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Birth of a Wasteland II: Progeny of the Atom

  • Member
    May 9, 2016

    Darkened by a nuclear apocalypse, much of the world's history following the Great War is unknown; lost or unrecorded. In America, millions died, millions more survived and struggled on in areas the bombs hadn't touched, while mere thousands escaped the fire and radiation in Vault-Tec's underground vaults. The aftermath of the War is what really created the Wasteland we all know now. Here we'll examine some of the roots of that aftermath.


    The flora and fauna of of the world were irrevocably changed. Species that weren't wiped out by nuclear flame or radioactive rainfall were all mutated within a few years after the war. Many survive even now, and in some respects, the world went unchanged, with people hunting and gathering to provide for themselves just as they had so long ago, though now with the additional concern of radiation poisoning. While the vast majority of plants and creatures in the modern wasteland are descends of animals mutated purely by radiation, there are a few notable exceptions, such as the Deathclaws found throughout the American territory, and the Cazadores and Nightstalkers encountered in the far west. These creatures are mutated, yes, but through deliberate genetic modification. The Deathclaws are creations of the Enclave, meant for use as weapons (hence their place at the top of whatever food chain they happen to be a part of), while the Cazadores and Nightstalkers are experiments that escaped the Big Mountain test facility and began to breed in the wild. Whether due to mutation, evolution, gene manipulation or all of the above, nearly every creature and many plants that now thrive in the wasteland pose a threat to the unprepared wanderer.


    Politically, the post-War world is the shadow of the past one might expect. Many of those that survived outside the vaults gathered together to form tribes, and these vie for territory across the entire continent. In that time there have been many cases of the language degenerating, creating new barriers of communication. Dotted among the tribes and savages are stronger, more coherent factions, some of which have risen to considerable power. The most prevalent of these include:

    • The Brotherhood of Steel- One of the most distinctive factions in post-War America, the majority of the Brotherhood of Steel are descendants of high ranking soldiers and scientists who survived the War in a research facility in California. The bloodline of their founder, Roger Maxson, survives in the modern wasteland in one young boy, Arthur Maxson. The Brotherhood is an almost techno-religious organization, which hoards pre-War technology to keep it out of the wrong hands, believing that it is best for humanity. There are, however, a number of factions of the Brotherhood, each with different goals and interpretations of it's primary mission. They appear in every Fallout game.
    • The Enclave- Considering themselves the inheritors of the pre-War American legacy, the Enclave claim authority over all the territory once held by the American Commonwealths. They are also the mortal enemies of the Brotherhood of Steel, and similarly descended from high ranking personnel in the pre-War government. Their exact holdings are uncertain, but their power has been greatly reduced by their conflicts with the Brotherhood. They possess significantly more advanced technology, including Vertibird air transports, and the fuel reserves to fly them. They are responsible for the creation of Deathclaws, and frequently employ the more deadly wasteland wildlife as weapons.
    • The New California Republic (NCR)- A rapidly growing democratic nation founded by Vault survivors a little over 60 years after the War. Their early source of influence was Brahmin, which provided food for the region. Their power and influence has grown well past that, and by modern events, they encompass almost the entire North American west coast, and continue expanding east.
    • Caesar's Legion- A force that has grown even more rapidly in size and power, the Legion was formed in 2247 by a former scribe and anthropologist who is now known as Caesar. After being caught between warring wasteland tribes, Caesar used his education and knowledge of history to lead one in conquering the other. With two tribes under his control, he moved on other nearby tribes, dividing, conquering, and assimilating. At the height of it's power the Legion has conquered over 80 tribes, and controls much of the territory from former Colorado to Arizona.


    Following the war, survival has become perhaps the only culture worth adopting. Even with territory controlled by the wasteland's most powerful factions, there are myriad dangers and hazards that make day-to-day living a fight for one's life. Those who survive the best have learned how to scavenge for food and supplies, repair armor, weapons and tools, and know when to defend themselves and when to hide. Ghosts of the Old World remain to tempt wastelanders with caches of wealth and supplies, and to remind them of what once was. Many of the fission powered computers and radios left in the husks of pre-War ruins still work, blinking eerily. Communication as it once was is gone, though a few enterprising individuals have given voice to the wastes by reestablishing radio broadcasts, and starting courier services.


    The world that remains is a grim and unpredictable place. But it seems that humanity will survive, and there remains hope in that. In the history of the Wasteland, many have risen up at times of need to restore that hope to those around them and, sometimes...to take it away. These are the characters that you play in Fallout, and what you guide them to do is a different kind of lore entirely, but no matter what, you are a child of this wasted world.

    Sources: Fallout WikiGamepedia Fallout Wiki

    This is the conclusion of my Fallout "lore primer." Don't hesitate to let me know if you think there's something that needs to be included, or that could be simplified.