在大部分的人类历史里，辐射宇宙和现实世界有着共同的时间轴。辐射的音乐来源于20世纪40年代和50年代以及之后的几十年。 但是，在1945年，《辐射》时间表中重大的政治和技术差异将其推向了不同的方向。1947年，晶体管的发明使情况变得混乱，忽略了电子器件的小型化。1969年之前的一段时间，为了减轻共产主义的影响，美国采用了13个联邦的制度。 1970年，中国未能进行任何自由市场改革，最终保留了与1949年共产党主席毛泽东领导下的政治和经济结构类似的政治和经济结构。 1991年，苏联未瓦解。
全球文明的崩溃使得无法确定核弹所造成的破坏的程度。 从轨道上看，有明显的全球灾难的迹象，世界上大部分的海洋被辐射染成了绿色。 大战的持久遗产是其后散布的辐射。许多在核灾难中幸存下来的动植物都被一周后落下的放射线雨杀死了。在2080年那些幸存下来的物种中，许多发生了突变。
New California benefited the most from these early openings. In 2083, Vault 12 established Necropolis in Bakersfield. Eight years later, Vault 8 established Vault City in Western Nevada, and the following year, the LA Vault established the Boneyard in Los Angeles. Fifty years later, in 2142, former residents of Vault 15 established Shady Sands northwest of Necropolis.
The Mojave Wasteland was another incubator of civilization. This was due in no small part to Robert House's preparations; his secret missile defense systems ensured that Las Vegas and the surrounding desert were hit by fewer bombs than anywhere else in the region, and as time passed, the city was rebuilt through the combined efforts of House, the local tribals, and residents of Vault 21. Its infrastructure was so far advanced that, by 2281, it was—according to House—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 the more advanced societies of the West, it was nonetheless able to support a local radio station, caravan routes and a large-scale water purification plant.
Similarly, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Boston were left relatively unharmed, being struck by only a single, high-yield nuclear weapon in an area that came to be known as the Glowing Sea. Like the Capital Wasteland, it too supported caravan infrastructure, regional radio broadcasts, and other such amenities.
Appalachia was left largely unaffected by the bombs, aside from mutations and radiation, most areas look very similar to their pre-war counterparts.
As these regions rose from the ashes, so too did new societies. The New California Republic was established in 2186 and would control all of New California 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 New California in 2237 and then in the Capital Wasteland in 2277. The Rome-obsessed slavers of Caesar's Legion arose in 2247, 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.
While very little is known of the world beyond the former United States, things seem to be significantly worse in Great Britain and Ireland than in North America, as inhabitants of the Isles often emigrate to the American wastelands in search of fortune, opportunity, and a better life.
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 from which they mutated. 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 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 U.S. 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 from 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.
The first part of The West is known as the "Core Region," mostly made up of New California. More specifically, New California stretches from Baja 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 New California 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 northeast of their former home.
As of 2281, most of New California is part of the NCR.
The Mojave Desert is now known as the Mojave Wasteland. The Mojave Wasteland is the second largest desert in North America, and serves as the primary setting of Fallout: New Vegas.
The Mojave occupies a significant portion of southern California, Nevada, and parts of Utah and Arizona.
Before the Great War, Las Vegas was the largest oasis of civilization in the Mojave, and New Vegas seems to maintain that reputation. Seventy-seven atomic warheads were launched at the city and surrounding areas, but due to an intricate system set in place by Mr. House, 59 were force disarmed, nine were blasted out of the sky by a laser-guided missile defense system atop the Lucky 38, and only nine hit the surrounding desert, resulting in the local climate and wildlife being much less radioactive, if not radiation-free, than in other places in the post-atomic United States. Most denizens attribute the region's survival to the Chinese betting against the House—but the House always wins.
The NCR is the most powerful faction in the area, with New Vegas being on the edge of the Republic's southern borders. Other significant powers are Caesar's Legion, the Great Khans, who-before the NCR came-had a strong grip on the region and two surviving pockets of Mariposa super mutants, one in a ski lodge near Mount Charleston, the other being the self declared State of Utobitha at Black Mountain, and the Three Families that run casinos in New Vegas. The Brotherhood of Steel also have a small secret base in the area.
