The Wastelands are those areas (typically of the South West United States) that fall outside of a Metropolitan Area. The area is known to be lawless, brutal and savage with more than a little of 'Road Warrior' themes common among the survivors.
Fresh or clean water is nearly impossible to find. 'Iffy' water can be found if you know where to look. Food is always scarse and roaming bands of bandits and slavers are common. Only someone with a vehicle (and a fast one) would dare set foot on the highways as that is prime bandit territory.
Additional problems include radiation zones, mutated life forms of various types.
- Main article: The Wastes
The wasteland has no cities.
They do have the occasional Strongholds or Trading Posts but generally those are few and far between. More commonly you will find Freeholds which are a region of territory (often based within the ruins of an Old World city) that is claimed by different, indepenent groups.
The inhabitants of the Wastelands could roughly be classified into one of three types:
Everywhere in North America that was once heavily populated human territory and no longer populated is considered wasteland. This includes approximately 75% of the landmass lower than the former USA northern border and a somewhat lower percentage of Canada. Some of these areas are simply depopulated, too far from the urban centers to have any particular support and still covered in ruins and damage, making repopulation with small communities difficult.
Other sections are inhabited by gangs, small fiefs of would-be tyrants, and supernaturals willing to hold down their own domains. No part of the wastelands can be considered safe, though attempts to found small communities are frequent. They also frequently vanish.
And in still other areas, the land is irradiated or was in some other fashion bombed into oblivion. Many of these territories, called Wastelands, Devastation Areas, Radiation Zones, even if they're uninhabited by supernaturals, are deadly to humans for environmental reasons, or simply incapable of sustaining life. The people that still survive in them - if they're not myths - are said to be mutations of their former selves.
Some parts of the wastelands still harbor eco-domes, but few remain in the hands that built them. With fertile lands turned into desert, there was no farming, no growing of crops and no future. Many of the domes capable of growing crops have been forcibly taken over by the Corporations in control of the nearest cities, maintained by Dark laborers in circumstances that at best are little better than slavery.
- New Madrid Wasteland - Not everything was nuked. Some parts of the continent were ripped apart by Mother Nature herself. The New Madrid Seismic Zone, also known as the Reelfoot Rift or the New Madrid Fault Line, is a major seismic zone covering parts of five U.S. states: Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee. During the years of the Fall, it recorded the worst quake in history - from Kentucky to Tennessee, the Mississippi river ran backwards as the ground buckled, shook and rerouted her waters. This area has two known eco-domes and 10,000 survivors in four states. Faction: Neutal - Not friendly - Extremely hostile. Historical note: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Madrid_Seismic_Zone
- Carrizo Badlands - East of what was San Diego. Water is a premium. 2,000 survivors. Some of the worst humans that survived from explosions, fires and quakes. Most were held in maximum security prisons. Carrizo City is held in check by the local 'police.' They shoot on sight.
- Border Lands - US/Mexico Border. Stationed mostly along the coast, whatever fence was there from years ago has long since washed away. Quakes along the Pacific shelf sent tsunamis into the area and swept it back out to sea. Salt marshes, dunes, travel is hazardous. Pay tolls are exacted from travelers who dare to venture south. 500 survivors between LATMA and Tijuana. Uneasy truce.
- Baker Flats - What was Bakersfield north of Los Angeles - Oil drilling. Oil fields. Polluted lands and air. Drilling still goes on in this area. It is held with an iron fist, martial law and terror. Not only are the drilling fields in use, but they hold the heads of those that dared to come in and take this area by force. Pinpoints of white, pristine skulls can be seen dotting the rigs, and rumor has it that whatever owns this area isn't completely human. Population: Unknown. Those who more than skirt the edge of this territory are never seen again.
- Shanty Towns - The will of survival and trade. These small areas are usually on the move, but some make their home in a spot. Grey and black market items can be found here, but you need to know someone that knows someone. Population - 20 to 50 - High profit, expect to pay through the nose for some of the 'finer' items these nomads carry. Usually neutral.
- San Joaquin Valley - Known for its worst pollution outside of Los Angeles in the 1990s to 2000, once the Fall landed destruction, this previously fertile valley became little more than a wasteland. Hemmed in by mountains, the pollution could never move out, the smog is so bad in this area, that masks are needed to travel. From Redding CA at the top, to Bakersfield at the bottom, most of this area is left alone.
- Corcoran Tracklands - Corcoran was served by the BNSF Railway, which is the successor to the Santa Fe Railway. The mainline track through Corcoran was part of a route connecting the San Francisco Bay Area to Bakersfield, California. The track was constructed by the San Francisco and San Joaquin Valley Railway in about 1898. - This area is now under the Law of Corcoran. If you want goods moved, you pay a hefty sum for it to be moved. Population - Inmates, number unknown. Motto - You break it, you bought it. Which usually means 'a six-foot plot of land'.