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The following is an excerpt from The History of the Desert Rangers, The Early Years, by Karl Allard, 2087, Allard Press, Ranger Center Hardbound pp. 293, $20 gold.

Tensions grew with the coming of 1998. The United States’ Citadel Starstation was slated to be fully operational by March, Soviet charges that the space station was merely a military launching platform alarmed a number of nonaligned nations. The right wing governments in the South and Central Americas, many of them set up by the U.S. during the Drug Wars (1987–1993), pledged their support to the U.S. The NATO nations, including the new African members also declared their alliance with the U.S. That move forced most of the remaining neutral powers to join the Soviet protest. In six short weeks, only Switzerland, Sweden, and Ireland continued to declare themselves neutral nations.

Two weeks before Citadel was due for full operation, the station transmitted a distress signal. Immediately after the message was sent, most of the satellites orbiting the planet were swept clean from the sky, leaving the great powers blind. In military panic, each sent 90 percent of their nuclear arsenals skyward. Although the destruction was tremendous, it was not complete. Pockets of civilization remained, some even oblivious to the military exchange.

On the same day that the U.S. and Soviet Union were attempting to extinguish each other, a company of U.S. Army Engineers were in the southwestern deserts building transportation bridges over dry riverbeds. They worked deep in the inhospitable desert valleys, surrounded by a number of survivalist communities.

Located directly south of their position on that day was a newly-constructed federal prison. In addition to housing the nation’s criminals condemned to death, the prison contained light industrial manufacturing facilities.

Shortly after the nuclear attack began, the Engineers, seeking shelter, took over the federal prison and expelled the prisoners into the desolate desert to complete their sentences. As the weeks passed, they invited the nearby survivalist communities to join them and to help them build a new society. Because of each communities’ suspicions towards one another, times were difficult at first. But as time nurtured trust, this settlement – which came to be known as Ranger Center – grew to be one of the strongest outposts. Ranger Center even proved powerful enough to repel the hands of rancorous criminals who repeatedly attacked in attempts to reclaim what was once “rightfully theirs.”

The citizens of Ranger Center, after first believing that they were the only ones who survived the nuclear maelstrom, soon realized that communities beyond the desert’s grip had also survived, Because they had such success in constructing a new community, they felt compelled to help other survivors rebuild and live in peace.

Toward this end, the Desert Rangers, in the great tradition of the Texas and Arizona Rangers a century before, were born.


Wasteland is a post-nuclear holocaust adventure. Your party, the famed Desert Rangers, have been assigned to investigate a series of disturbances in the desert. After several strategy meetings, you’ve decided to search for clues in Highpool, the Agricultural Center, and the Rail Nomads’ Camp, all of which are located to the west of Ranger Center.

The first thing you need to do is read the Command Summary section. It tells you how to get Wasteland up and running on your computer. It also contains a summary of the keystroke commands that you’ll be using. Once you load the game, you’ll find a party waiting by the Ranger Center.


A party can have up to seven characters, four of whom you can create. The four that you can create are called Player Characters (PCs). The other three spaces are reserved for Non-Player Characters (NPCs), whom you’ll meet during the course of your adventure (see "Recruiting Allies" for more details on NPCs). It you don’t use all of the four slots for your player characters, you can fill them with NPCs.

A party of four awaits your command: Hell Razor, Angela Deth, Thrasher, and Snake Vargas. This is a well-balanced party quite capable of seeing you through the entire game. You can use them or create your own characters.

There are no special advantages to the characters in the original party – no divine insight, no super luck, no outrageous skills. You could easily create characters who are just as – or even more – effective. If you prefer to make your own characters, enter the Ranger Center to do this. You’ll have to delete one or more of the existing characters to create your own. But before you wipe out the existing party, take a look at their profiles first by pressing keys 1-4 to see each one.

At any time during the journey you can view your party roster by pressing the space bar.


Follow these steps to create a Desert Ranger.

  1. Enter the Ranger Center. If this is your first time in the game, you’re already at the Ranger Center.
  2. If the current party already contains four PCs, press D to delete one and make room for your new character.
  3. Press C to create a character. At the top of the screen you’ll see “Create a character.” Below are the character’s attributes– the higher these values are, the better (see “Attributes and Personal Statistics” for details). If you’re not satisfied with these values, press the spacebar to “reroll” the values. When you’re satisfied, press <RETURN>.
  4. Name your character (up to 13 letters).
  5. Choose a sex.
  6. Select a nationality.
  7. Select the skills you want your character to have (see “Skills” for complete details). Press <RETURN> when you’re done. If you make a mistake while allocating skills, press <CONTROL>-R to re-allocate them.
  8. Press Y if you want to keep this character. Press N if you don’t want to keep him or her.
  9. Press S to leave the Ranger Center and start the game.


To view any character’s profile – personal statistics, possessions, and skills – enter the character’s roster number. When you’re done viewing each screen, press the spacebar <RETURN> to go to the next screen, or <ESC> to return to the previous screen.

Attributes and Personal StatisticsEdit

The first screen lists your character’s attributes and other miscellaneous personal statistics.

