Welcome to the South. A rugged, beautiful region, isolated from the rest of the United States, and by extension, the entire world. The south is a unique area, with great diversity of climate, terrain, and culture. We’ll start with a history lesson on the area, but really, there isn’t much to tell.
Before the war, this area was a land of stark contrast. Urban met rural, old clashed with new, and strong regional identities were formed. Now, it remains a world of contrast. Before the war, the southern united states and her people were generally considered ‘strategically unimportant’ to project safe house, and because of this, the area contains very few of the iconic Vault-Tec fallout shelters, the vaults. It is unknown how many, if any, of these large scale shelters are located in the region. If the area was graced by Vaults, their presence is yet to be felt. After the war, like almost every other region in the entire world, the south faced intense internal strife. All out governmental collapse, huge riots, and lawlessness were widespread. The small numbers of troops in the area became little more then uniforms, given the gargantuan task of calming, and herding the survivors of nuclear cataclysm.
They failed within weeks, and the entire area became a battleground. Mother fought daughter, brother faced brother, and friend killed friend, all in attempt to survive in the new environment. Large groups of cannibals and raiders emerged victorious. Terror prevailed as these large, horrible groups came into conflict with one another, and the few other groups surviving in the wasteland. Striving for victory, these large groups lead by military strongmen where the closest thing to a full fledged government the area would ever see.
Within months the largest of the groups, by nature, would break down into internal conflict and dissolve into the sands of time. Soon, however, the cycle would repeat itself, often in a more horrible way then before. The south would never gain stability like other regions. At best, a statewide area would unify under a benevolent dictator for a few years, before breaking down into a chaos once more.
Again, and again, for countless years, the area tossed and turned in anarchy. Endlessly, power shifted, and small groups endlessly skirmished. War, war never changes. It’s consumption of life grinded forward as steady as always. Stability in the area was never attained by a strongman with a powerful group of mercenaries, or an idealist with a quick tongue, rather, it was created in war. Countless deaths, countless battles, countless feuds, all for nothing. Eventually, the continually shifting climate boiled down. The area just couldn’t take it anymore. The willing bodies that made large scale warfare and conquest were either disheartened, or dead. The area is now a tired one. All that remains are small groups, city states, and a large amount of unaffiliated wanderers. The confederate states of America, and the Organized Tribes of the new south were once the only source of large conflict in the area, but now many other organizations are growing into prominence.
Only recently have the Brotherhood of Steel appeared in the area, but they stir up an old air of conflict. It is suspected they plan to control the entire area, and they have already engaged in bloody conflict with everything standing in their way.
The way war is waged is now different. Large armies simply do not exist, and neither does large scale war weaponry. A world without tanks, trucks, artillery, or straight up manpower, is a world where war is very different. Small groups of warriors, rarely over a group of a hundred, fight endlessly in proximity skirmishes and brutal guerilla warfare. If you are never caught in a large skirmish, you'll likely see small scale life or death battles many times in your life. In truth, the entire area remains unstable, partially due to the harsh environment.
The South can be divided up into about four different large regions. In order of size, they are; the great dunes, the arid lands, the marshes, and ruins.
The vast expanses to the North and west of the south are a great hazard, and even the most competent of caravans and adventurers will struggle to survive here. It's name is very fitting, as the entire area is blanketed with an ever shifting layer of sand. Few pre-war landmarks remain, and they are rarely revealed for a long time. If one is lucky enough, they may find recently uncovered ruins that offer untouched salvage. But be careful, basing your location on a single landmark is foolish, as all but the most obvious and recognizable won't last for more then a few days. Out here, very little high quality equipment can be salvaged. Metals and plastics are extremely rare, and the standard equipment for a caravan guard will likely be rock weapons. A high quality obsidian spear or dagger is a prized weapon out here. Caravans and wanderers are a rather rare occurrence. Struggles here are likely to be fast and unforgiving. Water sources are rare, so if you find one, be sure to fill up your canteen. Out here, you'll be battling the elements and environment constantly to survive. Only the hardiest of wanderers could thrive in such an environment.
The only real organization out this far is occasional small caravans and groups of raiders. Venturing farther into the heart of the south, you'll find yourself in the arid lands. This large expanse makes up the heart of the wasteland, and has a rather large amount of inhabitants. You’re unlikely to see any live plant life in the region, except for an extremely rare patch of mutated sage or grass. While one might expect a large ocean of sand one might after braving the dunes, this area is one of solid footing. Most people follow surviving roads and highways for ease of travel, but be warned. Such areas are attractive ambush spots for raiders, slavers, and tribals. Here you'll likely still see remaining ruins, and find decent salvageable materials, and as such people in the area are generally well equipped. These lands foster struggles against other survivors and beasts, and as such, you should mentally prepare yourself to kill if necessary.
Continue all the way to the southern coastline, and you'll be faced with the Marshes. One of the few environments where one can see new growth, although it is still rather rare. Almost the entire coastline has been reduced to large swamps, bijous, and marshes. The bugs are brutal, but not as brutal as the full sized beasts of the area. This entire area is a dangerous maze of waterways and wetlands, and if you aren't careful, you'll be stuck in the filthy marshes until your death. Not many large groups are scene here, but it is not totally uncommon to run into groups of hunters, looking to kill some big game. Be careful though. The area is harsh, but that doesn't mean the assorted marauders of the wasteland will take pity on you.
Now, for the ruins of the south. Great cities, towns, warehouses, and even military bases dot the entire south, although they are rare, and extremely dangerous. While heading into these old abandoned wrecks might seem safe, it is extremely dangerous. Often, groups of raiders, scavengers, cannibals, and tribals inhabit these areas, using their superior knowledge of the area to ambush and kill. If you’re brave enough, or greedy enough, to enter one of these areas, be well prepared. Many wastelanders meet their doom cornered in a stinking sewer or alleyway, and if you want to avoid the same fate, you'd best keep aware of your surroundings. Watching from every dark corner, listening behind every door, looking through every window. The only reason one would venture into these areas without a large group is for the best quality equipment and salvage available. But there's no guarantee you'll find anything of use, and if your not very well prepared, all you'll likely find is your own death.
Map of the southern region:
Detail map of North America: