Char Lot is known by many in the Shadow-Over Valley as the "Gateway to the Ash Barrens." Char Lot is the ruin of a Beforetimes city (Charlottesville, VA) that was struck by the fires from the sky (nuclear weapons). The damage here is extensive, but not total; the ruins of many building still stand after all these years, and many are still moderately habitable. Several bandit groups have their own fortified bases in the ruins, and from here they organize raiding parties to attack settlements and travelers deeper inland. While the area is dangerous and lacking any central authority, there are some legitimate merchants and survivors who choose to dwell here. The bandit groups maintain an uneasy peace to reduce total gang warfare. This does not equate to safety and order, though; individuals and groups have been known to attack if they think they can get away with it, and those who are clearly outsiders or showing no obvious affiliation with one of the established gangs may be seen as fair game. As one travels east, though, Char Lot is the last place one will find anything approaching "civilization." Through the gateway and into the Ash Barrens proper, there are no guarantees at all.