Sunday, December 26, 2010

Fallout: the Core Region

The campaign takes places in what's called the core region of the Fallout universe. This roughly corresponds to the US state of California, the southern extremity of Oregon and a swath of western Nevada. This is where the first two games take place. Fallout 3 took the franchise on a detour to the east coast with Washington DC, Pennsylvania and Maryland. I guess opinions on this change of locale vary, I personally enjoyed it reasonably, but fact is that the core region will always be true setting for the old school Fallout fan. Obsidian must have realized this as well, since their latest venture builds on the core region by further exploring the Nevada region in Fallout: New Vegas.

My intention for this campaign was to have a huge open sandbox world where the players can decide freely where they want to travel next. That doesn't necesarily mean that it's entirely without dangers. By having the players start in the relative safety of New California Republic controlled territory, they can get a feeling for the setting while encountering some less powerful adversaries and exploring oft-frequented locations. With these sort of sandbox campaigns GM's are usually divided in two camps: either keep the players safe and railroad them out of danger, or let them truly be free to explore at their leisure, even if that means they blatantly ignore your warnings about how dangerous their preposed trek might be. As you might have guessed I'm more inclined to the latter. If the group adamantly insists of heading for the coast, despite that they know Super Mutant raiding parties roam there and they're only novice rank, that should be their prerogative, anything else just ends up taking freedom and choice away from them. I guess this goes hand in hand with the notion of player death as a real possibility. The wasteland is a dangerous place after all, and there's a good reason not everyone goes scavenging old army depots or looting ruined cities. Sometimes the way back is the only way forward.

The game takes place in the year 2245, three years after the end of Fallout 2. Some of the story has now been "formally disproven" so to say by the added timeline in Fallout: New Vegas as most of this was written before that installment came out. The map was made with the free version of hexographer, this is the version the players would get to see, without the locations of military bases, depots etc as established in the games, which the general population would be ignorant of. While I only added canon places, the map does also include former San Diego as SD, which is entirely non-canon.

The Wasteland: 2245
Most of southern California is now part of the New California Republic (NCR). Founded some 80-odd years ago in the small farming community of Shady Sands, the NCR is now the major power to be reckoned with in the Wasteland. It encompasses as larger settlements the town of Shady Sands (now often dubbed NCR Capital or simply NCR), The Hub, Junktown, Boneyard, Maxson and Dayglow. The NCR has a strong police force and standing army, including motorized cavalry divisions and the Rangers Special Forces. NCR enforces strict laws, prohibiting slavery, gambling, prostitution and drugs, though they tend to get more relaxed as one travels farther from the larger settlements. There is no official policy towards mutants, but Ghouls tend to be treated as second rate citizens. Only in the military is more equality for Ghouls and even Super Mutants to be found. The mainstay of the NCR economy is its Brahmin ranches (Brahmin are the only stock of cattle to have survived the fallout, albeit in mutated form). The powerful Stockmen's Association and the merchant groups from The Hub hold considerable sway in decision making circles, a select group of wealthy families possessing multiple Congress seats and holding the position of governor in some member states. Under the presidency of Tandi, who was elected unanimously for the last 80 years, the NCR pursued an agenda of peaceful expansion and improving living conditions for its citizens. After Tandi's death at the age of 102, the NCR is currently in the second year of president Westin's term. The NCR is aiming to expand its borders north- and eastwards, at the moment attempting to do so by peaceful talks and brokering trade agreements rather than military threat. The more important towns in the NCR are:

 - NCR: started as a small farming village by a group of settlers out of Vault 15, it is now the most populous city in the Wasteland, boasting an impressive post-war Congress building, running water, electricity and a sewerage system. It is the major agricultural center in the area, providing many of the outlying towns with food.

