Locations & Enemies
Some folks say there's still a whole world out there beyond the radiation clouds. And who knows, maybe they're right. Maybe there are other survivors we don't know about, though after years and years of hearing nothing but static on their radios, the Rangers are starting to believe the odds of that are pretty slim.
Instead, this section will focus on the little triangle of the world the Rangers know best: the Arizona Wasteland. It was never the most civilized part of the world, but that's exactly what saved it when the bombs fell on the big cities. Yes, the desolation means the folks here have to scrape by to survive, but at least they're still alive and fighting.
These are the major human settlements in the Arizona Wasteland. The desert is dotted with smaller settlements and homesteads, but these places are the most important.
Ranger Citadel is the home of the Desert Rangers. Before the war, this was a fortified military facility carved into a mountainside, one of the most secure locations in the area. Afterwards, it was occupied by a collector cult known as the Guardians of the Old Order, who were fanatically devoted to preserving technology. A fine principle, but they took it to the extreme, killing people to steal their technology and hoarding it all for themselves. Fifteen years ago, the Rangers liberated the place from the Guardians and made it their headquarters, leaving their old HQ, Ranger Center, aka the Prison, behind. None are allowed inside except Rangers, though trading occurs in the forecourt.
Agricultural Center was a satellite tracking facility before the war. After the bombs fell, the surviving technicians joined up with nearby farmers to found a forward-thinking agricultural community. It has been their mission ever since to find new ways to increase crop yields, sometimes with dangerous results - such as the invasion of giant rabbits and other critters the Rangers had to solve years ago. The Ag Center is not the sole source of food in the Wasteland, but its supply lines do cover the entire area, and they provide Ranger Citadel with a weekly shipment.
Highpool was a reservoir and water treatment plant before the war, with a nearby camp for kids. Its remote, high location allowed the children and adults there to survive not just the war itself, but also the anarchy that followed. The town itself is small, but well-fortified, and it serves a critical function in the Arizona Wasteland, with its water purification plant the most reliable and bountiful source of fresh water available.
Rail Nomads Camp
Rail Nomads Camp refers to the current stop of the various Rail Nomad clans. They travel along the railways, but have a few points where they tend to set up camp. The Rail Nomads live for their trains, whether pulled along the tracks or driven by their spiritual and political leaders, and serve important transportation functions for other communities. The Rail Nomads are grouped into many clans, but the two main ones you're likely to find are the Topekans and the Atchisons, who have never gotten along well. Despite them being insular and slow to trust outsiders with their affairs, pretty much any time a Ranger visits the Rail Nomads, you can bet on there being some feud to resolve or service to provide 'em in exchange for help or hospitality.
Prison is the former home of the Desert Rangers, abandoned when they moved to their new location, Ranger Citadel. Since then, different raider factions have moved in and out, ousting each other from power. The Red Skorpion Militia have held it for quite some time now - and may be itchin' to become more than just a nuisance for the Rangers.
Darwin Village was a small community built around a pre-apocalypse research facility. After the end, it served as labor pool for the madman Finster, who wanted to breed mutants to take over the world. Since General Vargas and his team leveled the place fifteen years ago nothing has been heard from Darwin Village, and it may have been swallowed by the desert. There are rumors of settlements to the East of the Radiation Wall, who possibly have dealings with the Red Skorpion Militia. Further investigation may be warranted.
Beyond the Radiation
Las Vegas, Needles and Quartz are to the west of the same mountain range that the Citadel is embedded in. After the fall of Base Cochise, these three towns started cooperating more tightly, setting up reliable trade routes while aiding the Rangers in beating back the remaining robot menace. However, years ago, shifting radiation clouds cut off all contact with all of them. Some say they were all wiped out, while others say they have combined into a utopic super-city. The truth is unknown.
These are some of the beasts, brutes and butt-uglies you'll run into as you patrol the wastes. A little study here could save you a headache - or a beat down - later.
Raider is a generic catch-all for the various semi-organized scum and filth that prowl the wastes. Often ill-equipped and poor in their tactical decision-making, a single raider is a threat only to the freshest of rookies. But, they are dangerous in numbers, and they will rarely negotiate or retreat.
The Wrecking Crew are a group of raiders with a fetish for junkyard armor and weapons who operate on the southern end of the known Arizona territories. They group together heavy bruisers and riflemen to make deadly raiding parties, harassing nearby communities. Though madder than they are smart, they can still be dangerous due to their sheer tenacity.
Rail Thieves are a group of specialized raiders that hound and harass the Rail Nomads, scavenging rails to use or sell for Scrap. Attempts to wipe them out have proven futile so far, as they're an agile and dangerous lot, and never stay in one place too long.
Giant Flies are not just larger than their non-mutated cousins, but have also gained the ability to spit poisonous bile over long distances, and use their mandibles for close-range attacks. Even their young larvae will aid them in combat, trying to swarm anyone who disturbs them.
Giant Rabbits may not sound too threatening, but these beasts are fast, nimble and possessing of big pointy teeth. Lone rabbits are not too dangerous, but a herd will overrun your position in no time. Avoid their warrens at all cost.
Waste Wolves are dangerous, aggressive animals. While before the war wolves were stealthy predators who tended to avoid humans, waste wolves have warped brains and see any creature as a meal, man included. Worst still, their heightened metabolism keeps them hungry all the times, so you will rarely meet a satiated waste wolf.
Mutant Toads are tough creatures. They're fairly rare, tending to live in remote places far away from humans, but they will turn aggressive very quickly when approached. Watch your weapons closely if you fight one, as they are known to grab them from people's hands with their tongues - getting the weapons back after the fight is not the most enjoyable way to spend an afternoon, either.
Honey Badgers were reportedly well known for "not caring" before the war, but with mutations increasing them in size and toughening their hides, they're some of the most dangerous animals you will encounter in the wastes. They will attack with tooth and claw and have thick hides, making them notoriously hard to bring down. Honey Badgers are fearless and aggressive, usually roaming in packs or burrowing underground.
Servants of the Mushroom Cloud
The Servants of the Mushroom Cloud were a cult of nuclear fallout worshippers from the west, who believed nuclear radiation to have holy properties and nuclear bombs to be gods. Reports say they either dispersed from Needles as the townspeople became more organized, or possibly split into multiple factions. Their current whereabouts are unknown. If you ever encounter any, take care, as they will not be shy to blow themselves up and go out in a blaze of nuclear glory if they feel you are an enemy to their beliefs.
Robots were produced by the Cochise AI in massive numbers until Base Cochise was finally destroyed by Vargas and his team. The vast majority were wiped out in the clean-up that followed, but they are hardy machines, and can lay dormant out in the desert for decades. The Rangers will likely keep encountering these lethal constructs for decades to come.
Robots come in many shapes and sizes, and many types are likely still undocumented. Some, like the Octotron, use simple blades, but others, like the tank-like Killers or the huge Slicer Dicers, possess a variety of ranged and melee attacks. A single Killer or Slicer Dicer can easily take down an inexperienced team of Rangers.