Strength (ST): The ability to overpower enemies or to lift, move, and break items. This is important in hand-to-hand combat and in physical tasks such as breaking down doors.

Intelligence (IQ): How well a character thinks and solves problems. This is probably the most important attribute because it determines which and how many skills a character may master. Certain skills can only be master by characters with an IQ of a certain level or above. Characters start with skill points equal to their IQ. During the course of the game, you’ll definitely want to raise your IQ.

Luck (LK): Lucky characters tend to find more things and avoid more damage than the unlucky ones. Luck also improves your odds in hand-to-hand combat.

Speed (SP): How quickly you move, which helps you escape tight situations.

Agility (AGL): How deftly you move. High agility enhances your acrobatic ability, so you can do things like dodge blows and jump on tables. The higher this value, the better you’ll perform in hand-to-hand combat.

Dexterity (DEX): Ability to master fine movements like picking locks or aiming weapons. Dexterity is very important in combat, and extremely useful in mastering the "thiefly" arts.

Charisma (CHR): This attribute lets you know how likable or persuasive a character is. Although it may seem like a trivial trait. it might well make the difference between life and death as you try to convince someone that you’re trustworthy. Charisma also affects how an NPC will react to you when you want to hire him or trade equipment.

Skill Points (SKP): When you first create a character, this value is identical to IQ. The more skill points you have, the more skills you can learn. You can acquire more skill points during the game (see "Skills" for more details).

Rank: Each character starts out as a private. As you acquire experience points, you can radio back to Ranger Center for a field promotion. Each time you’re promoted, your rank changes, your maximum constitution goes up by two points, and you get an additional two points to invest in any attribute. Rank does not affect how orders are given or taken since your characters are equal member of a team. A high rank, however could impress civilians enough so you can get into places where regular folks can't go.

Maximum Constitution (MAXCON): The higher this is, the more of a beating you can take before you die. This value is the same as MAX on the onscreen statistics.

$: The total cash this character is carrying.

Sex: Sex only affects what bathroom he or she has access to

Nationality: Choose from U.S., Russian, Mexican, Indian, or Chinese.

Pool: Press P to command all the party members to pool their cash and give it to this character.

Divide cash: Press D to have this character evenly distribute his cash among all the party members. If you have disbanded into several groups, only those in the same group as the character who is dividing his or her cash will share in the wealth.


The second screen lists what items your character owns. You can carry up to 30 items that you find or buy during your travels. Don’t immediately toss away items that seem useless. It can actually be an important fragment from a greater, more powerful item. Many items can be sold for cash at various stores. A precaution about picking up items: once you pick something up, you have to keep it or drop it. If you drop it, it will vanish into the depths of Wasteland, never to be seen again. If you have no intention of picking up an item to keep (maybe because you’re already carrying the maximum amount and you don’t want to drop anything) you should leave it where it is. That way, you can come back for it later (and you better remember too, or you may miss out on some loot hidden beneath the item.)

To give or show something to someone who is not a party member, use the item on the space that you’re on by pressing the spacebar.

Press the number that represents the item you’d like to use, and you’ll get the following choices:

Reload: If you select an ammo clip that fits your currently-equipped weapon, you’re asked it you want to Reload.

Unjam: If you choose a jammed weapon, you’ll be asked if you want to unjam it. If you successfully unjam the weapon, you’ll lose the clip that was in it, leaving you with an unloaded weapon. Don’t forget to reload before you’re ambushed by a bunch of bikers.

Drop: Drop removes something from your list forever. You’ll probably only use this command if you’re carrying a full load, and need to drop something in order to pick up another item. You can also use this command to drop something that’s broken (but keep in mind that broken items can be repaired or sold).

Trade: Trade lets you give items to another character. Enter the number of the intended recipient and the trade will be made. NPCs have a mind of their own and may not always want to give their items away.

unEquip: To equip an item so it’s ready to use, press E. If you use this while you’re already equipped, the chosen item will replace the previously-equipped item. You can only have one type of armor and one type of weapon equipped at any given time. The weapon you equip shows up in the onscreen statistics below WEAPON. When a piece of armor is properly equipped, your armor class reflects the change.


The third screen shows this character’s skills and skill levels. The skills you posses weigh heavily in your success. Each character should have a slightly different repertoire, so the whole party benefits from a greater variety of skills. One character could specialize in gambling, lockpicking and forgery, while another could excel in demolition, brawling, and climbing.

Medical skills are something that more than one character should possess. All the skills in the world don’t amount to anything if a character’s flat on his back, too weak to use them. The more characters who possess medical savvy, the safer the party is.

Since you must have a minimum IQ to be able to learn certain skills, the higher you IQ, the more skills you get to choose from. You simply can’t learn the more technical skills if you’re not smart enough.

LVL: The level of your skill. The higher this is, the better you are. You can invest skill points in any skill as many times as you like, each time you invest in a skill, the skill level goes up. Skills also improve as you use them. Since the cost of each successive skill level rises dramatically, improving a skill by using it is a cheap, effective method of gaining skill levels.

