1. The Ghost City
Some cities were completely abandoned during the later years of the Resource Wars due to nuclear related accidents or terrorism. Like Pripyat/Chernobyl the residents dropped everything but the most essential, and ran for their lives. These cities exist, overrun by vegetation, inhabited by their own ecosystems of fauna, and the atomic legacy of radiation. Ghost cites are a common form of Dead Zone as their refined materials are compromised by varying degrees of radioactivity. Some cooler ghost cities, those with lower levels of radiation, or hot zones rather than full contamination often house Urban primitives, and primitive cultures that have grown in the ruins. Ghost cities are prone to Dimensional Fatigue Events should an arcanotech device suffer a catastrophic failure there.
2. Open Pit Mines
Open Pit mines are the industrial legacy of the petroleum age and are gaping craters in the surface of the Earth. Some pits became truly colossal, feeding the industrial and material demands of the last cancerous growths of megacities in the Petroleum Era, it's massive appetite for material goods, and the first generation of arcologies. The pits are seldom radioactive, but most are contaminated by industrial waste, have flooded to form toxic lakes, or have been found to emit toxic gases. A few of the smaller open pit mines have been filled in, and others were used to form the cradles of geofronts. These geofronts are often hidden cities with no surface features, but are the exception rather than the rule.
Opposite of the Ghost City, Smallville is a generic name given to the prolific towns that radiated out from the megacities. These towns and small cities were a byproduct of the gentrification of the megacities. People kept moving further and further out from the urban cores, and the cities expanded to follow them. Following the Second Dark age, these remote towns were abandoned as they had no agricultural value, and without the massive infrastructure and population of the Petroleum Age, they became undesirable places to live. With limited to no industry, few large buildings, and limited refined materials, Smallvilles are not on the lists for reclamation, and a few have been preserved as models of the previous age, most have been left for nature to reclaim.
4. Tower Mausoleums
There are a few first generation arcologies that are considered dead zones. The shells are intact, but inside the buildings are nightmares. As the first generation of megastructures were build in the last days of the Petroleum Era, they were subject to attack during the Resource Wars. A few were hit with biological weapons, and these towers remain filled with the microorganisms that killed them, and the mountains of bones that were their residents. Aside from toxic contaminants and biological weapons, a few such structures have demonstrated conditions similar to low level dimensional fatigue events.
5. Theme Parks and Resorts
Theme Parks, resorts and other social venues became targets of opportunity in the Resource Wars as the large concentrations of people in a small relative location combined with high mobility ensured that viral weapons would have a very large area of effect. While very few are still considered hot spots for lingering contaminants, they are often in remote areas, in unpopulated regions, or are very low on the list of locations to be salvaged for materials. Few places demonstrate the luxury and decadence of the Petroleum Era quite like the broken shells of mega-resorts and huge theme parks fallen into ruin. This often makes residents of the Cosmic Era realize that despite how far they have come, it will be a long time before they once again reach the pinnacle of the previous era.
6. Military Bases
The Petroleum Era was a time of extreme militarism, with national economies controlled by military industrial complexes. Military bases, airfields, anchorages, and fortresses were built around the globe by the leading powers, and when the Resource Wars started, these were the first tier targets. Like the Ghost Cities, some bases were nuked, leaving their complements of tanks and aircraft uselessly irradiated. Others were abandoned, destroyed by conventional bombing, hit with chemical weapons and otherwise ruined in the ferocious fighting that marked the period of war. Bases do have hardware, and equipment laying around, but unless housed or otherwise sheltered, it has been ruined by over two centuries of exposure to the elements.
7. Abandoned Islands
There are thousands of islands classified as dead zones, as they have been uninhabited for decades or longer. With limited resources and no quick and easy resupply, the world was forced to relearn something old. Most of the tropical island paradises are very poor places, with rocky soil, limited fresh water, and little to no renewable resources. These islands can contain as little as a few ruined houses, to having once hosted entire cities, now long abandoned. There are a number of islands in more temperate climates, or of moderate size that contain primitive cultures that have abandoned high technology in favor of a more traditional fisher-gatherer lifestyle.
8. Coal Mines
Coal mining has a long and dark history, and the land exploited for the thick veins of coal retain the scars for centuries afterwards. When the denizens of the Cosmic Era look back, mountain top mining sits side by side with strip mining and fracking as some of the worst environmental offenses of the Petroleum Era. The though off blasting mountains apart to pick up their contents, leaving shattered and broken domes, choked waterways and new mountains of coal ash, and the mining till in in it's wake is just horrifying. The coal mining regions are typically on short lists for bioremediation and reforestation where it is possible and retain dead zone status as it is more effective than a conservation zone.