While, strictly speaking, the "East Coast" describes the entire Eastern Seaboard of the continental United States, within the Fallout universe, it chiefly refers to the northeastern U.S. Its major locations were the Capital Wasteland along the coast, The Pitt, the Commonwealth and the Island.
The Capital Wasteland encompassed the ruins of Washington, D.C. and the surrounding wilderness. The city's downtown, though surrounded by rubble and accessible only through its Metro system, was a hub of activity. The Galaxy News Radio building was operational, its signal amplified by dish atop the Washington Monument. A contingent of slavers operates out of the Lincoln Memorial. Brotherhood of Steel paladins, super mutants and Talon Company mercenaries fought to control The Mall. The Museum of History housed a ghoul colony.
The wilderness surrounding Washington, D.C. was home to various vaults and settlements. Rivet City was the most successful settlement and was instrumental in delivering Aqua Pura to the area when Project Purity was completed. Vault 87 produced the region's super mutant population. Vault 101 was the home of the Lone Wanderer.
To the immediate south of the Capital Wasteland was the former coastal resort of Point Lookout. To the Wasteland's immediate west was Adams Air Force Base where the Enclave sought to rebase itself after the destruction of their original East Coast base, Raven Rock, by the Lone Wanderer.
The Pitt was the steelyard and surrounding area in the ruins of Pittsburgh. It was infested by wildmen and trogs until a Brotherhood of Steel detachment led by Paladin Owyn Lyons cleared the area on their way to the Capital Wasteland. They left behind Ishmael Ashur, one of their own, who transformed The Pitt into a slave colony. Just outside were the settlements of Ronto and Monroeville.
The Commonwealth consists of the city of Boston and its surrounding towns, which weren't hit as hard as many of the other cities in the United States, leaving most of the land relatively intact. Several settlements have popped up around the Commonwealth, offering safe haven to the people of the wasteland. Diamond City, established in a baseball stadium in the center of the city and Goodneighbor, established in the Old State House, are the two most prominent settlements in the Commonwealth.
To the immediate north of the Commonwealth is the Island, an island off the coast of Maine consisting of the town of Far Harbor. This is the only remaining bastion for the Harbormen, as the only place on the island not affected by the Fog, a radioactive fog that has made many of the other settlements on the island inhabitable. The Island is also the home of Acadia, a refuge for synths located inside a wind farm to the west of Far Harbor, and a chapter of the Children of Atom, found in the submarine base known as the Nucleus.
There are very few factions in New California 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 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 California under a single government. Though seemingly successful, they have and are currently meeting heavy resistance, such as Caesar's Legion to the east as well as various raider gangs.
In contrast, the Brotherhood of Steel is a mysterious techno-religious organization, with roots in the U.S. military. While few in number, 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.
Prior to the rise of NCR, Unity was among the largest and most well-organized factions populating California. Comprised of the Master's mutant and human followers, Unity spread across New California, establishing churches and missions in many prominent human settlements. Following the destruction of Mariposa Military Base and the Master himself by the Vault Dweller in 2162, Unity lost most of its power and collapsed in upon itself without the dynamic vision of the Master to guide it. Surviving mutants fled east, while the Children of the Cathedral ceased to exist as an organized religion.
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 seems to have left the area after the destruction of its headquarters and when the NCR cleared them out of Navarro. It seems to have moved its 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.
The most powerful faction in the Capital Wasteland was the Brotherhood of Steel. Originally an expeditionary force sent from the Lost Hills bunker in New California to reestablish contact with the Midwestern Brotherhood and to retrieve any advanced technology from the East Coast, they were later ordered to establish a permanent presence when they discovered of a large cache of technology in the ruins of the Pentagon (including the two-story high, super combat robot Liberty Prime). The expedition's leader, Owyn Lyons, altered their mission further: instead of making the protection of technology their top priority, it would be the protection of people. While it endeared them to the area residents, they bore a heavy price. Their New California superiors cut them off from all support and a number of their own members splintered off to form their own chapter. Despite the lack of support, they would be instrumental in securing the region's crown jewel, Project Purity, and crushing the Enclave remnants.