NOTE: When creating a character or when visiting a library, you’ll see the total available skill points at the top of the screen. (Your skill point value is the same as your initial IQ value). To select a skill, enter its number. If you make an error, you can start your selecting over again by pressing <CONTROL>-R.

Press <ESC> to exit this character profile entirely.

IQ: The minimum IQ you must have to use this skill.

PTS: How many skill points it will cost to acquire this skill. Initially, you can select a skill more than once; in fact, this is how you become more adept (or advance in levels) at this skill. Once you select a skill, the point cost doubles as each successive skill level becomes more costly.

Don't be stingy with your skill points when you’re creating your characters. You’ll have the chance to acquire more skill points as you move up in the ranks (see "Getting Promoted" for details on how you can accumulate skill points).

You can save a few, if you’d like, since there are several special places outside of the Ranger Center where you can learn more skills. But keep in mind that picking skills at the Ranger Center is a one-shot deal; once you leave, you can't come back to pick more.

Below are descriptions of the skills grouped according to their minimum IQ requirement. After each skill name is a number in parentheses; this is the number of skill points needed to buy the first level for that skill. Each successive level doubles in cost.

IQ 3

Brawling (1): Any fighter who can wander through a full-fledged bar fight without getting much more than a scratch is either very lucky or highly skilled in brawling. The higher your skill in brawling, the more attacks you get per round in hand-to-hand combat.

Climb (1): Gives you the ability to climb over fences, up sheer cliff faces, and out of pits.

Clip pistol (1): A must-have skill since your initial weapon issue will be either the M1911A1 .45 caliber or a VP91Z 9 mm automatic clip pistol. Without this skill, you won’t be very accurate with the weapon or have much luck fixing it if it breaks.

Knife Fighting (1): When fighting with knives, this give an advantage to a skilled fighter over an unskilled one.

Pugilism (1): One of the oldest forms of fighting, it teaches you how to dish out punches as well as avoid them. Handy for those close-up battles where the fists start flying.

Rifle (1): A good basic skill to have since many of the weapons sold by raiders are serviceable M19 rifles. You’ll rue the day you didn’t pick up this skill as you look helplessly at the rifle you can’t shoot accurately.

Swim (1): The desert sands don’t blanket the entire earth. This will come in hand in those spots where you have to swim.

IQ 6

Knife Throwing (1): A tricky skill that comes in handy when fighting gets heavy. You use up all your ammo and resort to throwing knives.

Perception (1): Helps the character find concealed items and notice when things are out of the ordinary. No one should be without it.

IQ 9

Assault Rifle (1): If you’re using an AK-97 or M1989A1 assault rifle, this skill helps you fire, load, and unjam it quickly. A skill that ranks up there in importance with walking and breathing.

AT Weapon (1): Helps you recognize and use anti-tank weapons like LAW rockets. A handy skill to have should you encounter something far tougher than your Ranger instructors ever told you about.

SMG (1): Lets a character control basic submachine guns like the Uzi or Mac 17. May make a big difference when you’re outnumbered three to one by bandits who’ve decided that they want the gold from your teeth.

IQ 10

Acrobat (1): This skill for the agile can get you out of a tough situation – like leaping off of bar counters while you’re surrounded by a hostile crowd.

Gamble (1): The skill that built Vegas, you’ll do well in all games of chance, and you’ll also be able to spot a crooked game from a mile away.

Picklock (1): This can get you into places where you want to go, but where other don’t want you to go.

Silent Movement (1): This helps you move unnoticed past a guard post; making it tough for enemies to catch up with you.

IQ 11

Confidence (1): For an already charismatic person, good confidence can enable one to talk to a miser out of his fortune. It’s particularly useful for getting information from people who are suspicious of you.

IQ 12

Sleight of Hand (1): A thieving skill that lets you perform sleight-of-hand tricks – perfect when you need to amaze those you meet.

IQ 13

Demolitions (1): Teaches you how much of an explosive substance you can use without blowing yourself up.

Forgery (1): Helps you recognize or create a forged document. Someday you my just need to whip up a security pass to get by some vigilant guards.

IQ 14

Alarm Disarm (1): Trains you to recognize and disable alarms. If you want to get into a place without getting caught, this a good skill to have.

Bureaucracy (1): Even though most of civilization ended with the bomb, an inordinate number of petty bureaucrats managed to survive. This helps you deal with them so you can get when you want.

IQ 15

Bomb Disarm (2): Allows you to defuse most explosive devices.

Medic (2): A vital skill that lets a character stabilize a badly-wounded comrade so he or she has a chance to recover.

Safecrack (2): An experience practitioner of this art can open safes sealed even before the holocaust.

IQ 16

Cryptology (2): Gives you the talent to encode and decode messages. Useful in helping you determine what a password might be.

IQ 17

Metallurgy (2): Increases your ability to spot, identify, and work with some basic metals.

To reorder your skills, view them and press <CONTROL>-R. Enter the number of the skill that you want at the top of the list, the skill that you want second, and so on until you’ve selected all the skills. The new list won’t appear until you’ve selected all the skills.


