Scorched Earth is a post apocalyptic game set in the year 2420. A massive world war which ended 200’ish years prior in an atmosphere burning chain reaction destroyed all plant life on the surface of the planet, killed almost all animals not in vaults or hiding in caves and corrupted the nutrients in the soil. Common soil is no longer capable of sustaining life.
In the 80 years after the war ended, before the vault failures began, the surviving animals rapidly mutated and evolved, presumably due to the rampant radiation in the early years. Plant life did not return to the surface and without it all herbivores were forced to either die or evolve into a carnivorous form. Travel abroad is dangerous and the roads are no shelter: All non-vault animal life is predatory.
When the vault failures began in 2280 and people were forced to the surface, at first they stuck close to their vaults. Even though they were no longer solely capable of providing for the vault population, the supplies and resources within were used to build a new life partially on the surface. Soil, compost and seeds were brought to the surface and planted in raised beds. Cattle, sheep and even horses for some vaults were likewise brought out and penned within hastily erected stone walls. Many died in the early years before sufficient compost could be generated to increase the size of the beds and food yield since the common soil was no longer capable of sustaining life.
In time, the growing compost resources expanded sufficiently that food for communities became reliable and longer range scouting parties were possible. Eventually caravans of pipe-carts and frame-carts (still the predominant form of travel besides foot or mount) began to travel between far flung vault settlements and develop trade routes.
Now, 140 years later, in 2420, fields of raised beds can be found around vaults, abandoned tech facilities of the key technology companies from 2200 and many major cities of the past as people have re-populated them, seeking a sense of their past or simply seeking the easy shelter and scrap-resources available in the ruined cities.
Technology is limited and often unreliable. While some high-tech equipment remains, much that is available is either from the 21st century or earlier . . . or re-invented from the middle ages. Those with the skills to make them or the crystal to buy them have precious supplies of ammunition for their guns. Those who don’t must make do with knives, hatchets and crude swords, axes and other medieval weaponry. Bone or steel make up the hilt or haft of such weapons since no wood is available for crafts of any variety. What few trees exist in fields of raised beds are treasured sources of shade for the community and the animals and more sensitive plants kept with them.