Welcome to post Apocalyptia, ladies and gentlemen! Now, you have to realize, even before the bombs fell, this was a world very different from ours. A world where 1950's (ande even some 60's) technology, fashion, and way of life never really died. A world where Nuclear power is still considered the way of the future, and the music scene was never changed by the 'British invasion', and where the defining music styles are still Blues, Rockabilly, Doo-wop, and good old Rock n' roll. A world where you'd still rather be 'red then dead' and where you thank the government for fighting those damn commies. A world where a bunch of kids in leather jackets, with big hair are still considered a gang. If you are familiar with the 'steampunk', 'cyberpunk' or 'clockpunk' genres, then it wouldn't be hard to call the fallout world something like 'Nukepunk'. A World where the digital age never occurred and the word 'internet' means nothing. Instead, it is an age of advanced analogue technology, and the use of Nuclear power brought to extreme heights. The microporcessor was never developed, and the world still relies on the vacuum tube (Although through the years it has been made more effecient).
But the world you will be taking place in, is a husk of it's former self. A world that was torn by nuclear war. It is bleak, gritty, torn by strife, and full of black, 'strangelovian' humor. And everywhere you look people battle for survival and supremacy. The world you are in now was turned that way in a single explosive day. But the steps setting these change of events in motion started long before the day of cataclysm. The U.S. government became more and more aggressive against other nations. The world’s fossil fuel supplies started to dry up and conversions to nuclear power lagged, people became desperate.
The United Nations was disbanded 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 whoever did is long dead now.
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 a third of 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. Needless to say, the population plummeted even more in the chaotic and dangerous years immediatly after the nuclear exchange. The first effects of radiation were seen in the survivors around 2080. Widespread mutations occurred with animals and humans alike. Hideous ghouls, mutated humans with melted flesh and realigned organs and bones are now the largest minority, thanks to good old radiation.
You live about 200 years after this nuclear cataclysm. And you live in a world where if you look closely, the innocents of ages past is still seen all around you, in the music, fashion, language, even the technology. Some robots clunkily wander the scorched earth searching for their masters, often driven mad by hundreds of years without maintanence. People who've coppied the fashions of old may be running around looking like post apocalyptic mockeries of Greasers or Teddy Boys, while women may even be seen in full skirts and babydolls with their hair in poodle cuts. A gang brawl is likely still called a rumble, and you might just call your friends cats and daddios, and if they start gettin' angry, just tell 'em to cool it. And you'll probably be hearing what we refer to as 'jeans' called dungarees quite often. Don't be fooled however. The layer of civility and society that you and I live with every day is either very thin or worn out entirely. Highwaymen, slavers and raiders roam and wait in ambush. People caught stealing from more despotic settlements will likely only be entitled to a trial by gunfire. Settlements are mainly isolated and out of the way. Often, a distance of 50 miles might as well be an ocean apart, and small ramshackle towns rely on newly formed caravans for survival.
It's a strange, harsh world out there. Good luck.