######################################################################

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 
SHADOW OF CHERNOBYL

ZONE SURVIVAL GUIDE

( A ) UPDATES
( B ) INTRODUCTION
( C ) BASICS
( D ) THE ZONE GUIDE
( E ) CORDON

=====================
UPDATES
=====================

( CURRENT ) VERSION 0.1 - NAME: CORDON'S EDGE
DESCRIPTION: THE FIRST EDITION OF THE GUIDE. PROVISIONAL AT BEST. 
BASICS ARE MOSTLY COMPLETE AND CONTRIBUTORS ARE SCRAMBLING TO FINISH 
COVERING THE CORDON AREA. 

=======================
INTRODUCTION
=======================
Welcome to the Zone, stalker. There is good news and bad news. The good 
news is that you are not alone in the Zone. The bad news is that you 
are not alone in the Zone. This place is no longer the abandoned 
countryside lightly dusted with radiation it once was. It's now 
crawling with people like you - trespassers in gas masks and body 
armor, their backpacks stuffed with weapons and radioactive artifacts. 
Your life has been forfeit ever since you snuck past the military 
checkpoint at the edges of the security cordon around the perimeter of 
the exclusion zone. A single bullet can kill you. Radiation can fill 
your lungs with invisible death in seconds. Anomalies in the very 
fabric of reality can shatter your body as if it were glass. There is 
no safe haven in the Zone. You may be embarking on an adventure, but 
this is no fantasy world. Towns are not safe havens, important allies 
are not invincible, and there are no golden treasure chests stuffed 
with jewel-encrusted swords. You, your friends, even the buildings you 
take cover in are all fragile. One day they will be gone. Whether you 
die wealthy and healthy in the Big Land or leave behind a legacy 
composed entirely of assorted shreds of skin sitting beneath a 
gravitational anomaly...is up to you. 

This guide will supply you with all the information you need to survive 
the Zone. Whether you use it efficiently or not is up to you. Also, 
this guide is currently a GUIDE IN PROGRESS. The mysteries of the Zone 
have yet to be completely uncovered. The guide will be updated with new 
information as it becomes available. Good hunting.

===============
BASICS
===============
There are other guides out there that will bore you with numbers and 
charts. They will present you with a massive listing of all the rusted 
weapons you may find in the Zone. They may waste space detailing the 
exact levels of radiation near a certain overturned car in some stretch 
of uncharted forest. Yet within a week the car is gone. Within a day, 
some new weapon is sighted in the Zone. Within an hour, what you once 
thought was a safe cottage is suddenly so radioactive, your eyes ache 
just looking in its direction. 

There are few things that always apply in the Zone. These are some of 
those few.

( TRAVEL IN THE ZONE )

The Zone is a big place. The vehicles already inside it are rusted 
beyond repair, and most are coated with a fine layer of radioactive 
dust. Vehicles from the outside are nearly impossible to smuggle in. 
Most stalkers who try to sneak into the zone on foot are shot on sight 
by the military anyway. A fool like you in some shiny new car from the 
Big Land would stand no chance. Thus, you'll need to move about the 
Zone on foot, and this poses its own dangers.

Near the beginning of your activities in the Zone, you will probably 
have little of value to take up space in your bags. With little 
weighing you down, you will be able to spring around like you were on 
your high school track team. This will not last long, however. Within a 
day your inventory will be occupied by two or more weapons, two or more 
different types of ammunition, two or more neat piles of food, some 
artifacts, some vodka or anti-radiation medication, bandages, health 
kits, and perhaps some grenades. All this stuff will weigh you down. 
THE MORE YOU CARRY, THE SHORTER THE DISTANCE YOU CAN SPRINT. However, 
as long as you're carrying under 50 kilograms of items, you can sprint 
a considerable distance. Now, after you surpass 50 KG of stuff, you 
become burdened. When burdened, you can only sprint for a few seconds - 
just enough to get behind cover or dash away from an irradiated 
vehicle. Definitely not enough to travel efficiently. Regardless, you 
can carry up to 60 KG before becoming completely overburdened. When 
that happens, you will be unable to move. When that happens, it is time 
to toss out what you safely can.