- The Hub: started after the war around a small oasis in the desert, The Hub is now the commercial heart of the NCR and of the entire Wasteland by extension. A city council made up of 2 representatives from the three major merchant groups (the Water Merchants, the Crimson Caravan and the Far Go Traders) run the town along with the NCR governor. From The Hub many (water) caravans and Brahmin drives set out to NCR towns, to New Vegas in the east or New Reno and Vault City in the north.

 - Junktown: a small, orderly town, Junktown's main importance lies in being a stopping point for caravans moving between NCR and The Hub.

- Boneyard: The Boneyard, or Angels' Boneyard, boasts the massive ruins of old Los Angeles. The downtown area is mostly deserted, being a roaming ground for feral ghouls and street gangs. Refugees eventually founded a thriving community in the suburb of New Adytum. The Boneyard's relative prosperity comes from the guns and ammunition factory it managed to get back in working order.

- Dayglow: north-west of The Glow, a radioactive hotspot one can see glow for miles around during the night, a small settlement of Ghouls and humans sprung up. It is the southernmost town in the NCR. Its main source of income is scavenging expeditions, mostly made up of Ghouls, that try to recover pre-war technology from the ruins rumoured to be underneath The Glow.

- Maxson: Maxson started off as a community of refugees who took shelter near the Brotherhood of Steel bunker at Lost Hills. Thanks to the safety afforded by the Brotherhood presence, Maxson eventually grew into a larger farming community, donating a share of their produce to the Brotherhood in return for their protection. The town was named Maxson in honour of Roger Maxson, the first High Elder of the Brotherhood. While Maxson is a member of the NCR, the Brotherhood is not, and their sometimes conflicting policies are a source of friction between the NCR governor of Maxson and the current Brotherhood High Elder.

- Necropolis: the former town of Bakersfield is now little more than irradiated ruins. A small community of Ghouls still lives in the underground, keeping the aging generators and water pumps alive. The ruins themselves however, are infested by ferals.

Outside of NCR territories:

- San Francisco: spared most of the ravages of war, San Francisco provides the surrounding area with fish. San Francisco has a delicate balance of power, as two larger and one minor faction control different parts of town. So far this competition has not taken a violent turn, but the air in San Fran is rife with the suspicion these groups hold for each other. The least consequential are the tanker vagrants, an amalgam of artists, scabs, ex-military personnel who mostly keep to themselves and seem to simply seek a peaceful existence without outside control or interference. A more powerful player are the Hubologists whose main seat is located in San Francisco. A zealously proselytizing religious group/sect, the Hubologists are actively researching space technology in hopes of rejoining with their extraterrestrial brethren. The last and most industrious faction are a Chinese ethnic group called the Shi, descendants of Chinese mariners aboard a nuclear submarine when the Great War broke out. Ruled by their enigmatic Emperor, the Shi control a high tech arms racket, seemingly have access to more advanced technology than any other player on the market, excluding the army and militaristic organizations such as the Brotherhood. They are perhaps the single most important faction in terms of research, making promising advances in bio-engineering, development of new weapons and combat armor, space and commercially viable flight, and are even rumoured to be on the verge of rediscovering nuclear fission. Despite this, the Shi's influence does not reach more than San Francisco itself, as the group stays very withdrawn and remains unaccessible to outsiders.

- New Reno: The town of Reno was spared of any direct nuclear attack and is still largely intact. Now it is run by warring crime families. New Reno is the center of any illegal trade or activity, controlling alcohol, drugs and weapons trafficking, and being a safe haven for prostitution and gambling as well as housing the local headquarters of the Slaver's Guild.

