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This page is about the primary setting of Fallout 4. For the 13 pre-War U.S. commonwealths, see United States of America. For European organization of states, see European Commonwealth.
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The roof and dome of the Massachusetts State House in Boston
Part ofNew England Commonwealth, United States of America (formerly)
FactionsMassachusetts Department of Natural Resources (defunct)
The Institute (Synth Retention Bureau)
The Railroad
Brotherhood of Steel
Commonwealth Minutemen
LeadersLieutenant Governor Graham (formerly)
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Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem

— The official motto of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The Commonwealth is a geographic region largely encompassing the former state of Massachusetts in the New England Commonwealth. Among other locales, the Commonwealth includes the former state capital of Boston.

Background[edit | edit source]

The years have not been kind to the area. The collapse of the United States destroyed society and stoked the fires of conflict, which continue to blaze as late as 2277.[1] Among the violence and despair lies the Commonwealth Institute of Technology, or the Institute, for short. It is an isolated oasis of peace and scientific advancement and one of the few remaining place of note in the desolate marshlands of the Commonwealth.[2] For two centuries since the end of the war, the Institute's scientists have created technologies far beyond anything the wastelanders have ever seen... not that they are likely to witness the technology, as the Institute zealously guards its secrets.[3]

One notable development the Institute achieved is the creation of synthetic humans, colloquially called synths, who are outwardly indistinguishable from normal human beings. The refinement of their artificial intelligence (a result of a particularly secretive Commonwealth project)[4] occasionally has the unintended and undesirable effect of these androids developing a conscience and a strong independent streak. These runaways are ruthlessly apprehended by the Synth Retention Bureau,[5] which is well known for its brutality (particularly in dealing with the Commonwealth abolitionists, the Railroad)[6] and single-minded pursuit. One notable example is the hunt for A3-21: Zimmer, an Institute representative, assisted by his synth bodyguard, Armitage, crossed over 400 miles between the Commonwealth and the Capital Wasteland in 2277 to retrieve the runaway android.[7] Their tenacity has led the Railroad to suspend their operations indefinitely.[8]

That is not to say other people do not travel to and from the Commonwealth. Tobar has once included it in his trading circuit,[9] while more recently, Madison Li departed Rivet City for the Commonwealth.[10] Ishmael Ashur, the Lord of the Pitt, also states with confidence that the Commonwealth lacks the industrial capacity of his domain, though the boast needs to be taken with a quantum of skepticism, as the veracity of that statement cannot be readily ascertained.[11]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

  • The name Commonwealth is essentially a shortened version of the official name of the state of Massachusetts: Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is one of four states that use this term, the other being Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

The Commonwealth appears in Fallout 4 and is mentioned in Fallout 3, and its add-ons The Pitt, Broken Steel, and Point Lookout.


  1. Fallout 4 loading screen tips: "The Commonwealth lacks any sort of institutional justice system. Criminal wrongdoing is dealt with harshly, and usually ends when the perpetrator or victim lies dead."
  2. The Lone Wanderer: "So tell me about the Commonwealth."
    Zimmer: "The Commonwealth itself is nothing but a war-ravaged quagmire of violence and despair. Inside the sealed environment of the Institute, however... But... the Institute's affairs are none of your concern. Your undeveloped mind couldn't even begin to comprehend what we’ve accomplished."
    (Zimmer's dialogue)
  3. The Lone Wanderer: "What do you know about the Commonwealth?"
    Horace Pinkerton: "Most of it's a blasted nothing, just like here. But there's talk. Rumors, mostly. About a place called the Institute. That's where Zimmer and that android came from. God knows what else they got goin' on in there, but it puts our tech to shame, that's for damn sure."
    (Horace Pinkerton's dialogue)
  4. The Lone Wanderer: "There are rumors... about a secret Commonwealth artificial intelligence project?"
    Zimmer: "Yes well, there are reasons we don't want our technology leaking into the Wasteland. Which is why I've asked you to retrieve it. Which is what you should be doing right now! The longer you wait, the colder the trail becomes."
    (Zimmer's dialogue)
  5. The Lone Wanderer: "Missing property? What kind of property?"
    Zimmer: "Hmmm... how do I put this in a way you'll understand? All you know of robots are those buckets of bolts those Mr. Handshakers and whatnot. Well... that's not ALL a robot can be. You see, in the Commonwealth, we've made artificial persons. Synthetic humanoids! Programmed to think and feel and do whatever we need. And... occasionally they get confused and wander off."
    The Lone Wanderer: "Sounds like slavery to me. You sure they don't "wander off" on purpose?"
    Zimmer: "Nonsense! This is a machine we're talking about. Can you enslave a generator, or a water purifier? Of course not. The same principle applies. But let's get back to your mission. You are to find this missing android. I've tracked him to somewhere here in the Capital Wasteland. He must have done something drastic, like facial surgery and a mind wipe, or else I would have found him by now. It will be no easy task. He may not even realize he's an android. Don't upset him by talking with him. Just come get me immediately. I'll handle it."
    (Zimmer's dialogue)
  6. The Lone Wanderer: "I'm interested in this android from the Commonwealth."
    Tulip: "Ooh. We had to shut down the Railroad. Got too hot. You're endangering people by talking about it. Those Commonwealth hunters are deadly serious."
    (Tulip's dialogue)
  7. The Replicated Man
  8. The Lone Wanderer: "I know you're part of the Railroad. What do you know about the android?"
    Tulip: "They were looking for a tech wizard a while back. Someone who could fiddle with the android's memories. But you better stop poking around. Those Commonwealth hunters are still out there, tracking him down. We shut down the Railroad for safety."
    (Tulip's dialogue)
  9. The Lone Wanderer: "Nice boat. You must have seen a lot of places with it."
    Tobar: "You should have seen her back in her heyday! Why, we traveled up and down the coast, from the Commonwealth to the Broken Banks. Good times, but these days she's not fit to take out to the coast. Too many spouts ready to drown her, and too many critters looking for lunch. But the Point Lookout run is good enough for now. We've got a sweet deal ferrying cargo and the occasional traveler."
    (Tobar's dialogue)
  10. The Lone Wanderer: "Where's Doctor Li?"
    Bigsley: "Tch. She apparently decided to pursue "more interesting projects" up north in the Commonwealth. The real reason is that she couldn't handle us Scribes "improving" upon her work. She's the kind of woman who needs to be in charge of EVERYTHING. Good luck to her out there in the Wasteland; it's a long walk to the Commonwealth. Can't say she'll be missed."
    (Bigsley's dialogue)
  11. The Pitt