Named for the Great Lakes area, The Great Wastes is a vast, irradiated, and poisoned dead zone. It reaches up from the former state of Virginia to encompass the capital of former Canada, Ottawa, and west to the ruins of Chicago.

The Wastes were formed in 2062, when a barrage of attacks from foreign nations, terrorists, and doomsday radicals tore through the region. The first attacks were launched in Washington by a group of doomsday cult members who unleashed several biological weapons in the city, stirring it into chaos. As war and confusion spread worldwide, the U.S. and Canadian capitals were quickly targeted, and when they were reduced to rubble, the surrounding suburbs and urban centres that supplied human capital and bureaucratic support were also targeted and destroyed. Through months of fighting and unimaginable destruction, the area was laid to waste. Countless millions were killed, and millions more fled.

Of the few who have attempted to venture into the area, only a handful have returned. The Great Wastes are a desolate, twisted, and mutated wilderness. Where the countryside and city ruins are not soaked in radiation, they are covered in dangerous biological agents of every sort. The lakes and waterways are also dangerously tainted and hide countless meteors in their depths.

Exploration of the area has revealed numerous bizarre creatures. Furthermore, tribes of mutated humans, known as Remnants, have been known to emerge from the Waste’s borders, having survived several generations in the harsh region (4.1.1).