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From The Vault

Eastern part of the former United States
Western part of the former United States

The Fallout world exists in an alternate timeline that split away from the history of the real world following World War II. Up until the Great War in 2077, the Fallout world was dominated by the distinctively American culture of the 1950s, though with a far more advanced technological progression. The Fallout world's setting is heavily influenced by the science fiction anthology Worlds of Tomorrow, which was released during the Golden Age of Science Fiction in the 1950s.



The Great War is the single most important event that has shaped the Fallout world into its current form. On October 23, 2077, the United States, China, and other nuclear-armed countries bombarded each other with a rapid exchange of nuclear missiles and bombs lasting for only two hours. The destruction caused by the brief nuclear war was staggering; more energy was released in the early moments of the war than in all previous global conflicts combined.

The Fallout games take place 90 years to 2 centuries after the Great War as humanity struggles to survive and rebuild. Some groups have barely managed to survive above ground, either scavenging the scorched ruins of cities or surviving and adapting to the new irradiated environment through mass mutation. Communities that were sealed in underground Vaults during the war are now emerging to re-populate the blasted landscape. Striving to organize and sustain the human race, these tattered remnants of civilization are threatened by psychotic mutants, rogue machines, vicious raiders, and all manner of hostile mutant creatures. The first two games take place mostly in the area known as the Core Region on the West Coast of the post-apocalytpic United States, where the main threats so far have been the Master and the Enclave, while the third game takes place in the Capital Wasteland on the East Coast of the United States.


Main article: Timeline

Before the Great War

Main article: World before the War

In the Fallout universe, twenty-first century America also descended into an era of political paranoia and mania similar to the 1950s. The United States government became more and more militant and aggressive against its real and imagined enemies. As the world's fossil fuel supplies started to dry up and conversions of the existing fossil-fuel infrastructure to the recently-invented nuclear fusion power lagged, people in the United States and across the globe became desperate.

The United Nations disbanded as an organization in 2052 as the planet's natural resources dried up, causing many smaller nations to go financially bankrupt and fail. The European Commonwealth and the oil-producing states of the Middle East were cast into a long, drawn-out war over the few remaining productive oil fields.

In late 2053, the United States closed its borders when a new super plague was discovered to be running rampant through its population, and a terrorist nuclear weapon destroyed the city of Tel Aviv in Israel. In early 2054, the U.S. responded to the increasing likelihood of a nuclear war by creating Project Safehouse. This project, financed by the sale of nearly worthless Treasury bonds from an increasingly broke American government (inflation had become rampant as the economy worsened), was responsible for creating large underground survival shelters designed to withstand nuclear fallout or a viral pandemic, commonly known as Vaults.

Great War

In 2060, the Middle Eastern oil fields finally ran dry, ending the European war. The European Commonwealth soon dissolved back into quarreling, bickering nation-states bent on controlling the last remaining fossil-fuel resources on Earth.

In the winter of 2066, China attacked Alaska over what were most likely the last drops of oil in the world. The U.S. responded with force, but it would be ten years before the conflict would end. In a desperate maneuver, both superpowers invaded neighboring countries in an effort to bolster their dwindling resources. The United States' annexation of Canada was concluded by 2076. Canadian timber and petroleum provided raw material for American military needs, and Alaska was reclaimed from the Chinese in January 2077.

In the early morning hours of Saturday, October 23, 2077, the sky over the United States was filled with nuclear missiles and Chinese bombers carrying hundreds of nuclear bombs. No one knows who started the Great War by firing their weapons first, but after two long hours of nuclear devastation across the planet as the European states and the Soviet Union also unleashed their nuclear weapons, no one really cared.

Because of frequent false alarms in the months before the actual nuclear assault, few Americans made it to the Vaults when the final alarm sounded, particularly on the West Coast where the bombs and missiles first hit. Most people were trapped outside by the closing Vault doors. The Enclave, the name assumed by the remnants of the United States' federal government and its close corporate allies, retreated safely to an Oil Rig once owned by Poseidon Oil on the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California.

The Post-Great War World

Part of the Earth after Great War

The Great War's outcome changed most of the planet into a radioactive wasteland. Those who did not die in the initial nuclear weapon exchanges (likely less than half the world's population) lived in darkness or radioactive misery for decades as much of the Earth's plant and animal life died off from lack of food, sunlight and the persistently high levels of radiation. Yet, living in subterranean vaults or frozen in cryogenic chambers, humanity (at least in the United States) persevered. Most people outside the Vaults were killed by the nuclear blasts or the radiation, and many of those who were lucky (or unlucky) enough to survive, mutated. The first effects of radiation were seen in the survivors around 2080. Widespread mutations occurred in animals, plants and humans alike. Those that survived the effects of the mutations were permanently changed. New species were created almost overnight. Among them were the hideous human ghouls.

Two decades after the bombs dropped, the first Vaults started to open, and their inhabitants emerged to rebuild the destroyed civilization. The Core Region, corresponding to the American West Coast and Southwest, was one of the first areas of the post-atomic world in which significant interaction between different people emerged, about eighty years after the war in the mid-twenty-second century. Though many regions of the formerly-civilized world are slowly climbing back up towards civilization, humanity has a long way to go if it is to restore a sense of normality, even in the late twenty-third century.

Technically, the Resource Wars were never declared over, but given that the United States as a nation (and presumably China too) effectively ceased to exist in the war's final hours, the people of the Earth's Wastelands now have much bigger problems and concerns.


