entries; Chinese terminal, Decrypted/Transcribed Volume 99x17x320
The Citadel