In addition to the information that you can call up by entering the character’s number, the following character statistics are always displayed on the party roster.

Armor Class (AC): The level of protection a character has against weapons, physical attack, and other forms of damage. The higher the armor class, the better.

Ammunition (AMM): The amount of ammunition you have left in your equipped weapon. When it’s down to zero, it’s time to reload. Reloading takes a full combat round, so establish a healthy habit of reloading after each battle.

Maximum Constitution (MAX): The maximum “health” points that your character can have (see “Constitution” below for more details). This is the same as MAXCON. If this number is highlighted, then your character has picked up a life-threatening illness. like radiation poisoning. This illness won’t go away with the passing of time, so get this character medical help as soon as you can. Constitution (CON): This shows the character’s current condition. Compare this value to MAX to determine your character’s relative health. The closer this value is to MAX, the closer your character is to full strength. When CON drops below 1, the character becomes UNConscious. If the character’s condition becomes SERious, constitution continues to drop and the character will die unless he get medical assistance soon.

Weapon: This shows the weapon that your character is currently armed with. FIST means the character is unarmed.


You’re awarded experience points each time you accomplish a difficult task or win a difficult battle. When you think you’re accumulated enough experience points to warrant a promotion, you should radio back to Ranger Center to have your instructors review your accomplishments. Since it doesn’t cost you a thing to radio in, you can do it as often as you like. If you’ve progressed enough (and only your instructors know when this is), you’re given a field promotion. As a promotion reward, two points are automatically added to your maximum constitution (MAX, MAXCON). You’re also awarded an additional two points that you can add to any attribute you choose: Put both points on the same attribute or put one point on two separate attributes. If you’d like, add them to maximum constitution to boost that value even higher.

If you wish to use these two points to acquire a new skill, you must apply them to IQ. Remember, IQ points translate into skill points. If you don’t increase your skill points via IQ points, you won’t be able to add new skills.


Wasteland is populated with people who have, like you, survived the nuclear holocaust. From time to time you’ll run into non-player characters (NPCs) whom you can hire. You may wish to enlist their services to add strength or intelligence to your party. Refer to the Encounter command below on how to hire an NPC

NPCs are not robots who obey your every command. They don’t always do as told in combat. They don’t always trade something when you ask them to. While you may not like their autonomy, and think that they’re more trouble than they’re worth, remember that they may be able to get you things that you can’t get for yourself or get you into places where you can’t normally go. To dismiss an NPC, use the disband command.


During normal play, a menu of commands are listed across the bottom of the screen:

Use: This lets a character use an Item, Skill, or Attribute to accomplish a task. Enter a character number and select an Item, Skill or Attribute. Then, enter a direction in which the character will use the Item, Skill, or Attribute (press the spacebar if you want to use something right where you’re standing). Certain skills offer additional prompts. For example, when you use a medical skill, you will be asked which character you want to heal.

After you use something you may get the message “That doesn’t seem to work.” This suggests that this particular item or method doesn’t work, but that another might. Also, if you use a skill or attribute and it doesn’t seem to work – but you’re really sure it should – keep trying. Sometimes persistence pays off.

Enc: Encounter calls up the same commands that are available to the party during combat. You may want to use Encounter to attract someone’s attention, so you can get information or try to hire them.

You can also use this command as a short cut to perform certain actions on several characters.. For instance, you could have a couple characters reload, while another uses an item. In this case, using Encounter would be faster than calling up each character individually.

Order: This changes the marching order of your party. There are times when you’ll want to change the order to maximize your party’s talents. For instance, if you’re traveling through a dangerous area, a character with high perception or silent movement would make an excellent point man. In another situation, a character carrying an item that could forestall an attack should be in the lead. NOTE: When you select Order, you’re shown the current marching order. Select the number of the character you want in front, then second, then third, and so on until the whole party has been reordered. Being placed in the back of the ranks does not shield a character from combat.

Disband: Disband lets you break your party into separate, smaller parties (up to four). This enables each party to travel independently of the other parties. The parties can be spread apart as far as you’d like. Disband also offers many tactical advantages in combat.

Disband has a number of important uses. If you have dead party members, use disband to bury them. You could also use disband when you’re under attack; one person could split off to distract the attackers. Some places can only be passed through by one character at a time, so each person will have to split off into their own party.

CAUTION: Before you can disband NPCs, you’re asked if you want them permanently dismissed. If you answer “yes,” then they are gone forever – you’ll never, ever see them again. If you want them disbanded – and not dismissed – answer “no.”

When you select Disband, enter the numbers for those characters who wish to split off from the main party, and press <RETURN>. Next, indicate the direction that the disbanded party will move. Use View to shift control between parties.

To reunite separate parties into a single band, move them onto the same spot and they will automatically regroup.

View: View lets you shift control between parties. If you have more than two parties, and you’re not in control of the party you want, keep entering V until you reach the right one. If the party is on another map, you’re asked to confirm if you want to shift to them.

