Before the War
In the Fallout setting, twenty-first century America also descended into an era of paranoia and mania similar to the 1950s. The U.S. government became more and more militant and aggressive against real and imagined enemies. As the world’s fossil fuel supplies started to dry up and conversions to nuclear power lagged, people became desperate.
The United Nations failed in 2052 as the planet’s natural resources dried up, causing many smaller nations to go financially bankrupt and fail. Europe and 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, and a terrorist nuclear weapon destroyed Tel Aviv. In early 2054, the U.S. responded by creating Project Safehouse. This project, financed by junk bonds, was responsible for creating large underground survival shelters, commonly known as Vaults.
In 2060, the Middle Eastern oil fields ran dry, ending the European war. The European Commonwealth soon dissolved into quarreling, bickering nation states bent on controlling the last remaining 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 U.S. annexation of Canada was concluded by 2076. Canadian timber provided fuel for U.S. military needs, and Alaska was reclaimed by early 2077.
In the early morning hours of Saturday, October 23, 2077, the sky was filled with nuclear missiles. No one knows who started the war, but after two hours of nuclear devastation, no one cared.
Because of frequent false alarms, few made it to the Vaults when the final alarm sounded. Most people were trapped outside the closing Vault doors. The Enclave, the remains of the United States shadow government, retreated safely to an Oil Rig on the Pacific Ocean.
After the War
The Great War changed most of the planet into a radioactive wasteland. Those who did not die in the nuclear weapon exchanges (likely less than half the world’s population) lived in darkness or misery for decades. Living in subterranean vaults or frozen in cryogenic chambers, humanity persevered. Most people outside the Vaults were killed, 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 with animals and humans alike. Those that survive the effects of the mutations are permanently changed. New species are created almost overnight. Among them were the hideous ghouls.
Years 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 world in which significant interaction emerged, eighty years after the war. Though many regions of the formerly-civilized world are waking up, humanity has a long way to go if it is to ever stabilize._
446 years after the bombs were dropped our story begins…