The series is set in a United States alternate history scenario which diverges from reality following World War II. The transistor was not invented, while vacuum tubes and atomic physics became the cornerstones to scientific progress, eventually achieving the technological aspirations of the early Atomic Age and locking society into a 1950s cultural stasis. Thus, in this alternative "Golden Age", a bizarre socio-technological status quo emerges, in which advanced robots, nuclear-powered cars, directed-energy weapons and other futuristic technologies are seen alongside 1950s-era computers and telephones, and the aesthetics and Cold War paranoia of the 1950s continue to dominate the American lifestyle well into the 21st century.
More than a hundred years before the start of the series, an energy crisis emerged caused by the depletion of petroleum reserves, leading to a period called the "Resource Wars" - a series of events which included a war between Europe and the Middle East, the disbanding of the United Nations, the U.S. annexation of Canada and a Chinese invasion and military occupation of Alaska. These eventually culminated in the 2077 Great War, a cataclysmic nuclear exchange that lasted for only two hours, and subsequently created the post-apocalyptic setting of Fallout.
As a video game with no supporting pen and paper RPG rulebooks, all RPGs set to the Fallout setting are the work of fans. As highlighted in the external links below, there have been a number of attempts to make unofficial pen and paper RPG rule sets or source books. Here, fans are welcome to create their own conversions using the Mutant Future rules.
- The Post-Apocalyptic Forge as assorted PnP files for Fallout.
- The Fallout PnP Vault - A wiki dedicated to creating a pen and paper role-playing game based on the Fallout setting.
- Fallout: A Post-Nuclear PnP Pole-Playing Game - Another site dedicated to a pen and paper Fallout RPG.
- No Mutants Allowed forums have an area for pen and paper gaming.