When sprinting, and even when you're just walking swiftly along, you 
must be mindful of anomalies. Novices often step into the Zone and see 
a long stretch of smooth black road, completely free of obstacles. They 
begin sprinting down it, the wind in their hair. The way will be clear 
for a while, but soon enough, even wide thoroughfares like that will 
become pockmarked with anomalies. Many have perished after sprinting 
carelessly into them. Sprint only when you're certain the way ahead is 
clear. Areas you pass through frequently become easier to navigate. 
Anomalies usually hang around for a week or so, but if you move deeper 
into the zone and then return to your old haunts, don't feel too 
comfortable with your outdated memories. New anomalies will have 
appeared and altered the ways you can safely move about in that sector.

There are other perils to traveling as well. Enemy stalkers and mutated 
children of the zone can be found everywhere in the zone. Wildlife can 
be found anywhere, though they are not often found on the road unless 
they are crossing it. Enemy stalkers may sometimes use the road to 
travel quickly from place to place, but most of the time only 
congregate in great numbers when they are near or inside a structure or 
camp. Anything man-made counts as a structure - even a rusty section of 
pipe and a couple of campfires scattered around a charred tree stump 
may count as a structure. Don't be surprised at how well stalkers can 
improvise. You ARE one, after all.

Finally, radiation is always an invisible threat. Radiation can be 
anywhere. Some of the more common spots to run across radiation are: 
abandoned vehicles, some abandoned structures, bodies of water or muck, 
tunnels of any sort, heaps of garbage, and dense foliage off the beaten 
path. Again, the nature of the zone is ever-changing and you may come 
across broken-down trucks that are completely free of radiation. By the 
same token, you may walk down a clear-looking roadway and run across a 
patch of overwhelming radioactivity. Always be prepared for anything.


( MANAGING ASSETS )

As stated before, the Zone is not Camelot or Tamriel. Artifacts and 
spare weaponry may bring in some income, but stalkers do not (and 
should not) expect to plunder an old underground bunker and find 
diamonds, old paintings, and ceremonial swords. There is risk involved 
in everything you do, so you should think carefully about heading to 
that farmhouse you see in the distance. It may be completely safe and 
packed with free ammunition, or it may be home to a group of hardened 
bandits wielding powerful automatic weapons. Your curiosity may kill 
you, and even if it doesn't, an encounter with hostiles may cause you 
to waste so much ammo that whatever valuables you find may not cover 
the cost of munitions. 

After just a short while in the Zone, you'll come to realize there are 
some things that will always be in your pack. 

WEAPONS are the most important things in the zone. While there is 
definitely no shortage of them, there IS a shortage of GOOD weapons. 
However, with a little practice, even a rusty old pistol can protect a 
stalker from all but the most unnatural of foes. At first you will only 
have access to a few pistols and shotguns, with a rifle or two 
available (if you risk battle against an enemy wielding one). Within a 
few days, however, you will begin finding silenced pistols and 
relatively accurate automatic rifles. You'll even come across some 
grenades and sniper rifles in time. You may be frustrated at the 
quality of weapons you find in areas near the perimeter of the Zone, 
but remember there are more efficient alternatives just a few 
kilometers ahead.

There are many ways you can handle weaponry. You may wish to have three 
or four different weapons on you and a decently sized amount of ammo 
for each. You might collect two or three weapons that all use the same 
kind of ammo and hoard those bullets. You might want to keep a primary 
heavy-duty weapon and a handy pistol or shotgun as your sidearm. Or you 
may just have one weapon on you, choosing to collect only one type of 
ammunition. The choices are yours, but remember - it is very easy for 
all your collected ammo to weigh more than the weapon that uses it! 
Keep an eye on how much you're collecting and toss some out if you have 
too much.

Gun repair is a task best suited for weapons experts, and if there are 
any in the Zone, they're too busy for the likes of you anyway. If your 
weapon is breaking down, toss it out and get a new weapon. No one is 
going to sit in a radioactive barn and tinker with someone else's gun 
for a whole night. Make do for yourself.

AMMUNITION is everywhere indeed, if you know where to look. Surviving 
is the name of the game in the Chernobyl Zone. Though it is up to you 
to decide whether or not you want to kill a stalker who is not hostile 
to you, you SHOULD consider looting corpses you come across. They no 
longer need the supplies anyway, and who knows who will take the items 
if you do not? There's always a slight chance someone who needs it more 
than you may find it, but there's a greater chance that wild animals 
will devour the corpse, enemy stalkers will find the items and use them 
against you, or contaminated dust will render the area around the 
corpse dangerous. 

