The world is a dangerous place of ruins and contaminated wastelands filled with rubble and dust. Dangerous mutated creatures live in these places. Nature has begun healing the damage allowing small parts of the world to become habitual again. In some places forests have returned to the world but they are dark mutant haunted places. Even the trees are twisted mutations of what they used to be.
Humanity lives in small fortified settlements to keep the creatures and raiders out. The type of barricades used range from the giant concrete walls of the bunker cities to massive rubble ramparts of major settlements to the ramshackle barricades of scrap that form the defenses of the temporary campsites.
There are many settlements out there. There are Towns and cities some with a uniformed security force, small villages guarded by gangs, descendants of the personnel of military bunkers, Cultist temples, Farmers, Psikers, mutants and more. Each settlement, town and city has its own unique character engraved upon it by its denizens. It is unlikely you find two remotely similar.
Few people head out into the Wastelands. Those that do ensure they have a decent set of wheels to stay out of harms way. Many settlements set up fortified outposts to act as rest stops in between settlements placed so that a crippled vehicle or poor foot slogger can reach them by nightfall. You don't want to be caught out in the wastes after dark.
Stalkers operate from the settlements bringing back old tech and items to help the settlement’s survival. These brave souls creep around the old ruins and wreckage taking on terrible monsters, cannibals, risking radiation and other toxins to find these ancient treasures. Some whisper that the Stalkers actually hunt the worst of these mutants and cannibal gangs.
Traders wander from place to place in well armed convoys trading their wares to make a profit. They bring news and supplies under the watchful eyes of their mercenary guards. Often Couriers will travel with Merchants to deliver messages in person to people.
Bandits live in hidden bases in the wastes. They prey on Stalkers, Traders and the Settlements. Bandits take what they want by force. Bandits rely on fear and will seldom kill or severely injure. They fully understand they Predator - Prey relationship. If they kill those weaker than themselves then pretty soon they will have no one to prey upon. Due to this understanding Bandits will often help their “prey” settlements when dealing with problems caused by mutant monsters, cannibal gangs and Anarchists.
Warbands wander from their settlements to raid others for vital supplies or to take out bandits. Warbands raiding each others settlements is considered a sport in some places and hostages are treated like VIP guests.
In the Wastes many Anarchistic bands exist. They believe that Anarchy and chaos is the true state, the end was a sign of mankind's errors and try to stop it happening again. Be it destroying old world tech, old world land marks or newly built structures. Many will fight any rising organized force or faction preventing the world from reorganizing.
Out in the Wastes there are other factions still to emerge from their bunkers and hidey holes. Who knows what they will bring to the Wastelands?