Years later, Arthur Maxson, the last descendant of the venerated Maxson family line, assumed leadership, reconciling with the Outcast chapter and introducing other reforms. The Eastern Brotherhood grew from a beleaguered splinter faction into a major military power. They became the de facto governing body of the Capital Wasteland after defeating the Enclave and organizing the distribution of clean water produced by Project Purity, forcing their political evolution into an Order-State somewhat similar to the Teutonic "Ordensstaat" of old. At some point, the Eastern Brotherhood (under Elder Maxson) also reestablished contact with and subsequently received support from Brotherhood command in Lost Hills. This newly empowered Eastern Brotherhood ruled over the Capital Wasteland as its own "country," and endeavored to project its power and influence all over the Eastern Seaboard.
Possessing more advanced technology (though lacking in leadership), the Enclave's eastern contingent proved a match for the Brotherhood. Like the Brotherhood, the Enclave in the Capital Wasteland originated from New California. Prior to their defeat in that region, Augustus Autumn's father led a detachment to Raven Rock in the Capital Wasteland to establish their presence in the area. A mainframe computer at Raven Rock, through the persona of John Henry Eden, took over Enclave operations when the California Contingent was defeated. Like its California predecessor, they attempted to kill a majority of the area's residents through a lethal toxin but were stopped by Lone Wanderer and the Brotherhood of Steel.
Rivet City was the most powerful, native faction of the area. Located inside a beached aircraft carrier, they were the region's most developed and scientifically advanced settlement. Their fame was well known throughout the region. It boasted a well-armed security force, a research lab and museum. After the Enclave was driven from the Jefferson Memorial, Rivet City security was responsible for distributing fresh water throughout the region.
In the surrounding wilderness, the settlements of Megaton, Tenpenny Tower, Canterbury Commons, the Republic of Dave, Little Lamplight and their exiles in Big Town scratched out a living. Although the Brotherhood established a modicum of security, enough to establish some trade, these settlements would still be troubled by super mutants, raiders, slavers and other wasteland creatures. Mercenary groups such as the unscrupulous (if ubiquitous) Talon Company and the smaller but more principled Reilly's Rangers carved a niche for themselves by picking up the slack in one way or another, while other organizations such as the Regulators (unrelated to the New California faction of the same name) and Littlehorn & Associates indulged in vigilante justice and more questionable arbitration, respectively.
The Pitt, a large settlement to the north of the Capital Wasteland, had its own army and established society, led by Ishmael Ashur, a former member of the Brotherhood of Steel. Ashur used slaves to help rebuild The Pitt, as it had the only known working steel mill in post-war America.
Point Lookout, a swampland south of the Capital Wasteland, was home to a unique mix of plant-worshipping tribals, inbred mutant swampfolk, and a small population of unmutated locals, in addition to outsiders come to seek their fortunes and exploit the local wildlife in equal measure.
Of the major factions in the former Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the most well-known was the Institute, a secretive organization descended from Commonwealth Institute of Technology (CIT) personnel. The Institute was known for its manufacture and employ of synthetic humanoids, or "synths" for short. Mistrustful of the Commonwealth's people, the Institute sealed itself off from the surface, using synths and other topside agents to conduct experiments, surveillance, and even sabotage amid Commonwealth settlements, quickly instilling paranoia and prejudice against synths in many Commonwealth settlers. In addition to its scientific divisions, the Institute also possessed a Synth Retention Bureau, whose primary objectives were to keep track of Institute assets in the Commonwealth as well as recover lost, escaped, and/or reprogrammed synths, demanding work for which the formidable Courser model of synth was specially developed. The Institute was one of three groups that became embroiled in a Faction War over the future of the Commonwealth.