Looting corpses will net you all kinds of things, but though you can 
find adequate amounts of guns on all enemy stalkers you face, you will 
most likely not be satisfied with the amount of ammo you gather off 
your enemies alone. So loot every corpse you can safely reach. 

FOOD is a necessary commodity that is easy to forget. You may sometimes 
be surrounded by threats on all sides, a series of challenges and 
dangers that will take you an entire night to get through. So it's easy 
to forget to eat. Fortunately, when your stomach starts growling and 
images of forks and spoons dance in your head, you'll know it's time to 
find some grub. Always carry around plenty of food. You don't want to 
weigh yourself down with twenty cans of beans, of course, but two 
loaves of bread will not suffice for a 12-hour excursion into an 
underground tunnel system. Imagine starving in the Zone, with not a 
single scratch on you. Embarrassing! No, make sure to eat. Be mindful 
of where you are going and bring enough food to last you the trip. Food 
can be purchased from many stalkers, but it is likely you will find 
them on their corpses too. Just be sure not to attack any non-hostile 
stalkers unless you are certain you can handle the repercussions. 

MEDICAL SUPPLIES are also important. Medkits are compact squares filled 
with gauze, antibacterial agents, coagulants, and other foul-smelling 
medical necessities. They can be popped open and applied in a second 
during combat, and they will save your life. They are commonly found on 
bodies, but never rely exclusively on scavenged medkits if you already 
have a stash put away. Bring a good amount - sometimes you may run into 
an enemy that is much stronger than most enemies in the area, and 
dealing with that threat may cause you to blow through four or five 
medkits during just that one confrontation. Bandages are also important 
for stopping blood loss. If you notice you are losing extreme amounts 
of blood, apply one. Less severe bleeding requires a bit of thinking. 
If you have plenty of health left and the bleeding is not severe, you 
may want to save your bandages and let the bleeding stop on its own.

ANTI-RADIATION MEASURES will help safeguard you from the effects of 
radiation poisoning. The most efficient of these measures are 
medications, which come in pill and syringe form. Radiation lingers in 
your body even if you flee a radioactive location, so after escaping 
the radiation, you should definitely take a look at your radiation 
level.  If it is more than 10%, you will take too much damage while 
waiting for it to naturally dissipate. Take some medication. Vodka may 
also do in a pinch. It will take a few bottles of vodka to cleanse 
yourself of radiation. Though cheaper than medication, vodka cleanses 
less radiation per unit and also intoxicates you. You may not want to 
drink vodka to treat radiation poisoning you develop during combat - 
becoming drunk will inhibits your balance, sense of direction, aiming 
skills, and your ability to identity enemies.

ARTIFACTS are mysterious chunks of material that form in the "bellies" 
of anomalies. These are the reason why you explore the Zone, and they 
merit their own section later on in this guide. In a nutshell, however, 
you will often have plenty of these on you. At first they will be rare 
and the mere sight of one will have you dashing toward it. 
Unfortunately, a good amount of artifacts found near the edges of the 
Zone have limited use, especially those which irradiate you slowly but 
significantly over time. Once you find artifacts which help cancel out 
this radiation (or artifacts that do not irradiate you to begin with), 
they will prove more useful. Once you get deeper into the Zone, 
artifacts will be more plentiful and you will probably begin passing up 
artifacts that are too risky or out of the way. You can equip up to 
five artifacts, but do not overload yourself with negative status 
effects.

OTHER ITEMS resist classification. You'll be able to find items like 
night-vision goggles, energy drinks that restore your endurance, 
jackets and suits that provide protection from the harsh conditions of 
the Zone, severed animal parts that can be sold to other stalkers or 
scientists, and other odds and ends.

( FRIENDS AND ENEMIES )

In the Zone, you can plot your own path. You can go it alone, aim to 
join a certain faction, play a pacifist, or become a murderer. Though 
this guide tries to avoid forcing morality on its readers, there are 
definite drawbacks to killing stalkers who are not your enemies and 
have done nothing to you. Stalkers often carry ammo, food, and weapons. 
However, whether or not those few items are worth more than their help 
in hairy situations is up to you. When alive, stalkers will often help 
you fend off enemies, as well as provide you with some information and 
perhaps even a few missions. Nearly all neutral and friendly stalkers 
will also buy artifacts, food, and medical supplies from you if they 
have enough money. 