Save: Saves the game. Use this command anytime you find something you don’t want to lose. Even before the great nuclear war, computers were known to shut down at inopportune moments. See the Command Summary section for more important details on the Save command.

Radio: Contacts your instructors at Ranger Center so they can evaluate your performance. If you’re done well, you’re given a field promotion. When you select Radio, you’re asked to confirm your choice. If you choose to continue, all your characters are evaluated at the same time and are apprised of any changes in rank. Because a Ranger once slept through his promotion, the instructors now require that all characters be conscious for this procedure; consequently, any injured, unconscious Rangers will be passed over. Promoted characters get a chance to modify attributes at this point (see “Getting Promoted” for more details).


Often, when somebody or something comes into your range, you will enter the Encounter mode. An encounter is frequently the precursor to a fight. Your party roster and a text window will appear. The text window will contain a short description of the encounter; press <RETURN> when you’re done reading it. (If you want to temporarily remove the party roster and text window to see where the encounter is located, press the spacebar. To return to the party roster and text window, press any key.)

Your options during an encounter are:

Run: This lets the entire party or a single character run towards or away from an encounter. Enter the direction that you want the party or character to move. If a single character successfully runs away, the he’s disbanded from the party (This is impossible if there are four separate parties already).

Use: This lets a character use an Item, Skill or Attribute to accomplish a task. Depending on which you choose a list will appear. You’re then asked to enter a direction in which the Item, Skill, or Attribute will be executed.

Hire: Not everybody you meet has turned hostile under the hot desert sun. Some are quite pleasant, and may even offer you valuable services. If you meet an NPC that you would like to try to hire, enter the number of the desired recruit.

Evade: This makes you much harder to hit in combat. Use this command when your comrades initiate a firefight, and you don’t have a missile weapon, or when you’re injured and wish to minimize the risk of further physical abuse.

Attack: In the battle-ridden wastelands, this is a command you’ll often use. When you select it, you’re given a choice of targets. If your weapon is an automatic weapon capable of selective fire, you’re asked if you want to fire Single, Burst or Autofire. If the encounter is at an extended range, and you have no missile weapons, you’re told that there are no attackers within your range. If there’s only one group of attackers, they’re targeted automatically.

Weapon: Lets you ready a new weapon, which is useful when your gun jams in the heat of the battle and you don’t want to fix it. Or, once you assess the current battle situation, you may want to use a weapon that’s more effective.

Load/unjam: Loads or unjams a weapon. This command takes a full combat round, so it’s a good idea to keep your weapon loaded at all times, otherwise you’ll have to reload in the first round of a firefight. (You can load or unjam at any time by selecting Enc from the Main Menu, or by choosing the weapon or appropriate ammo.) When a weapon jams, you lose the ammo that was in the weapon at the time. Unjamming a weapon during combat automatically reloads it.

Press <ESC> if you wish to return to a previous character’s options. Once you’ve made all your combat selections you’re asked if you want to execute the commands you chose. Press N to abandon your choices and start the procedure over again. Press Y if you’re satisfied. You’ll then see a rundown on the effects of the encounter in the text window. Use <CONTROL>-K or the up arrow to speed up text scrolling. Use <CONTROL>-J or the down arrow to slow down text scrolling.

Since parties can disband and more to different maps, there will be times when one party is locked in combat while another party is on an entirely different map. In these instances, the game asks if you want the other parties to enter into an encounter. If you answer “yes,” you’ll get one combat round for each dis- banded party. This is a slow and time consuming process, so you should only run combats on multiple maps in emergencies. If you decline the invitation to have combat on multiple maps, the party you are currently viewing will execute their combat round before you can view the other parties.

Hand-to-Hand CombatEdit

Because the Rangers are trained soldiers, they have an advantage over the citizens in hand-to-hand combat. In general, hand-to-hand combat is not as deadly as a firefight, but you can still easily die from a good throttling or from a dead- on punch. Hand-to-hand combat can only take place at a distance of 14 feet or less.

Missile Weapon CombatEdit

Missile weapon combat is combat that takes place with weapons capable of range fire. From guns to grenades, there are numerous missile weapons at your disposal. Area-effect weapons, like TNT, plastic explosives, and grenades, are auto-loading, which means that each time you use one, you automatically get another until your supply runs out, so you won’t be unarmed in the middle of a fight. Anti-tank weapons such as LAW rockets must be re-equipped after firing. Automatic weapons – assault rifles and submachine guns – can shoot Single, Burst, or Autofire. All guns are clip fed and come in .45, 9mm, or 7.62mm calibers. Always carry the proper ammo unless you want to pistol-whip your enemies.

Keep in mind that all missile combat is simultaneous. Sure, it’s exciting when you burn a clip of AK-97 ammo into an onrushing horde of mutant bikers, but your excitement may diminish somewhat when you find that the mutants are returning fire with equal fervor. You shoot, they shoot.

Selective FireEdit

Single, Burst and Autofire have different effects. Single uses one bullet per round, which is great if you’re low on ammo, but not so great if you need to hit your target with the first shot. Burst consumes three bullets per round and gives the shooter a slight advantage in hitting and killing his target. Autofire uses up all the bullets in the clip, which greatly increases the chance of hitting a particular target and others in close proximity. A good choice if you really need to kill somebody, but not so good if you’re looking at your last clip.


