San Diego Area
San Diego's blasted ruins are center of interest in SoCal, the nation-state carved from southern fragments of pre-war California. New Carthage gleams in this shattered landscape, a rectilinear jewel of intersecting streets hemmed in by retaining walls and security buffers. Its reconstructed sprawl is the center of commerce and society in the region, and a new hope for humanity's rebirth from the verge of extinction.
Regional geography has changed greatly since the coming of the millenium. The automated strikes and counterstrikes of Zero Day sent several nuclear warheads towards San Diego before horrified Chinese and Russian operators could enter override codes. Antiquated systems and poor maintenance caused most to go awry, falling short in the Pacific Ocean. One warhead, targeting naval installations, detonated in an airburst over Imperial Beach, south of San Diego proper. The resulting shockwave pummeled Coronado, the Silver Strand, and miles of beachfront into radioactive dust before the angry waters of the Pacific, foaming in superheated steam, rushed in to fill the crater. Another warhead landed inland, glassing over San Diego's East County into a broad, curving plain of smooth-cooled rock. Rising sea levels, over the ensuing years, flooded much of San Diego's river valleys to create an inland sea that stretches miles from the coast.
After the events of Zero Day threw the world into apocalyptic chaos, the city of San Diego clawed its way back out of the rubble and took on the name of New Carthage, destined to be a shining jewel of civilisation in the ruins of the old world. That is, if you are one of the corporate elite, a member of the new ruling class of the world that sits on a throne of concrete and mirrorglass, built on the broken backs of the destitute and impoverished millions who make up the real inhabitants of the city. For those, New Carthage is a shelter from the harsh wastelands and nuclear fallout, a melting pot of violence and desperation.