Even if you never raise a hand against a stalker unless he attacks you 
first, you will have enemy stalkers in the Zone. Bandits, mercenaries, 
and crazed stalkers are hostile to everything - sometimes even each 
other. If you join a faction, their enemies also become yours. 
Sometimes you may be tasked to kill a non-hostile stalker for a mission 
- whether or not you carry that mission out is up to you, but remember 
killing a stalker may cause his friends to react with hostility. 

( ARTIFACTS AND STASHES )

Most stalkers are in the zone to collect artifacts and stashes. 
Artifacts, strange objects made out of a mix of earthly and unearthly 
materials and energies, are both useful and valuable. Selling them will 
bring in a good amount of rubles, but you can also equip up to five of 
them for mixed effects. Most artifacts boost your resistances to 
certain Zone dangers, like radiation or ruptures that result in blood 
loss. However, most artifacts also lower your resistance to another 
danger. In other words, you can count on finding artifacts that raise 
one of your "stats" while also lowering another.

Stashes are stockpiles of loot hidden in the world by stalkers. Any 
corpse you search has the chance to bear information about the location 
of a stash. Even the corpses of friendly stalkers you found lying about 
in the wilderness may bear the coordinates of a stash. Once you've got 
a stash tip, open your PDA map and look for purple triangle icons. 
Close in on them and be alert - stashes are not always in safe 
locations. There might even be an anomaly hovering right over them, 
making them impossible to reach without dying instantly. Stashes may 
also be in distant locations, locations difficult to get to without 
wasting ammo, food, medkits, and time. 

Stashes are basically lockboxes, safes, overturned rocks, discarded 
backpacks, and other times that stalkers leave alone as a sort of 
courtesy to the next stalker that comes by. Thus, you may find a stash 
tip on a corpse that leads to a stash you once looted before.

( THE WAY OF THE WORLD )

Some stalkers never make it in the Zone. Some die, some manage to 
escape back to the Big Land, and some just become permanent residents 
of an encampment. One source of early frustrations is the fact that 
good equipment is nearly nonexistent in the outer reaches of the Zone. 
Because the edges of the Zone are safer, there are more stalkers 
competing against each other. The few good weapons that were scattered 
around the areas near the Cordon have been snatched up by bandits or 
the military. Thus, all that is left for rookies are rusty old pistols 
along with the odd shotgun. These antiquated firearms are unreliable, 
jamming often and proving to have poor accuracy. Armed with these 
weapons, you must be very careful when selecting your targets. Use 
stealth to sneak up close to your enemy and land headshots when 
possible. Avoid fighting groups of enemies when possible. Know when to 
flee - enemy stalkers will give up the chase after a while. Be aware of 
where there are friendly stalkers camped out, so you can flee to them 
and receive backup if you bite off more than you can chew.

As you progress deeper in the Zone, the risks increase along with the 
rewards. You might even have an automatic rifle and a good amount of 
ammo for it before you even leave the security cordon surrounding the 
Zone. It all comes in time.

======================
ZONE GUIDE
======================

Though everyone has their own way of exploring the Chernobyl Zone, 
there is a general flow of advancement from the very perimeter of the 
Zone towards the center areas. Though it is anyone's guess what lies at 
the center (near the nuclear power plant itself), this guide aspires to 
one day access all areas and bring you advice on the entirety of the 
Zone.

Life is unpredictable, even moreso when in the only place in the world 
where the fabric of reality seems to be warped and torn. Sometimes 
people you were told would be in one location will be in another - or 
perhaps they'll be dead. Perhaps the stalker who sold you food three 
miles back will open fire on you on your second meeting. Outposts you 
were told would be under the control of friendly stalkers might be 
crawling with hostile thugs when you reach it. There are many variables 
and few constants. If the guide is ever completely incorrect for you, 
write to zone_assistance@mail.ru to report the inaccuracy. Your 
findings and observations will be factored into the guide to help other 
stalkers.

================
CORDON
================


( A TOUR OF THE CORDON )

This is where real life meets the Zone. Though the interior of the Zone 
seems like another world entirely, out here the countryside (though 
eerily quiet) looks almost like it does back home. However, if you try 
to operate within the Cordon as you do out in the Big Land, you will 
meet disaster. Rookies who refuse to adapt to the way of the Zone meet 
a quick end. Adapt or be prey.