If you want to do a great deal of damage over a wide area, go with explosives. You get more impact per target area, which can be a lifesaver when being eyed hungrily by a pack of nuke pooches. Remember, ammo doesn’t rain from the heavens. Running your gun on full auto all the time may kill the bad guys in a hurry, but you’re likely to run out of ammo just as the last nuke pooch lunges for your throat.


Missile weapons come in three range categories : short, medium, and long. You’ll find that using a clip pistol to hit a target 80 feet away is not too effective. Be sure to choose the appropriate weapon for the appropriate distance. Here are some of the more common weapons and their characteristics.

Long Range WeaponsEdit

AK-97 Assault Rifle: Created in the image of the legendary AK-47, the AK-97 is the latest in the assault rifle line. It was created for the Comintern Combine nations of Europe and Africa, but saw large distribution throughout the world before the war. It is chambered for 7.62mm ammo and fires from a 30-bullet clip. This highly-respected weapon is fairly commonplace.

M1989A1 NATO Assault Rifle: The M1989A1 is big brother to the original M16A1. It was rechambered to accept the same 7.62mm ammo that the AK series of rifles uses so troops could use captured Soviet ammo. Although assault rifle users greatly preferred the American ammo for its damage capabilities, the military implemented this change in anticipation of front-line ammo shortages. With this arrangement, a soldier could kill an enemy and replenish his supply at the same time.

M19 Rifle: The M19 rifle is a single-shot weapon firing an 8-shot clip of 7.62mm ammo. When rumors of a Soviet invasion of the U.S. spread through the states, survivalists demanded a weapon that could use Soviet ammo (necessary, said the survivalists, if Americans were to be able to use captured ammo). The invasion never took place, but the M19 remains a high-profile weapon. Although it can’t fire more than one bullet at a time, it does have greater range than pistols.

M17 Carbine: The M17 Carbine is a lighter, short-barreled version of the M19 rifle. Its 10-shot clip of 7.62mm ammo gives it a faster fire rate than its big brother, but the barrel length makes it slightly less accurate at a maximum range.

LAW Rocket: The LAW rocket is a small, armor-piercing explosive rocket contained in a disposable firing tube. It was first developed to destroy tanks. The mass of the tip (made from depleted uranium) enables the rocket to blast through the armor so the explosive shell can burst, once inside. Some knowledge or skill in anti-tank weaponry is useful when employing rocket.

Medium Range WeaponsEdit

MAC 17 SMG: The Mac 17 is the sturdiest of the compact submachine guns developed in the early 1990s. It shoots .45 Caliber slugs from a 30-shot clip and is known for its man-stopping capabilities. This small weapon is well-suited for close-up firefights.

UZI 27 SMG: The Uzi comes from the highly-skilled gunsmiths of Trans-Palestine. Its magazine holds 40 9mm bullets and is capable of burning a full clip in five seconds. This weapon was built specifically for fighting terrorists has proven very effective on mutant bikers or religious fanatics.

Short Range WeaponsEdit

M1911A1 .45 Pistol: The 1911A1 was the standard sidearm of the previous two world wars. The .45 slug, held in an 8-shot clip, was first developed to stop Moro rebels in the Philippines. In its current role, it has no trouble slowing down desert raiders or the occasional mutant cactus. Many Desert Rangers find this a perfect weapon to take with them when they first head into the wastelands.

VP91Z 9mm Pistol: As well liked as the .45 pistol by Desert Rangers, the VP91Z is a variation on the West German design, featuring an 18-shot clip. A reliable weapon, it's widely available due to its popularity among survivalists. While the 9mm bullet is not as powerful as the .45, the 18-shot capacity of this weapon reduces the need to reload, making it ideal for extended firefights.

Grenades: Grenades are small, hand-tossed explosive devices useful for inflicting damage on an entire group of foes at one time. Grenades have a wide area of effect, so be sure your character has a good throwing arm!


Death is permanent. If your characters get seriously injured, get them medical attention quickly or kiss them goodbye.

If a character is lightly wounded, they’ve taken a few hits, but are still awake and functional. A few points have been knocked off his constitution. Characters become unconscious when their constitution dips below 1. While unconscious, they are unable to move. Over time, an unconscious character will regain consciousness and heal to full health. An alternative to waiting is to find a hospital and pay for a quick heal.

Seriously-wounded characters are in a whole different class of medical trouble. Like unconscious characters, they can do nothing, but unlike unconscious characters, they don’t heal with time – they worsen. Without medical help, seriously-wounded characters deteriorate to critical, to mortal, to comatose, and then to dead. Another character with medical skills may be able to stabilize the wounded character enough so he can improve to the unconsciousness category. If this happens, the character will recover with time.

