"The Order of Salem is supposed to be a secret to everyone. We are not the Brotherhood of Steel who go in with guns blazing and then leaves their calling card on the battlefield so that the innocents knows who to call when things go awry. Our keyword is subtlety. We are trained in the arts of stealth and are working from the shadows. Our job is to spot you, and shoot you down, before you even had a chance to realise that you were being watched in the first place."
The Order of Salem is a secretive organization dedicated to bring justice to the Wastelands and to eradicate evil in the form of people and creatures who prey upon the weak. The faction is very selective when it comes to placing trust in people looking to join. Members are rare to encounter, but can be located, if anywhere, in the Commonwealth, However agents and members have been found in other locations of the Wasteland as well.
According to the order's archives, the faction has been around since centuries before the Great War; tracing its heritage back to the aftermath of the Salem witch trials. The members' ancestors, who were unjustly accused of witchcraft and executed, served as inspiration for the dedicated cause of the order: to prevent injustice, cruelties and evil from befelling those who are innocent.
The first historical documents regarding the order appeared in the late 19th century, in which the Order of Salem is described as a hermetic cult of men and women dedicated to the study and practice of the occult, metaphysics, and paranormal; to ensure the safety of the world and to protect it against greater evils humanity cannot fathom. Often disregarded as a group of mentally unstable wiccans dabbling with magic, society paid little attention to them. By rumors however, the Order of Salem had high influence in society before the Great War, some rumors even indicating that politicians and presidents had been initiated as members.
When the bombs finally fell in October 2077 a few members of the order had managed to survive by gaining refuge in the Vaults. When the Vaults re-opened and the residents could once again step out onto the surface of former USA, the surviving members decided upon continuing their work to provide for a safer world completely rid off evil and injustice. This led into the reformation of the order in their ancestral hometown of Salem, now nothing but ruins.
As of 2270 the order has completely resurfaced and made a steady recovery, only to later fall into a slow decline of members. Though much of the ancient practices and knowledge of the supernatural has gone lost, it still survives in preserved books and records and is still practiced by a few knowledgeable members.
The Order of Salem's main interest is the restoration of civilization throughout the United States, or rather what's left of it. Unlike the Brotherhood of Steel who believes in that by hoarding pre-war technology for themselves they are "protecting" wastelanders from themselves, the Order of Salem believes in a collective sharing of information and knowledge among communities.Making sure that the communities in question will prosper and benefit from each other as time goes.
The faction however is very secretive, and few are those who have even heard of its existence or believes that the Order of Salem even exists at all. They have the reputation of an urban legend or a shadow organization, and with as little evidence of their members or headquarters there is, they have faded into obscurity even if both the name and the symbol are familiar and still remains in the collective subconsciousness of most wastelanders. The order claims to "operate from the shadows", discreetly pulling the strings in greater communities in order to gain information as to how they can best protect the wastelanders from all the threats the Wastelands has to offer.
The order actively pursues and assassinates what they refer to as "evil-doers" or "sinners". These are classified as men and women who preys upon and abuse the weak in order to further their own selfish lifestyle, or serving as a hindrance to the progress of mankind. While this thumb of rule could apply to any mercenary, the order will keep a watchful eye over the individual in question before making any hasty moves that could potentially upset a balance or political turmoil. As such mercenaries in general are targeted (depending on their morality).
While not a religious group, the order objectively believe in a "greater good" that resides within each and every individual, and that the trait needs constant nourishment and attention in order to bloom and spread. Lest it will eventually weaken and disappear completely from the individual, leaving the latter to eventually resort to possible acts of greed, selfishness, slavery, rape, torture, and murder. Talon Company mercs, Super Mutants, Gunners, Caesar's Legion, Fiends, Triggermen, Enclave soldiers, sometimes even Brotherhood of Steel members; many are considered as potential assassination targets.
Their keyword is subtlety; focusing on stealth-based combat. The faction's favored weapon is the sniper rifle, the knife, and the silenced revolver, though the latter is only used when engaged by threats aware of the member's presence. The order doesn't focus solemnly on assassinating dangerous targets, but also on escorting assignments; such as making sure that a caravan completes its route unharmed. They also focus on gathering information and intel, as well as scouting and surveying operations.
The Order of Salem operates throughout the entire U.S., yet the area in which they are most concentrated in are the ruins of Salem and Ipswich. Areas of interest also include the desolate Niflheim to the north. Other supposed headquarters are either unknown or classified.