There are several landmarks in the Cordon. At the south end of this 
roughly rectangular area is a large military complex maintained by the 
Ukrainian military. It is advised not to show your face around here. 
This checkpoint is constantly blaring out loud messages designed to 
intimidate stalkers. The fields surrounding the checkpoint are also 
heavily mined, proving dangerous for travel. Scores of barbed wire 
block all access to the Big World - the only way to escape is directly 
through the checkpoint. The soldiers here are hostile to all stalkers 
and are ordered to shoot on sight. Though most soldiers are within the 
base, there are three or four that patrol the main road through the 
Cordon area. They walk from the base up to a short distance away from 
the stalker camp. Avoid them at all costs unless you want military 
blood on your hands this early in your career. 

Most stalkers begin exploring the Zone from the safety of the loner 
camp located up the road from the military base. This camp, built from 
the remnants of a small village, is home to Sidorivich - one of the 
most prolific traders in the Zone. Some criticize him for living a life 
of relative luxury in the Zone. Others find him very agreeable. 
Whatever your opinion on Sidorivich, you will find that he often proves 
to be a valuable resource during your initiation into the Zone. He has 
a near-bottomless amount of cash on hand and will buy what most 
stalkers won't - namely weapons and ammunition. Sidorivich also 
provides rookie stalkers with missions and contacts that help them hone 
their skills against the zone's early threats. 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
WARNING! PROBLEMS WITH THE TRADER!!!
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Current news from the Zone - Some stalkers report trouble accessing 
Sidorivich's bunker in the loner camp after they have progressed deeper 
into the Zone and then returned. These stalkers claim his door will be 
sealed shut for some reason. Though it is unknown what is causing this 
problem, it is advised you do not store any valuables in Sidorivich's 
bunker. 

Some stalkers have a temporary fix for the situation. Try lobbing a 
grenade down the bunker hall. It may take a few attempts, but there 
have been reports of success. Sometimes the door may fly open!
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
WARNING! PROBLEMS WITH THE TRADER!!!
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The camp itself is well-guarded by rookie stalkers. The biggest threats 
they have to deal with amount to little more than the occasional Flesh 
or Blind Dog. Rookie stalkers are advised to seek advice from the other 
stalkers here. There are also plenty of missions to undertake from 
Sidorivich and an experienced stalker known as Wolf. Another notable 
stalker, the speedy Nimble, sometimes stays at the camp. However, 
recent reports show that Nimble may have run into trouble. Check with 
Sidorivich or Wolf to find out if that is the case.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
SCAVENGING OPPORTUNITIES
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
There are no repercussions to scavenging through the loner village. 
However, if you are of extreme moral fiber, realize that the few things 
you may find belong to the other rookies here. Regardless, you may be 
able to find a few energy drinks and assorted foodstuffs around the 
campfire, inside the cellars, and on the floor of the ruined cottages. 
You may want to use your flashlight inside the buildings, even during 
the day, as the floor is very dark and items such as tin cans and 
bottles of vodka blend in easily. After speaking with Wolf, you get a 
combat knife that you can use to smash certain crates. These sometimes 
contain more supplies you can make use of.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
SCAVENGING OPPORTUNITIES
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
DON'T START SHIT
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
One more note about the loner camp before you begin combing the Zone 
for missions and loot. The stalkers here can fend off a pack of wild 
animals with little effort due to their numbers. However, in the end, 
they're just rookies. The stalkers there have reported recent incidents 
involving foolish rookies traveling to the military checkpoint south of 
the village and attacking personnel there, then fleeing back to the 
loner camp. This often results in a military shakedown and sometimes 
even in a full-fledged attack by the feared Spetsnaz. They are 
desperately asking new stalkers to avoid bringing more danger to the 
camp - one more attack like that and they could be wiped off the map. 
Do not endanger the lives of your rookies unless you have no qualms 
considering your reputation among civilized stalkers forfeit.  
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
DON'T START SHIT
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

To the north of the loner camp is a massive refuse pit. This pit, 
though not highly radioactive, seems to be a massive magnet for 
anomalies. Rookie stalkers are sometimes shown to this area to practice 
their bolt-throwing techniques. Though tour guides are sparse these 
days, rookies should still head north to toss a few bolts into the 
anomalies. Be extremely careful, however. A few of the bravest (or most 
foolish) stalkers occasionally hop along the beams and pipes to scoop 
up artifacts that sometimes appear here, but this is not advised.