Remember that time waits for no one. Disbanding one character and sending him off across the desert to find a doctor will not freeze time for a seriously- wounded character. When that character finally returns with a doctor, they may be back in time to bury the body. (This is why your party should contain somebody – preferably two – with medical skills.) Should the worst happen, you can bury a dead character by using the Disband command.


The maps in Wasteland vary in scale. The large desert map contains the various city maps, which, in turn, contain building maps or whole underground levels of sewers and hideouts. In combat, distances may seem a bit off for the map you’re on, but these are tactical distances and are valid in combat only. Because of the difference in scale of the maps, time passes differently on them. Though a single keystroke on the computer will move you one space north in both the desert and in a building, the amount of time that each move takes is different.

If you want time to pass without moving, press <ESC>.


You begin your adventure in the desert along the California-Arizona border. The area you’ll cover extends from the Ranger Center in the south up to the Grand Canyon in the north. The towns of Quartz, Needles and Las Vegas are three places you’ll surely want to visit.

Little Old QuartzEdit

Quartz is a small town that suffered extensive damage from the nuclear attacks, yet managed to survive. Although located far from the large military targets, this tiny community was affected by earthquakes and low-level nuclear fallout. But in its feisty, small town way, Quartz quickly resumed normal life. About the only trouble Quartz has these days is with bandits.

Xenophobic NeedlesEdit

Needles is bigger than Quartz. Aside from the flood that resulted when Hoover Dam was hit, life has not changed much in Needles. Needles is big enough to defend itself from roving bandits. However, it has become home to a couple of odd cults. The folks in Needles don’t really like strangers that much, but they’ve welcomed Desert Rangers in the past and are always willing to trade goods with them.

Lovely VegasEdit

Vegas is the city of Las Vegas. No one is quite sure how the Soviet missiles managed to miss the city, but most folks figure it was because the “house” was betting against a missile landing – and no one wins against the house. There was an international rumor about some Russian general’s markers being torn up after the attack, but that has yet to be confirmed.

Undaunted by its brush with perdition, Vegas is still open for business and does very well for itself. The city is large enough to avoid conquest, and many elements of the desert rabble have even found gainful employment as enforcers or casino employees. Despite the relative success of the city, however, there are dark rumors about horrors descending from the north to taking up residence in the city sewers. All may not be extremely well in the jewel of the Desert.

Deadly DesertsEdit

The desert is just as formidable as it was before the holocaust. In addition to the lack of water and the fierce heat, there are reports of radiation zones that have melted the flesh of unwary travelers. Along with the irradiated human element – left-over biker gangs, rabid survivalists, crazed religious zealots – all sorts of mutant animals make their home in the desert. Some say that traveling in the desert nowadays without an experienced guide is plain suicidal.


Game Play

IMPORTANT: Wasteland is a dynamic game and it’s very important that you understand how it saves and keeps track of the time. The game changes as you play and updates changes to the disk permanently. If you take an item, it won’t be resurrected just because you leave and return.

The game takes place in many locations. As you explore, you’ll often be asked “Enter New Location (Y/N)?” If you answer “yes” the game will save any changes to that location, your party’s status, and become your new saved game locations. If you switch to another location to view a disbanded party, the status’s of all parties are saved. You should save the game before ending each session of play. Then when you go to play again you can pick up where you left off. However, if your computer will search for the last place it saved. This way, you’re unlikely to lose any important recent acquisitions. What can you do if a character dies? DO NOT ENTER A NEW LOCATION OR SAVE THE GAME! Turn off your computer and reboot, and your character will live again, but without anything they acquired since you last saved. If all the characters die in the midst of general carnage and mayhem, your computer will state the obvious: “Your life in Wasteland is over.” Don’t get depressed, just reboot and the game will return your characters to either the last time you saved or the last time the game map changed. (This assumes, of course, that there’s someplace to return to.)

Time and Distance

Wasteland’s maps vary in scale. The desert map contains the city maps which in turn contain maps of buildings and underground locations. In combat, distances may seem a bit off for the map you’re on, but these are tactical distances valid for combat only.

Because the maps differ in scale, time passes differently on them. A single keystroke will move you one space in both the desert and in a building, but the amount of time each move takes is different. Time passes more quickly during overland travel, which the game takes into account for healing and deterioration purposes. And remember that time passes for both the main party and disbanded characters. If you send a disbanded character off to find a doctor for an injured comrade, that comrade will keep on bleeding.

If you want time to pass without moving your party, press <ESC> or place the mouse icon directly on your party and press the mouse button. If you wish time to pass more quickly, hold down the <ESC> key or keep the mouse button depressed.

Reviewing Messages

Wasteland involves a great deal of text. This text includes descriptions of your surroundings, descriptions of non-player characters, clues and references to the Wasteland paragraph section included in this manual. If you wish to refer back to or review a previous message, press the Pg Up key and keep it depressed until the desired message appears. To return to the most recent message, press the Pg Down key and keep it depressed until that message reappears.

Selecting Options

Whenever you need to select an option, press the first letter in that option (unEquip if the exception; in this case press E) or click on it with your mouse. Whenever you need to select an item, skill or attribute from a list, press its number or click on it with your mouse. To scroll through a list use the up and down arrows, the right or left arrow, the I key to scroll up or the K key to scroll down, or use the mouse to click on the next option or click on the up or down arrows on the right side of the option window.

