Ashes of Winter
This region underwent a major shift in the years since the End Time. Much of it is now open grasslands and rolling hills, without a tree in sight for miles. Other parts are a mixture of badlands and scrub-land, almost completely devoid of plant or animal life. A few patches of woodland remain, populated by hardwoods only, as the pines have succumbed to disease and fire. The climate is drier than it used to be, and so many major rivers are dry along various stretches during the summer. During the rainy season, floods are common.
The rainy season lasts from November through March. Most days a light rain falls from heavily overcast skies. Blustery winds bring larger storms on a regular basis, which in the coldest months results in ice and snow. The dry seasons sees little if any rainfall, despite the regular overcast skies. Temperatures soar in the summer months, with daytime temperatures easily averaging over 100 degrees from Jun through August.
The map indicates a network of roads, the remains of the great highways of the golden age. Over the decades, most of them have been cleared enough so that high speed travel is relatively safe. Few smaller roads are passable to vehicles larger than motorcycles or bicycles.
In addition, the ruins of civilization can be found almost everywhere. City streets and neighborhood drives are badly cracked and broken. Buildings large and small have suffered. Roofs have partially or completely collapsed as water rotted wood structures and rust ate away at steel structural supports. Buildings taller than ten stories are now leaning or have already collapsed. Even concrete structures like parking garages and apartment complexes have suffered from cracks and collapses. Many buildings have burned to the ground as dry season fires spread so easily through old neighborhoods and small towns. The rusting hulks of cars and trucks are everywhere. Nature is reclaiming the land. Once green lawns have given way to fields of weeds taller than a man. All the pine trees have fallen and are rotting away, while creepers and vines, especially kudzu, grown unabated up the walls of buildings and other structures.
Many areas are now quite dangerous due to chemical or nuclear contamination. Millions of barrels of oil from ruptured pipelines leached into the ground water, killing plant life for miles around.
To the west lies the great Ash desert, which is shifting eastward several miles every year. The desert is rumored to stretch for thousands of miles to the Far Mountains. Most of it is a sea of endless sand dunes, covered with a fine layer of whitish, radioactive ash. Higher elevations are barren rock and fields of stone and ruined buildings.
Blue represents dense urban landscape, usually collapsed buildings, rubble and unpassable roads. Tan is open grasslands and rocky natural terrain. Green represents the remaining wooded areas. The red lines represent roads, usually old interstates, that have been cleared of ruined cars, trees and debris and are navigable at high speeds.
- The Tabernacle
A settlement centered around the Tabernacle and the old Olympic Park. Lead by a man named Parson.
A settlement centered around a junkyard. Old cars are stacked up to form fortifications, walls and towers. An area a mile in diameter has been cleared of buildings and debris to create a clear field of fire.
- Big Rock
A large settlement built at the base of what used to be called Stone Mountain. Ruled by the charismatic warlord Barnabas. A ring of trees encloses open farmlands. There is a crudely built stone fortress atop the mountain.
- Falcon Town
A settlement built in the remains of an open-air stadium. Falcon Town also claims the open area called Falcon Fields, which was once a commuter airport and is now cultivated.
A small settlement lead by the reclusive prophet Ganja.
- The Cattle Ranch
The Cobbites, a religious sect, tends to a large herd of Bison kept in this large, extended, fenced-in area that was once an air force base. The Cobbites are lead by Brother Newt.
- Nuka Cola
Dangerous radiation zone.
- Zombie Grounds
Area inhabited by feral, mutated humans.
- The Dirty River (Chemical Contamination Zone)
A foul, toxic flood zone of the Hoochie River devoid of all life. The sharp, acrid odor can be detected miles away.