Directly to the east of the loner camp (and east of the main road in 
the Cordon area) is a stretch of wilderness that reaches from the 
minefields surrounding the southern military checkpoint to the 
abandoned car park in the north. This area is usually only home to a 
few assorted mutant beasts and a smattering of anomalies. One of the 
more peaceful areas in the Zone, but you'd still do well to keep your 
senses sharp.

As you make your way north along the roadway, you'll come across a 
concrete bus stop and a dirt path leading to a complex of buildings. 
This former car park is often in the hands of bandits, though attempts 
are made by lone stalkers to reclaim it. The buildings are home to many 
destroyable wooden boxes that may hide loot, but beware, as bandits may 
be lurking in the shadows. While exploring the car park, be ready to 
flee if a group of bandits moves in to retake it. 

The trail that led to the car park continues at the opposite end of the 
complex, leading east of the buildings along a dusty trail that winds 
through Blind Dog territory. Some stalkers tell horror stories about 
this area - some have seen comrades or wandering bandits fall prey to a 
massive coordinated attack by six or more Blind Dogs. Even experienced 
stalkers find fighting off that many canines a dicey proposition. 
Several stalkers have reported some success with sneaking silently 
through the brush right up against the barbed wire to the right of the 
path (when traveling east). At the end of the path is barricaded tunnel 
that has been used as a stash by the bandits of the region, but be 
careful - an extremely powerful dog mutant called the Pseudodog has 
been sighted in this tunnel.

Just across the road from the car park and the bus stop is a disused 
mill. It's often being pounded by anomalies and is home to a variety of 
rusty trucks and cars. Fleshes, deformed pig-like creatures, have been 
sighted in its vicinity. The large barn-like building has a steel 
skeleton within it that allows access to the angled rooftops. To the 
southwest of the mill is an old tunnel that is often surrounded by 
Blind Dogs. Rumor has it that this tunnel allows travelers to bypass 
the army checkpoint set up at the collapsed bridge, though some say it 
is difficult if not entirely impossible to get through due to 
electrical anomalies that form in the tunnel. Caution is strongly 
advised.

A railway divides the Cordon area into two distinct sections. This 
railway is probably one of the most dangerous areas in the Cordon. The 
Ukrainian military has set up a checkpoint here and will shoot anyone 
who approaches on sight. Some stalkers allege to have passed through 
peacefully by paying about 500 rubles to the leader of the checkpoint 
forces. If you wish to try your luck bribing the grunts, make sure to 
approach them without any weapons drawn and avoid moving too far past 
the center of the chokepoint - or face a hail of gunfire. Gun battles 
often erupt at both sides of the checkpoint, as bandits stubbornly try 
to force their way through the blockade. It may be possible to take 
advantage of this chaos when it occurs, though disaster always has the 
chance of occurring.

There is a gap in the barbed-wire fence that encloses the railroad 
track near the eastern end of the railroad. However, there are lethal 
amounts of radiation slightly to the east of the gap. Take whatever 
means necessary to avoid heading further to the east than is necessary. 
At the edges of this radioactive stretch of track is a derailed train 
car surrounded by anomalies. Some stalkers have spotted a stash of loot 
sitting atop the car. Perhaps leaping off a small hillock onto the car 
may prove possible. Shooting off the supplies and collecting them as 
they hit the ground may also work, though there is always the chance 
that the items will disappear into an anomaly. If you are irradiated, 
flee the area immediately and lower your internal radiation level by 
taking anti-rads or drinking vodka.

After crossing the tracks by whatever means, you will arrive at the 
northern reaches of the Cordon. This is where many believe the Zone 
truly begins. To the left of the main road is a farm composed of two 
buildings. There are often friendly stalkers here who are willing to 
trade or share advice. This location is often under attack by Flesh or 
Bandits, however. Holding this position, a convenient rest point for 
rookies who make it past the bridge checkpoint, is important. Lend a 
hand if you can.

To the north of the farm is a woody thicket often populated by Blind 
Dogs. There are more Blind Dogs and wild boars to the east of the road. 
The final notable landmark in the Cordon area is an abandoned gatehouse 
at the north end of the region. Though sometimes empty, it often plays 
host to a small group of bandits who attempt to control entry into the 
Garbage. These bandits are sometimes armed with more powerful weapons 
than the bandits found elsewhere in the area. Bring along a lot of ammo 
and prepare for a tough battle.