Movement Commands

There are three ways to move your party: Use the cursor keys, the mouse, or type I to move up, J to move left, K to move down or L to more right. When you use a mouse, a directional arrow will appear on the screen pointing forward, left, right or backward. Move the mouse in the direction you want to go until the directional arrow points in that direction. Then hold down the mouse button to more in that direction. The Spacebar toggles the view of the party roster on and off.

Ranger Center

The following options appear at the bottom of the screen when you’re at Ranger Center.

Create: Creates a character

Delete: Deletes a character

Play: Begins Play outside Ranger Center

Non-Combat Commands

Except during combat, you can use the following commands by pressing the first letter of the command or clicking on it with your mouse. Use Use a skill, item or attribute.

Enc: Simulate an Encounter. This calls up combat commands, which you can use to initiate combat or use the Hire command to hire a non-player character into your party.

Order: Establish a new party marching Order.

Disband: Disband the party into two or more groups. This command can also be used to permanently dismiss a Non-Player Character from your party. View Alternate the View between two or more groups.

Save: Save the game. When you use the Save command, the computer will ask “Save Game(Y/N)?” If you answer “yes” the computer will save the game at that point and ask “Quite Game (Y/N)?” If you answer “yes” the computer will return you to the DOS screen and if you answer “no” the computer will continue the game. If you answer “no” to “Save Game(Y/N)?” the computer will still ask “Quit Game(Y/N?)” If you answer “no” the computer will continue the game. If you answer “yes” the computer will return you to the DOS screen, and the next time you reboot the game, it will start at the last point you saved.

Radio: Radio Ranger Center to see if any party members have earned a promotion.

Print: Prints party information when the roster is displayed.

<SHIFT>-# Call up the Use command for a specific character.

<CONTROL>-R Reorder items and skills for a selected character when those menus are displayed.

<PgUp>-R & <PgDn>-R Scrolls through the messages at the bottom of the screen.

Combat Commands

Note: Some weapons have a limited range in combat situations. Contact weapons, such as knives, axes, fists, etc., are ineffective against opponents more than 14 feet away. Attacking opponents more than 14 feet away requires projectile weapons, such as throwing knifes, pistols, rifles, etc.

When you engage in battle, choose from the following options by pressing the command’s first letter or clicking on the command with your mouse.

Run: Move party or individual character one space.

Use: Use a skill, item or attribute.

Hire: Hire a Non-Player Character to join your party.

Evade: Evade an enemy.

Attack: Attack an enemy.

Weapon: Change Weapons.

Load/Unjam: Load and/or Unjam a weapon.

<SPACEBAR> Show map of immediate area during combat.

<CONTROL>-A Show list of enemy groups and their distance from the party. This will only work with player characters, not hired NPC’s,and only when your foes are within range of your weapons.

<ESC> Cancels commands.

To speed the combat scrolling rate, press the up arrow key on the keyboard or click on the “fast” command on the screen with the mouse. To make it slower, press the down arrow key on the keyboard or click on the “slow” command on the screen with the mouse.

Viewing Characters

Enter a character’s number to view their statistics. The options you can use in this mode are:

From the first screen

This screen shows a character’s attributes:

Pool: Pool all the party’s cash and give it to the character you are viewing.

Div Cash: Divide cash evenly among the party.

<ESC> Cancels commands.

(Press <ENTER> to go to the next screen.)

From the second screen

This screen shows what items the character has. Enter an item number and the following options will appear:

Reload: Reload weapon, (Only appears if you choose an ammo clip for the currently Equipped weapon.)

Unjam: Unjam weapon (Only appears if your currently equipped weapon is jammed.)

Drop: Drop an item.

Trade: Trade an item.

Equip: Equip or unequip an item.

<CTRL>-R Reorder items.

<ESC> Cancels commands.

When prompted Y/N, press Y or <ENTER> to accept the option.

(Press <ENTER> to go to the next screen.)

From the third screen

This screen shows the character’s skills.

<CTRL>-R Reorder skills.

<ESC> Cancels commands.

Macro Functions

Macro functions condense the several key strokes needed to give certain commands into one key stroke. To create a macro function, press <CTRL> and any one of the function keys, F1 to F10, simultaneously. A message, REC.MAC. (with a number from 01 to 10 corresponding to the number of the function key you are pressing), will appear in the upper left corner of the screen; when it does, release the <CTRL> and the function key again, the message in the upper left corner of the screen will vanish and the macro function will have been created. Pressing the appropriate function key thereafter will repeat the entire command or series of commands. (Example: If you want time to pass more quickly, press <CTRL> and F1 and then release them when REC.MAC.01 appears in the up- per left corner of the screen. Now press <ESC> several times, and then press <CTRL> and F1. Every subsequent time you press F1, time will pass as if you had pressed <ESC> several times. A macro function can be erased by pressing and holding down <CTRL> and pressing the appropriate function key twice.


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