The Institute's main opposition in the Commonwealth was the Railroad, an equally secretive faction which recognized synths as sentient beings and viewed the Institute's treatment of synths as nothing short of slavery. Based out of Old North Church following an Institute attack on their old headquarters, the Railroad conducted operations to liberate synths, give them new identities, and smuggle them out of the Commonwealth. The Railroad was organized into covert cells which operated independently of each other in order to mask their collective presence from the Institute, and frequently vetted their next move via a supercomputer named P.A.M. It also employed part-time collaborators called Tourists, who assisted the Railroad in its fight against the Institute by feeding them intelligence, among other things. Commonwealth settlers praised the Railroad for opposing the Institute, but had mixed opinions on its platform of synth liberty. The Railroad was one of three groups that became embroiled in a Faction War over the future of the Commonwealth.
The Brotherhood of Steel also established a base of operations in the Commonwealth as part of its endeavor to project its influence across the Eastern Seaboard. After one of its recon teams delivered a report detailing strange energy readings coming from the Institute, Elder Maxson headed up a fleet of Vertibirds centered around the Brotherhood flagship Prydwen, establishing a permanent Commonwealth headquarters amid the ruins of the Boston Airport in order to locate and destroy the Institute and its synths for good. Under Maxson's command, the Brotherhood clashed with the Institute and rubbed shoulders with other factions in the area while continuing its long-term goals of collecting pre-War tech and eradicating threats to mankind. The Brotherhood of Steel was one of three groups that became embroiled in a Faction War over the future of the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth Minutemen are distinct from other major Commonwealth factions in that their only goal was the protection of the people of the Commonwealth from the dangers of the Wasteland. Having styled themselves after militiamen of old and brandishing laser muskets and artillery, the Minutemen were once a powerful, coordinated fighting force endeared to Commonwealth settlers as selfless protectors of the people. In the wake of a devastating Mirelurk attack, they were forced to abandon their headquarters and took to wandering the wastes, offering protection to what settlements they could even while hemorrhaging recruits to dwindling morale. This downward trend culminated in a traitorous coup which wiped out the remaining Minutemen save for a small squad led by Preston Garvey. Garvey subsequently sought the Sole Survivor's aid in restoring the Minutemen to their former glory. The Minutemen could participate in the Faction War over the future of the Commonwealth at the behest of the Sole Survivor.
Among the multitude of settlements contending with Super mutants, packs of roving feral ghouls, Institute synths, mutated critters, and the Commonwealth's numerous Raider gangs, the most successful civilian faction was Diamond City, a fortified settlement constructed from the ruins of a wikipedia:Fenway Park Pre-War baseball stadium, hailed as the "Great, Green Jewel of the Commonwealth" thanks to the emerald hue of its protective walls. In addition to being rather well-protected, it boasted its own radio station, science lab, reconstructive surgery center, town market, and even a detective agency. The local newspaper frequently called attention to the willful ignorance of the townspeople regarding the Institute's activities, stirring up latent paranoia much to the chagrin of Mayor McDonough, whom some townspeople theorized was actually a synth.
Goodneighbor was another notable settlement in Boston. It operated similarly to the red-light district it was built around. It housed its own market, a nightclub, a hotel with an in-house chem dealer, and a unique establishment called the Memory Den where patrons could relive pleasant memories to escape from the unpleasant realities of the wastes. Goodneighbor accepted all kinds, serving as a refuge of sorts for all those who were unwelcome in Diamond City, such as displaced ghouls and criminal elements alike. Goodneighbor's mayor, Hancock, felt that life in Goodneighbor had made him complacent, however.
Two other major settlements in the area were Bunker Hill, a mercantile hub built into the ruins of the Bunker Hill Memorial site which paid off Raider gangs to ensure safe passage for its caravans, and Covenant, a strangely idyllic anti-synth community (complete with white picket fence aesthetics) that had strict screening procedures.
Other Commonwealth factions included: the Gunners, a troop of bloodthirsty mercenaries; the Atom Cats, a band of power armor-loving misfits; the crew of the USS Constitution, a contingent of landlocked robotic sailors; the Children of Atom, a fanatical religious group that worshiped radiation; and the Pillars of the Community, a seedy fraternity based out of Charles View Amphitheater.
