Greater North American Wasteland
FO - History
Stolen from Fallout Wikia
The Fallout world exists in an alternate timeline that diverged from the real world timeline after World War II. From this split until the Great War in 2077, a stylized representation of 1950s American culture (with more advanced technology) dominated the Fallout world. The science fiction anthology Worlds of Tomorrow, released during the Golden Age of Science Fiction in the 1950s, heavily influenced this representation.
Although the Fallout universe and the real world share a common timeline until about 1945, the defining moment of the Fallout universe was the Great War of 2077. On October 23, 2077, the United States, China, and other nuclear-armed countries commenced a brief but rapid exchange of nuclear strikes. Although the conflict lasted only two hours, the destruction it brought was staggering and complete: more energy was released in the early moments of the war than in all previous global conflicts combined.
The world that remained was harsh and unforgiving. 90 years after the Great War, humanity survived but struggled to do so. Above ground, small bands fought over the crumbling remains of once great cities while mutants prowled the irradiated wastes. Underground, a fortunate few enjoyed the relative safety and comfort of the Vaults. Some fought to keep the world out, others to connect with and re-populate it. Wherever humanity survived it was under constant threat by psychotic mutants, rogue machines, vicious raiders, and all manner of hostile mutant creatures.
Before the Great War
For most of human history, the Fallout universe and the real world shared a common timeline. However, in 1945, significant political and technological differences in the Fallout timeline set it on a different course. In 1947, the transistor was not discovered and miniaturization of electronics was neglected. Sometime before 1969, in an attempt to mitigate the influence of Communism, the United States adopts a system of 13 Commonwealths. In 1970, China fails to adopt any free market reforms and remains similar to what it was under Mao. In 1991 the USSR did not collapse.
No major international conflicts would take place until the middle of the twenty-first century. In 2052, the oil rich Middle East nations raised oil prices causing the economic collapse of many smaller nations. The European Commonwealth (analogous to the real world European Union), similarly dependent on oil imports from the Middle East, begins the Resource Wars by responding with military force. The United Nations, weakened by its inability to prevent the conflict, attempts to intervene. Many of its member nations respond by withdrawing and the UN disbands that year.
The United States, being supplied by oil from Texas and Mexico, escaped any direct impact from the European conflicts. They were, however, to have their own problems. In 2052, the Texas oil fields were exhausted, making the Americans vulnerable to their own energy shortages. In 2053, the New Plague begins to ravage the US population, causing two-hundred thousand deaths and prompting the closure of her borders. Nuclear fears grip the country when, in the same year, Tel Aviv is destroyed by a terrorist nuclear weapon and, in the following year, warring nations exchanged nuclear weapons in the Middle East. In response, the Americans begin Project Safehouse: a series of underground Vaults designed to survive nuclear war or biological plague.
In 2059, oil resources become increasingly scarce. In order to secure the Alaskan oil fields, the United States ramps up its military presence in that state creating the Anchorage Front Line. Relations with Canada are strained as the Americans press to have their military units guard on Canadian soil to protect the Alaskan pipeline.
In 2060, the Middle East oil fields run dry. This not only ends the Resource Wars in Europe, but the European Commonwealth as well. Without a common enemy, the European nations begin fighting among each other for the remaining resources. Fossil fuels become too expensive to use in automobiles and alternatives begin to appear in the market. Advances in nuclear technology allow its use in automobile engines.
In 2066, the Resource Wars shift to the other side of the globe. China, her oil reserves exhausted and her economy near collapse, invades Alaska. America strongarms Canada into allowing troops and planes to move across Canadian territory on their way to the Alaskan theater. Relations between the neighboring countries would continue to worsen as the Americans help themselves to Canadian resources, ignoring Canadian protests. Many Americans begin referring to Canada as “Little America.” Their comments do not help the situation.
In 2072, the Chinese-American war grinds on. While American power armor proves effective in localized conflicts, they are insufficient to completely dislodge the Chinese. US continues to demand more resources from Canada. When an attempt is made to sabotage the oil pipeline, the Americans (officially) begin to annex Canada. In 2076, the annexation is complete. Also that year Americans deploy the T-51b power armor to the Chinese mainland. The suits are highly effective and American troops cut a swath through Chinese territory.
In early 2077, the Americans reclaim Alaska but no armistice is signed. Those in positions to foresee the nuclear conflagration make final preparations: Robert House puts himself in stasis. The President and the Enclave retreat to the Poseidon oil rig. The American public, having been exposed to too many false alarms, largely ignore the warning sirens when the bombs begin to fall. Many Vaults are underpopulated as their doors are shut.