9. Megacity Ruins
There are a number of abandoned megacities, their densely packed towers and streets forming artificial canyons and river sytems. The megacity ruins are cyclopean tombs of a dead age, littered with long decayed debris and forgotten bones of those who died there. The megacities that exist in this state are most common in China, and the Pacific Rim where population booms fueled a demand for high density residential zones, and central controlled economies could feasibly create massive industrial core cities on a whim. Many of the buildings are in moderate to severe states of decay and a building collapse creates a huge cloud of dangerous dust, as well as a shower of deadly debris. Most planners have these megacity cores listed low on the recovery list, waiting until the cost of raw materials offsets the cost and danger of reclaiming it, or the buildings collapse to the point that rolling in the tumbler trucks isn't as dangerous.
10. Subway Systems
The subways and light rail systems of the Petroleum Age have long been abandoned. The space and equipment required by these systems lead to their disuse. The rail heads, stations, lines, and other associated things are typically considered dead zones because most are flooded. While the water alone would be enough to deter attempts at recovery, most of these areas have become cisterns of waste water from favelas and geofronts, with the tunnels and tubes acting as an unintentional sewer system for the new cities. The air, where it can be found, is toxic from decomposition gases. Structures are unsafe from years of water damage, and salvage is all but non-existent as things as mobile as rail cars and rail lines were quickly and long ago pulled up and used for other things.
The first few geofronts built were considered failures. Much like the prototype arcologies, there were geofronts that were targeted with chemical weapons, or biological weapons, and remain hotspots. Geofronts, with their high relative security, are also popular for scientific and research operations, a set of tasks that leaves geofronts exposed to a higher potential of dimensional fatigue events, which has caused a number of them to be lost, destroyed, or compromised. A geofront so afflicted is called a necropolis, because everyone inside is dead.
12. The Holy Land
There are few places on Earth as blasted, desolate, and dangerous as the Holy Land. Formerly the nation of Israel, and parts of half a dozen other nations, this strip of land was bombed, gased, infected, and nuked until there was almost nothing left but rubble, fire, and corpses, and that hasn't stopped the violence, only slowed it. This hasn't stopped ops from attempting to recover things from the ruins, as prior to it's annihilation, Israel was a leading nation in exploring what would eventually become arcanotechnology.
13. Power Plants
As the demand for fossil fuels outstripped the supply, alternate power sources were explored in the Petroleum Era, with the predominant options being coal and atomic power. The ruins of centuries old power plants remain radioactive, and in some cases have suffered waste containment failures, creating radiation hazards. Coal plants have the dangers of coal ash, and mild radioactivity from the amount of coal that was consumed by the furnaces. The ruins of power plants and structurally unsound and frequently contain unseen hazards, such as crashing through what appeared to be a stable surface to fall into the cesspool that was a cooling tank, now filled with filth AND radiation.
14. Steel Harbors
Steel Harbors are areas where the hulks of large numbers of ships can be found rusting away. Some of these ships were run aground as their fuel supplies ran out, some have washed up, others were simply run aground to be scrapped after their useful service was over. There remains a surplus of iron, and a shortage of workers to dismantle and clean up the ruined ships. Secondary problems emerge as many of the ships, especially obsolete military ships, switched over to atomic power, and retain their spent but still radioactive fuel cores, some in advanced states of decay. There are steel harbors along the East and West North American coasts, China, Europe, and across dozens of island nations. This is considered to only be a small fraction of the ships, as many have long since sunk underwater, where their recovery takes longer, is more dangerous, and more expensive.
15. Reservoir Cities
During the Petroleum Era, it was not uncommon for rivers to be dammed and artificial lakes to be created as reservoirs for urban and agricultural water demands. When these areas were flooded, it often submerged the towns and cities that previously occupied what were valleys before. Few of the dams survived without proper maintenance, and when the dams broke and the reservoirs drained, the drowned cities re-emerged. These have the look of long abandoned, majorly overgrown ruins. Travel is dangerous as many are still boggy or swampy in nature, and have sink holes, quicksand, and hidden wells and cisterns that can swallow even the prepared.
16. Industrial Zones
Another example of the Petroleum Era outstripping the Cosmic Era, there are industrial zones where heavy industry was carried out. The equipment has been long ruined, the buildings that are still standing are unstable, and the atmosphere can only be described as industrial oppressive, with weeping rust and lurking chemical contamination. The Petroleum Era dealt with economies of scale, where even what would seem innocent things became problematic just from sheer volume. Industrial zones are frequently contaminated by non-military chemicals, industrial by-products, and other toxic waste materials. This ranges from abandoned refineries, to foundries, to waste disposal and processing facilities.
17. Offshore Oil Rigs
The equipment for extracting oil from the seafloor was designed to be durable and long lasting. To it's credit, it has been. Centuries after ceasing operation, there are still hundreds of drilling and oil rigs in some seas. These structures are more commonly listed as being extremely unsafe, rather than being actively dangerous, ala radiation or toxic agents. A few of the last generation super rigs have been retrofit into research stations, non-national holding facilities, and covert military stations, operating under a Dead zone false flag.