( AREA THREATS )

Though the dangers you meet in this area are likely to change depending 
on events happening deep in the Zone, the following threats are likely 
to be the ones most commonly faced during the time in which you are 
most active within this area.

BLIND DOGS are, at first glance, weak and decrepit dogs that flee from 
you whenever you draw close to them. Though this is the case when you 
confront one or two of them in the middle of the wilderness, you may 
soon find out that groups of three or more will all attack you 
together. This coordinated assault has brought down even experienced 
stalkers, making these dogs a force to be reckoned with. Their gaunt 
profile makes them somewhat difficult to hit at range.

PSEUDODOGS are rare in the Cordon area. Though they have a sort of 
migration pattern that takes them through several areas of the Zone, 
most rookie stalkers will only encounter one or two during the first 
stages of their career. These beasts differ in appearance from the 
Blind Dogs - they are a charcoal black and seem to have more in common 
with a feral wolf than they do with a stray domestic dog. Extremely 
powerful and capable of ripping all but the most advanced stalker suits 
to shreds, the Pseudodog is an aberration of nature that should be put 
down on sight. Some stalkers just beginning their journey in the Zone 
have reported seeing a Pseudodog lurking inside a collapsed tunnel 
directly to the east of the car park. 

FLESHES are disgusting, disfigured mutations of the common pig. Nearly 
as cowardly as the Blind Dog, the Flesh scampers about the Cordon area 
with nearly human motivations. One of the few mutant animals to retain 
their former eating habits, Fleshes do feast on grass and plants for 
the most part. However, when suitable vegetation becomes scarce, these 
creatures will attack humans. Not particularly strong or overly common, 
Fleshes do pose a threat to the inexperienced stalker. 

WILD BOARS are disease-ridden boars who have lost much of their fur and 
gained a sizable temper instead. Dwelling inside the bushes and brush 
of the Cordon area, the boars often live or travel in packs. They are 
extremely territorial and extremely resilient. Even the most well-
equipped stalkers avoid fighting unnecessary battles with these mutant 
beasts - full clips of ammunition can be expended just trying to punch 
through the thick, scabby hide of these boars.

THE MILITARY is a controversial organization to stalkers. Some stalkers 
avoid all contact with the military, preferring to live and let live. 
Other stalkers possess an intense hatred for them, treating them as 
little more than thieves and bandits in uniform. Whatever your 
motivation, let it be known that there are few stalkers who are not 
attacked on sight by the military. A few members may speak and even 
trade with stalkers when alone or off-duty, and there are a few 
contingents who may be somehow convinced to let you pass certain 
checkpoints (usually by paying a hefty bribe), but for the most part it 
does not matter what you think of the military. They will attack on 
sight and it is absolutely certain that there will be multiple 
situations in which you will be forced to fire back. On the upside, the 
military often carries useful weapons and items that some stalkers 
swear by. 

BANDITS are criminals. Many stalkers consider them little better than 
vultures. They hide in the shadows, waiting for trouble to brew. After 
the conflagration dies down, the bandits move in and pick the corpses 
clean. Though these stalkers are grouped together, there are actually 
multiple gangs and clans that may do battle amongst themselves. 
Perceived as weaklings, they are still forces to be contended with - 
especially if you're a rookie stalker with little more than a pistol 
and a knife. There are many bandits in the Zone - some stalkers joke 
about how they wonder if they're somehow cloning themselves - but most 
stalkers can defend themselves from them as soon as they get their 
hands on some automatic weaponry. Bandits are very territorial and will 
send wave upon wave of reinforcements to take back areas they have 
lost. 

ANOMALIES are not sentient beings, but they almost appear malevolent in 
their choice of spawning grounds. Most stalkers have an array of tools 
they can use to spot these "glitches" in the fabric of reality. Apart 
from the visual clues that can be spotted by the naked eye or using 
binoculars (distortions in the air, swirling dust, pulsing waves of 
energy), most PDAs used by stalkers will beep when around an anomaly. 
The closer you get to the anomaly, the faster and louder it will beep. 
Some stalkers still swear by their bolts. When weaving through an area 
thick with anomalies, you can try tossing bolts to figure out where it 
is safe to walk.

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