The Semipalatinsk Legacy

The Semipalatinsk Legacy is the overarching storyline that continues through all of the For What Remains core sets in this sequence:

  • Streets of Ruin
  • Blood on the Rails
  • Out of the Basement

Semipalatinsk, also known as the Polygon, was the Soviet Union’s primary nuclear test site. Between 1949 and 1989, hundreds of tests were conducted, but the most important took place on 11 October 1961 when the Soviet Union conducted its first underground test. Starting in 1957, Soviet intelligence officers had reported US underground nuclear testing revealed something important. But the details were concealed in Top Secret programs so well protected even the best Soviet spies couldn’t crack them. So the Soviets began their own underground nuclear test program called подземный мир or “Underworld.”

On 11 October, the Soviets detonated a 1 kiloton nuclear bomb below the surface of the Degelen Mountain complex in the southern portion of the Semipalatinsk Test Site. The detonation opened a brief gate into the Basement, revealing the Netherscape to the Soviets for the first time. Over the next three decades, the Soviets conducted over 300 more underground nuclear tests at Semipalatinsk, and established a facility dedicated to the exploration of the Basement.

Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Semipalatinsk Test Site was left largely unguarded. Transnational mercenary groups with knowledge of the Basement’s secrets took the opportunity to loot the facility and set out on their own expeditions. This marked the most extensive period of Basement exploration by non-state actors until the Final War.

From 1996 to 2012, a secret joint operation of Kazakh, Russian, and American scientists, engineers, and military groups secured the remaining access points to the Basement at the Semipalatinsk Test Site.

After it was secured, Semipalatinsk was largely forgotten, as most of the countries knowledgeable about the Basement had closed their exploratory programs. When the Final War came, Semipalatinsk — like most of the world — was left in ruins, but its secrets remained.


  • 19 September 1957: US creates first gate to the Basement. Begins investigations.
  • 11 October 1961: Soviet Union conducts first underground nuclear test at Semipalatinsk and opens gate to the Basement.
  • 1989: Nuclear testing at Semipalatinsk ends and the test site is decommissioned.
  • 1991: Kazakhstan leaves the Soviet Union. Semipalatinsk is left largely unguarded.
  • 1996 – 2012: International group secures remaining Basement access points at the Semipalatinsk Test Site. Department B infiltrates the group and begins work on a secret scientific compound and Basement access point.
  • 2023: Department B builds an Earthen biome under Delegen Mountain following the authorization of Project 696.
  • 2023 – 2030: Erthen battle with the Order of the New Dawn in the tunnels below Delegen Mountain at the end of the Final War, Erthen are almost wiped out, but the gates to the Basement are sealed by an electromagnetic force field.
  • 2034: An Echo cell moves into an abandoned Netherscape research facility in the ruins of the Baikal-1 reactor complex within the Semipalatinsk Test Site.
  • 2035: The Semipalatinsk Legacy begins.


  • February 2035: A group of outlaws flee from Novosibirsk, Russia after a skirmish with the Combine. They travel to Kurchatov, Kazakhstan and establish a new cell of the Freemen Coalition.
  • Mach 2035: The Echo group at the Baikal-1 complex detects the presence of the Freemen in nearby Kurchatov. Echo is able to maintain their secrecy, while also infiltrating the Freemen to gain information and resources.
  • May 2035: Delta Company of the Combine’s 21st Mechanized Infantry Regiment is sent to Kurchatov to find a pre-war artifact. Around the same time, a clan of Soldiers of Light moves through the region and establishes a camp at the Konechnaya rail station in Kurchatov.
  • Semipalatinsk Legacy – Streets of Ruin: The Freemen and Combine encounter each other in the streets of Kurchatov. They discover the pre-war artifact (an EMP device) and battle for its control. Echo monitors the situation.
  • Semipalatinsk Legacy – Blood on the Rails: One of the Echo cell’s chief scientists, Dr. Tomas Low, sends a strike force to capture a Waste Dragon from the Soldiers of Light cell encamped at the Konechnaya rail station. Skirmishes between the groups follow. The battles determine the fate of Dr. Low and his NetherA extractor experiment.
  • Semipalatinsk Legacy – Enemy of My Enemy: The Freemen try to find a place to hideout and regroup after their skirmishes with the Combine. Their search takes them to ruins near the Konechnaya rail station. Meanwhile, Echo is looking to escape from the area and return to the Baikal-1 reactor. The Freemen stumble upon the Echo cell and the groups quickly come to a loose alliance. They need to fight their way out of the area against a pair of opponents — the Combine and Soldiers of Light. During the battle a storage tank containing radioactive waste is damaged, resulting in an exposition that destroys much of Kurchatov. The exposition also detonates the EMP device that the Combine and Freemen had recently battled over.
  • Semipalatinsk Legacy – Out of the Basement: An electromagnetic pulse tears through the area surrounding the Semipalatinsk Test Site and disrupts the force field under Delegen Mountain that had sealed off gates to the Basement. The Order of the New Dawn emerges from the gates and engages the last remnants of the Erthen who still inhabit the ruins of their biodome. The Erthen fight to seal off access to their home.
  • Semipalatinsk Legacy – Omega Protocol: The Echo group stationed at the Baikal-1 reactor complex detects a power surge below Delegren Mountain and realizes that the electromagnetic field shielding the gates from the Basement has failed. They send out a desperate call to anyone in the Semipalatinsk region, pleading for assistance in fighting back against the Order invasion. The factions converge on the Erthen biodome. One group attempts to hold off the Order, while another activates a fail safe device designed to collapse the mountain and block the gates forever.