The Petroleum Era was dominated by personal transportation, and untold numbers of square miles of road to support it. The value of the recovered roadways, interstates, exchanges, and such was low. The amount of metal was low compared to the volume of concrete, leaving the structures, many of which had become overgrown with large ruined sections, as deadways. The roads are largely impassable, with collapsed bridges, large sections washed away or degraded by weather, or simply reduced to piles of rubble when the overpasses, some well over 100 feet tall, fell.
19. Rust Belts
Industry moved through the Petroleum Era, following cheap labor. As it moved, the areas where it had previously had been became rust belts, and the first cities to be abandoned after the lights went out. Rust Belts are urban ruins of industry that went extinct during the Petroleum Era, and are frequently home to neo and urban primitives, and outcast societies. Rust Belts are large expanses and rather than reclaim them industrially, most planners have since decided to let nature and time remove the urban blights.
20. Forgotten Wonders
There are things that existed before the Petroleum Era, some dating back to the advent of civilization. The Pyramids have not been forgotten, but there are monuments that have been built, to the end of wars, to great men, to the demise of nations, and more. These are not dangerous dead zones, but in a world that has roughly 80% fewer people in it than the modern day, there are huge tracts of land that are simply empty, and in those empty places there are statues, carvings in mountains, and the stonework buildings that remain long after glass and steel have broken and shattered.
While there is a thriving industry around digging up, recycling and smelting the contents of Petroleum Era landfills, there is simply more trash buried than has been gotten around to. While there are massive landfills that are being strip mined, many former first world petrol nations are covered with tens of thousands of smaller landfills. Some of these are specialized, holding medical waste, industrial waste, and other not so nice things for people to stumble across. Exploring a landfill ranges from pedestrian, as most have had several centuries to vanish under plant growth, to extremely dangerous, with caverns having been washing out by erosion, deadfalls into rust pits, and other nightmarish encounters.
22. Nuclear Depositories
The nuclear ambitions of the Petroleum Era were sloppy, and fears of radiation and contamination lead nations to create bunkers and waste disposal sites to bury their surplus of atomic waste material. These sites still exist, and thankfully most, if not all, are known. They have not been well cared for, and while they have suffered minimal damage due to their impressive construction, most are also exceedingly hot in radioactive terms. These sites are typically considered the worst of the worst, as they house large amounts of waste and reprocessing it into something useful or inert is going to take decades for each facility.
23. Medical Complexes
Heath care became a critical issue in the Resource Wars and early portion of the Second Dark Age. Almost every major city had a sizable medical district and when the lights went out, these high power high resource consuming zones suffered poorly. Many remain, contaminated with medical waste, or the lingering fears of biological weapons. Some medical complexes were targeted with bio weapons, others attempted to confront them and had containment failures. The end result was rotting buildings full of long decayed bodies.
Not entirely unlike the Forgotten Wonders, Landmarks are locations of historical importance or value that have remained cut off from public access. While in a few minor cases this is a matter of internal security or clandestine intent, most are simply preserving relics of the past that would not survive tourism. Temples, cathedrals, and other major religious structures (those that survived the violence and barbarity) are considered landmarks and those that are not in active use are given the same protections as proper dead zones. These are somber locations, reminding the resident of the Cosmic Era that his places of worship are small, and that his gods are small, and compared to the world that was, he is also small.
25. Mega-scale factories
The last burst of production from the Petroleum Era was large. The last warships built were monstrous, the last rockets were behemoths, and so forth. These engineering projects, including the first generation arcologies, were completed on a massive scale. The rockets and warships and prototype buildings were all built in special facilities, and those facilities were simply so large that even three centuries has not been enough time to banish them into the past. These factories and facilities are composed of vast amounts of concrete, with large gantries, cranes, and other large objects that have survived due to sheer mass. The machinery is long gone, scrapped, destroyed in violence, salvaged, and otherwise removed, but the structures themselves remain.
26. Ship Graveyards
There are a number of bays and lagoons that are now hazardous to venture into. The waters are typically shallow, and they are filled with the rusting hulks of dozens or hundreds of ships. Similar, and often near Steel Harbors, these sites are where many ships were abandoned, or where the water carried them before they sank. The ships themselves are dangerous from rusting and falling apart, plus there are issues over their leaking cargoes, and chemicals seeping from the ship's engines and fuel bunkers. A few unlucky graveyards house nuclear vessels, but most such ships were accounted for.
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? Responses (4)
4.5/5 While this is pretty awesome, I was hoping for specific dead zones, how about a 30 of that?!?
That would be better as a map, just thinking about it.
A great listing of forlorn locations!