- Vault City: dubbed the Pearl of the Wasteland, Vault City was created by the inhabitants of Vault 8 with the use of a powerful terraforming device called the G.E.C.K. Vault City has lush gardens, pure water sources and some of the most advanced technology and highest living standards in the wastes. It has strong outer walls with mounted turret guns, while the city guard carries laser weapons. It is run by a Citizen's Council under the leadership of the First Citizen, currently Lynette. Vault City has a very restrictive law system for its citizens and those outsiders who wish (and can afford) to live inside its walls. Weapons, drugs, alcohol, prostitution are strictly forbidden. Slavery is officially outlawed, though a caste of lifelong "indentured servitors" who provide for the needs of the Citizens does exist. The Inner Courtyard, with the Vault and its highly advanced medical technology, is restricted to Citizens. Only descendants of the original Vault dwellers are eligible for citizenship, though in rare cases exceptions can be made for those who pass a citizenship test. Non residents can enter Vault City on a day pass if they have reason to be there, usually for commercial or official business. Vault City prospers thanks to their advanced technologies and wares. It is the only major producer of pre-war healing chems. Vault City is disdainful of non-pure, irradiated humans and intolerant towards Ghouls or Mutants, though they recently brokered a pragmatic pact with the Ghoul-run town of Gecko, whose still operating nuclear power plant provides much needed electricity to fuel its expansionistic drive, but their haughtily superior and xenophobic attitudes have rubbed many neighbouring communities the wrong way.

- Redding: a small mining town of a few hundred inhabitants in the northern most extremity of the Sierra Nevada, the mining corporations in Redding control several mines; the gold of which is highly desired for minting by among others, the NCR. The three major powers in the region, New Reno, Vault City and the NCR all vie for control of these precious resources.

- Broken Hills: another small mining town, Broken Hills is quite different from Redding as it is an open, harmonious community which has a significant number of Ghoul and Super Mutant inhabitants, valued greatly for exploiting the uranium mine which would prove quite deadly for any humans without specialized equipment. Uranium fetches a high price on the market, even more now energy-starved Vault City made a trade agreement with Gecko, where the nuclear power plant needs a steady supply of it to remain operational.

- Modoc: a farming town and caravan rest stop, Modoc thrives as its original inhabitants joined forces with other survivors of the war who dwelled for generations in a natural cave system nearby, over time learning how to efficiently cultivate crops in very poor soil and with minimal resources.

- Klamath: a trading post to the far north, the last semblance of civilization as it is known to the people of the wasteland. Klamath is a small community of trappers who hunt the local giant lizards for their pelts and conduct trade with the several Tribal villages located in the hills and mountains even farther north. A town of several hundred inhabitants, the dangerous trade of hunting the mutated lizards and rampant alcoholism and drug use make it a place for only the most hardy of men, but strict frontier law restrains it from falling into anarchy and debauchery.

- The Den: a veritable hive of scum and villainy high up north, it can be said to be a smaller scale version of New Reno. But where the main life blood of Reno is gambling, The Den specializes in slavery. The town is largely run by the Slaver's Guild who keep their headquarters there. The Slaver's Guild grew out of a pact made by several influential slavers, to control the market and set fixed prices. They mercilessly muscle out any non-guild slaver groups. Most of their members sport a distinctive tattoo that covers half their face. Prostitution and drugs play less important roles in The Den. For most of its alcohol and all of its drugs supplies it is dependent on New Reno, something which the leaders of the Slaver's Guild are actively trying to change.

- New Arroyo: a flourishing new settlement, said to be founded by a joint group of Tribals who had a small village there before and a group Vault dwellers from Vault 13. What brought these two so very distinct groups together is a source of speculation.

- New Vegas: to the east lies New Vegas, the stronghold of the powerful slaver group known as Caesar’s Legion. It is (still) a city devoted to gambling and all other sorts of vices. There is commerce between New Vegas and the NCR, but the route through the Mojave Desert is a perilous one. The still functional Hoover Dam is a major point of contestation and invaluable asset to whoever controls it.


  1. Hi Raskolnik,

    Do you still have the raw files for the world map you created, I would be interested in getting a copy of it to use in my own fallout campaign.


    1. Sure Damien, let me know your email and I'll send you a copy.

    2. Raskolnik not sure if my other comment got through to you, did the reply from my tablet pc, email address is as follows.