Off the coast of Maine lay a remote island where several distinct factions contended with radioactive fog, fearsome mutated sea creatures unknown to the rest of the Commonwealth, and each other. These were the citizens of Far Harbor, a town of hardy fisherfolk; cannibalistic Trappers driven crazy by the fog; Acadia, a colony of liberated synths; and the Island's resident fog-worshiping Children of Atom.
Southwest of Boston lies Nuka-World, a pre-War amusement that houses a few exceptional Raider gangs and their host of enslaved traders, as well as other groups, such as the Hubologists, a pseudoscientific cult with a sizable entry fee. The Raiders sought to conquer and fortify the outlying theme park zones, variously populated by a ghoul magician and his feral friends, a consortium of custom-built robots controlled by a malfunctioning mainframe, a wild man named Cito and his family of ghoulrillas, and of course, plenty of vicious mutated animals.
Due to the Scorched Plague and its unstoppable spread across the region, as of 2102 all factions that were once present are dead. However, humans started repopulating the region in 2103 after the residents put an end to the scorchbeast queen, killing the plague once and for all.
The Responders are the first faction encountered in game, and are the remnants of pre-war first responders, police officers, and firefighters. After the war, they set out to help all those displaced and suffering from the effects of the bombs, and attempted to restore order and goodness to Appalachia. Led by Maria Chavez, they headquartered in Charleston, until the Raiders destroyed the Summersville Dam, flooding the city and killing many. They relocated to Morgantown Airport, and ran volunteer training to any who wanted to join the cause.
The Raiders, in comparison, are a ruthless faction of murderers, thieves, cannibals, trappers and junkies. Originating from the wealthy visitors to the Top of the World ski resort, they resorted to their baser tendencies after the bombs fell. After being refused supplies by the overwhelmed Responders, and surviving the terrible winter of 2078, they decided they would do whatever it takes to ensure their survival, no matter how evil. Led by David Thorpe, they were located all across the Savage Divide, with a main base at the Top of the World.
The Free States were a group of anarchists who seceded from the United States shortly before the war. Deemed "Communists" by the government, they were outcast and strongly opposed by almost all those outside of their cause. Senator Samuel Blackwell, an undercover supporter, was shunned once his connection to the Free States was made public. Suspicious of the Vault program, they made their own concrete bunkers throughout The Mire region, left shortly after the bombs fell, and helped resettle the towns of Berkeley Springs and Harper's Ferry.
The Appalachian chapter of the Brotherhood, this group had the most "intimate" connection to the scorched plague. Actively fighting the scorchbeasts throughout the Cranberry Bog, these power armored soldiers started out as Taggerdy's Thunder, an army ranger division doing war games in Appalachia when the bombs fell. After attempting to establish contact with any military personnel they could, connection was made with a Captain Roger Maxson, an old friend of soon-to-be Paladin Elizabeth Taggerdy, the leader of the Thunder. Maxson convinced her to join the cause, and the Appalachian chapter was formed. Headquartered at Fort Defiance, the old asylum, they ran patrols and combat missions all over the Bog, hoping to find and destroy the plague once and for all. After the failed Operation Touchdown claimed the lives of many senior officers, the brotherhood was left crippled, unable to fight back against the newly returning horde of scorched. They took a last stand at Fort Defiance, fighting bravely until there was nobody left to fight.
The Enclave are the most technologically advanced faction in the region. Led by "President" Thomas Eckhart, the Enclave inhabited The Whitespring bunker, and operated throughout the region. Eckhart was obsessed with retaliating against China, but required the automated Defcon level to be raised. In failed attempts to increase it, Enclave operatives released the liberators and super mutants, to no avail. In a last ditch effort, he unleashed the scorchbeasts, a by-product of Enclave chemical testing. It succeeded, but due to internal conflicts in the bunker, the Enclave was eliminated before they could strike back at China.