The Crossroads, also known as "the gateway to the West" (East if you're from the west.) or "Illinois Wasteland" (by ghouls mostly) was a wasteland in the old Midwest of the United States of America.
The old pre-war city of Chicago, now called Second City, lies to the North and is the main hub where traders and caravans stop before facing the wastes to the East and West. People from all over the wastes find themselves here, sometimes literally at the 'crossroads of their lives'. Wishing to forget or find a life at the other end of the former nation. Due to its northern position and nuclear winter the former Midwest suffers from long cold winters, causing not that many people to actually stay indefinitely.
The Midwest also has its own branch of the Brotherhood of Steel whom lost contact with the original order in California and have adapted accordingly to their new frontier homeland.
Before The War
Chicago was the third most populous city in the United States and the biggest metropole for miles. Often seen as 'second' to New York City Chicago grew an identity all of its own in this shadow. It became the hub for Fusion Powered car manufacturing in the closing days of the pre-war era, giving the town a hard edged American industrial feeling. Raised highways and car parks designed by some of the most influential modern architects of the time truly formed the old city into a place centered around the new automobile. Even at a time when automobiles were becoming unusable due to resource shortages. This in turn led to violent crime. A history which the city is very familiar with. Crime rates skyrocketed in the 2070s and organised crime was at its worst since prohibition. Gangs barged in on contraband rackets, using the black market to deal and distribute what little resource that were still left. It became so bad that the United States government was left powerless against these gangs. Of course all of these problems ended when the bombs fell but you can still see lasting impressions from that violent and tumultuous time around Second City.
The Crossroads do not only cover Second City but miles upon miles of the surrounding wastes. Suburbs, old towns, fields and scourged, dead forests.
Surviving here is brutal and almost impossible. A harsh environment nobody can linger in for too long before dying of exhaustion, cold or whatever lurks within. Traders and caravans are known to go missing if they venture too far off the marked roads. Plenty of adventurers go into the Crossroad wastes in search for loot in old forgotten towns or hunt for game. Plenty of wild animals roam around, providing meat and pelt that catch a nice prize almost anywhere.
Brahmin wood is a resource-rich tribal village south-west of Second City in The Crossroads wastes. They combat the harsh winters to the best of their abilities making the tribals a hardened sturdy folk that excel at survival. Their Brahmin are known for their thick fur which they use for clothing and trade.
In 2197, it was invaded by a group of raiders led by Horus. Brahmin Wood's losses were heavy, and they decided to accept the Mid-western Brotherhood of Steel's conditions for protection. Eventually, a small squad of Brotherhood recruits returned their lands and rescued the primitive people in exchange for food and a portion of their older children for new recruits.
The village elder—or "Tribal Father"—was Charon, who was skeptical of the benevolence of the Brotherhood's intentions, but agreed to their terms after the village was rescued from the hands of raiders by the Brotherhood recruits. The shaman of Brahmin Wood, a man who was known as Hawkeye, was only vaguely interested in the affairs of the village and devoted his attention to interpreting dreams and visions.
After the Brotherhood drove away and killed the raiders and bandits, the tribals from Brahmin Wood eventually became the largest contributor of manpower to the Brotherhood's war machine in the early 2200s
Lombard was a smaller town West of Chicago. Now it is mainly a ghost town where feral ghouls wander the snowy dilapidated buildings. Due to how 'out of the way' yet still close enough to Second City it is located, treasure hunters occasionally wander down there to search for loot...
An old suburb of Chicago, West of Second City. Basically this is where Second City ends and The Wasteland begins.
Is former town North of Second City along Lake Michigan's shores. Now it's mainly a hub for raiders and ice-pirates that use special ships equipped for faring the lake. They raid Second City's coastal settlements or anyone unlucky enough to cross their path...
Second City is the main hub. It's old skyscrapers keeping the biting frozen wind at bay. In its old streets unsavory types and sometimes wild animals roam so you're not exactly safe within the city limits. You will however also find small communities living in and around old landmarks, monuments and buildings. From the simple trading outpost to high society venues for the richer traveler. Small businesses are dotted around the ruins and are usually only found after hearing from them someone else. Rest assured that plenty of denizens within the city have skills or trade that can be employed or requested.
Underel or literally 'Under L' is a small community of trading posts and caravan stations that have taken refuge under the old L train tracks that dot the city. Doing their best to keep the cold out and the business inside.
The less glamorous trading post. Less well covered and generally an unpleasant place to be standing still waiting for business, but here you'll find stuff that's not exactly 'above board'.
Wastelanders familiar with the Rexford in Goodneighbor will know the deal with this old hotel. Even though it's probably still a bit more classy. If you've got the caps, this is the best place you can spend time in Second City.