A ghoul
Main article: Creatures

The various types of mutant creatures that inhabit the wastelands were mostly caused by exposure to nuclear radiation. This is where mantises, geckos, spore plants, radscorpions, brahmin and the various mutant rodent species come from. Also, this is how ghouls, decrepit, ragged, almost rotting, zombie-like victims of massive radiation poisoning, are made. Generally, in the Fallout universe, massive exposure to radiation causes humans to either die or transform into ghouls. Also, in this world, in accordance with the 1950s sci-fi physics, radiation makes most creatures bigger and meaner.

Marcus, a super mutant

The other source of mutations in the Fallout world is FEV: the Forced Evolutionary Virus. The super mutants, floaters, centaurs and possibly wanamingos were products of FEV infection. It was initially called the Pan-Immunity Virion Project and was created to fight a disease called the New Plague. However, abnormal side effects were observed in test subjects: the test animals began to grow dramatically and their brain activity decreased. The project was renamed FEV: Forced Evolutionary Virus and was tested by the Army on humans.

After a man known as Richard Grey discovered the base and was accidentally dipped in the FEV vats, he slowly mutated into an unrecognizable mass of living flesh. He developed psychic powers, which were enhanced by consuming living creatures and absorbing their minds to expand his own. Slowly, he started doing his own experiments with FEV, at first on animals and later turning other humans into his super mutant army. He decided that he would have to force humanity to evolve, and even continued injecting his own twisted body with more of the virus to continue his own evolution. Those who could not evolve would die. Eventually, the mutants turned out to be sterile and the Master himself was killed by the Vault Dweller.


Main article: Places

Core Region

Main article: Core Region

The basic Core Region stretches from the ruins of Los Angeles in the south to Klamath in the north. It covers most of the West Coast of the United States, including California and parts of Oregon and Nevada. It is a largely inhospitable region, which is why most people have chosen to seek refuge in the ruins of the old cities, where they have found (relative) safety in numbers. However, as resources grew more and more scarce, people and creatures came to consolidate into groups of their own kind, so locations are far more homogeneous than one might expect from a world ravaged by mutation.

The ghoul population of the Core Region Wasteland was mostly clustered around old Bakersfield (Necropolis), but were scattered after an attack by the master's army. Most of the surviving ghouls eventually found a home in Gecko or Broken Hills along with humans and super mutants, both far to the north-east of their former home.

Super mutants were plentiful in the Mariposa area from 2102 to 2162, and they sent patrols as far as to Los Angeles. After the master's defeat, however, most of them retreated to the east.

Humans are the dominant species of the wasteland, and their main cities in the Core Region are The Hub, Los Angeles Boneyard, NCR, Vault City, New Reno and San Francisco.

East Coast

Main article: East Coast

The city of Washington, DC and the surrounding area is now referred to as the Capital Wasteland. As of 2277, large numbers of Super Mutants are in a constant battle to push the remaining humans out of the Capital Wasteland and produce more of their own kind by exposing their human captives to the Forced Evolutionary Virus that first created them.

Rivet City, the central hub of civilization and the largest human settlement in the Capital Wasteland, is based in and around a beached aircraft carrier on the Potomac River. Other settlements across the region include Megaton, Tenpenny Tower, Paradise Falls, Underworld, Big Town, and Little Lamplight. The Brotherhood of Steel reside in the Citadel, the remains of the Pentagon.The Enclave first reside in Raven Rock, however during the events of Broken Steel they are moved to the Adams Air Force Base. The D.C. Metro system, while partially destroyed, still provides an alternative travel route and makeshift residence. The Jefferson Memorial houses the Project Purity Water Purifier.

Other significant regions of the East Coast include the Commonwealth, Pittsburgh PA (The Pitt), Ronto, Point Lookout Maryland and the area surrounding the ruins of Adams Air Force Base.


Main article: Factions

Core Region factions

There are very few factions in the Core Region that aren't limited to one or two towns. After the defeat of the Master's super mutant army which was a major military force in the 2161, the New California Republic became the most influential organization that unites several major towns, including Shady Sands (its capital, now known mostly simply as NCR), the Hub, Junktown, Maxson and Dayglow. The NCR is actively trying to unite the entire California under a single government.

In contrast, the Brotherhood of Steel is a mysterious techno-religious organization, with roots in the US military. While few in numbers, they make up for this with their arsenal of pre-war and post-war technology: They have laser weapons, Power Armor, surgical enhancements and combat implants. Unlike the NCR, the Brotherhood is not interested in conquests nor in saving humanity, but instead in keeping their secrecy and preserving and developing technology.

The Enclave, the descendants of the United States government that considers everyone other than themselves worthy of eradication, used to operate from an Oil Rig off the coast of California, but seem to have left the area after the destruction of their headquarters. They seem to have moved their base of operations from the west coast to the Northwestern edge of The Capital Wasteland, inside of a sprawling underground maze known as "Raven Rock".

Capital Wasteland factions

Downtown DC and the surrounding area of Capital Wasteland are overrun with an army of Super Mutants. Separate from the Master's army, they originate from a completely different source.

Three other factions in the Capital Wasteland are not native to the area - the Capital Wasteland Brotherhood of Steel, a splinter faction of the Core Region BoS led by Owyn Lyons who swore to defend the human inhabitants of the Wasteland from mutants; the Brotherhood Outcasts, who left the Capital Wasteland Brotherhood in disagreement over Lyons' change of priorities; and lastly, the remnants of the Enclave who survived the destruction of their Western headquarters.

Other known factions include Slavers at Paradise Falls, the Regulators and the Talon Company mercenaries, and the residents of Tenpenny Tower, Megaton, Rivet City, Big Town, Reilly's Rangers & Little Lamplight.


This article uses material from the "Fallout world" article on the Fallout wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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