The post-War world
The collapse of global civilization made it impossible to ascertain the full extent of the damage wrought by the nuclear bombs. As viewed from orbit, there were clear signs of a global catastrophe: parts of Western Europe and the USSR received nuclear blasts. Asia and the Middle East were encased under the ice from the subsequent nuclear winter. Antarctica’s ice sheet was blackened and much of the world’s oceans were tinted green by radiation.
The Great War’s enduring legacy was the radiation that spread in its wake. Many of the plants and animals that survived the nuclear fire were killed by the irradiated rain that fell a week later. Of those that survived, many were mutated by 2080.
The American mainland was reduced to wasteland. Most major American cities, with a few exceptions such as Pittsburgh and Las Vegas, were razed by the bombs. Even the surviving cities were reduced to hellish ruin as society rapidly disintegrated.
Although the Vaults were never intended to preserve the entire American population, enough people and technology survived to jumpstart civilization when they opened. The Core Region benefited the most from these early openings. Vault 12 established Necropolis in the Central California area. Eight years later, Vault 8 established Vault City in Western Nevada. The following year, the LA Vault established the Boneyard in Southern California.
The Mojave Wasteland was another incubator of civilization. It had received fewer bombs than any other area due to the foresight of Robert House. Its infrastructure was so far advanced that by 2281 it was within a century of being able to launch a colonization spaceship.
In the east, the Capital Wasteland was also left surprisingly intact. Although unable to compete with New Vegas in the Mojave Wasteland, it was able to support a radio station and a water purification plant.
As these regions rose from the ashes, so, too, did new groups. The New California Republic was established in 2186 and would control the Core Region a century later. The Brotherhood of Steel was founded days after the Great War and would become a technological powerhouse by 2150. The Enclave – descendants of the United States government and military-industrial complex – made its presence felt in the Core Region in 2237 and then in the Capital Wasteland in 2277. And a slaver Roman-based faction formed in 2247 arose, forged from the conquest of 87 tribes, and would control most if not all of Arizona and New Mexico, along with some holdings in eastern Utah and parts of southern Colorado.
The distinctive creatures in the Fallout world arose after the Great War and were the result of exposure to radiation or the Forced Evolutionary Virus.
Radiation led to the spontaneous rise of many new species three years after the bombs fell. The new species were larger, hardier and more dangerous than the animals and insects they mutated from. Radscorpions, Giant ants, and brahmin descended from scorpions, household ants and cows, respectively.
Heavy exposure of radiation mutated some humans, who possessed a particular genetic trait, into ghouls. Although their decaying skin gave them a frightening, almost inhuman appearance, they generally retained their mental faculties: their ability to reason and communicate were left intact. Ironically, despite their physical decay they had heightened senses and longer lifespans.
Varying degrees of exposure gave rise to diversity within the ghoul community. Ghouls exposed to prolonged radiation poisoning lost their intelligence and mutated into feral ghouls. Longer periods of radiation exposure resulted in further degeneration into Glowing ones: ghouls with heightened physical capabilities and who, literally, glow in the dark.
The remainder of mutations were caused by the Forced Evolutionary Virus (FEV). Its origins lie in the years preceding the Sino-American War. In an effort to defend against a Chinese biological attack, defense contractor West Tek initiated the Pan-Immunity Virion Project. The goal was simply to make the human immune system strong enough to resist any pathogen, natural or engineered. Some of the side effects, discovered during testing, were increased size and strength. The US Army seized the project in an effort to create a super soldier. They moved the project to the Mariposa Military Base. They also sent a large sample to Vault 87 on the East Coast as part of the Vault Experiment.
Following the Great War, Mariposa was abandoned – the surviving leadership having left to form the Brotherhood of Steel. After laying dormant for 30 years, the base was rediscovered by Richard Moreau, an exile from Vault 8. After realizing that the FEV could be used to create Super Mutants, he attempted to raise an army but was defeated by the Vault Dweller.
Despite the destruction of Mariposa base, a sample of its FEV was claimed by the Enclave. Using slave labor kidnapped nearby Redding, the Enclave excavated Mariposa. Those slaves inadvertently exposed to the FEV mutated into a new batch of Super Mutants.
On the East Coast, the FEV sent to Vault 87 was used to create that area’s own variety of super mutants. Shelton Delacroix, a Vault 87 security officer was forcibly exposed to and mutated by it. While the mutation process took away much of his intelligence, he was, astoundingly, able to reclaim much of it by studying the Vault’s database. The FEV also made it into the hands Weston Lesko who inadvertently, but tragically, used it to mutate Giant Ants into fire ants.