Fallout: Character Creation

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While Fallout is pretty hardcore, it allows a wide range of character customization, not restricting you to any certain playstyle. Still, there are some no-nos that should be avoided in a no-death challenge.

Stats[edit | edit source]

In regards to stats, many guides set the goal to get the total max by utulizing every possible in-game way (operations, memory modules, etc) - powergaming. This is not what PIH is about. It is about:

  • getting through the game without reloads (and/or cheats and exploits)
  • enjoying that

It's more important what stats do you have throughout the game, than at the end of it. So don't be surprised that Power Armor strength bonus is not mentioned here.

Strength[edit | edit source]

Strength affects starting HP, carry weight, melee damage. In Fallout 2, also affects the special Unarmed maneuvers. Any character will want to eschew this as much as possible; gunmen might want at least 5 to be able to utilize rifles or the Magnum .44 properly. Meleers do not want to raise this stat much at all, either; Melee and Unarmed weapons generally have low ST requirements, the most efficient Unarmed maneuver in Fallout 2 (Haymaker) requires only 5 Strength, and Strength's impact on melee performance is actually extremely miniscule.

Perception[edit | edit source]

Affects sequence, shooting range and has some use in quests/dialogues. At least 5 is required, or else most enemies will have a double turn at the beginning of the fight against you. Any gunfighter type will require at least 6, for Bonus Rate of Fire perk.

Endurance[edit | edit source]

Increases starting HP and HP per level, radiation/poison resistance and offsets some critical hits made to you and misses made by you. Having a good HP pool is paramount, because at times enemies score tremendous critical hits. Truth be told, many of those crits will overwhelm even the highest HP pool, so you shouldn't rely on HP solely, but the extra defense is always nice to have. For maximum safety, though, you should rely as much as possible on not getting hit at all. Minimum is 6, 8 is safer, but really, you ought to make it 10 from the beginning.

Charisma[edit | edit source]

The traditional dump stat in many RPG games, it suffers the same fate here. In Fallout 2, it affects the number of followers you can recruit. In Fallout 1, not even that. The cases when you need raw Charisma probably can be counted by the fingers of a single hand. So don't bother, just dump it.

Intelligence[edit | edit source]

A minimum of 4 is required to have intelligent conversations, and at least 7-8 would provide a comfortable amount of skill points. 7 is also the minimum for most of the "smart" conversation options to maximize your Speech skill. But actually, go ahead and make it 10 from the start, especially if you use Gifted trait.

Agility[edit | edit source]

Agility is first and foremost a source of action points. So, if you enjoy doing bad things to bad people, rather than bad people doing bad things to you, you should max it as well.

Luck[edit | edit source]

Luck affects your critical chance, as well as usefulness one of the most wanted perks - Sniper. And, like Endurance, Luck also have effects on results of critical hits and misses. So, if you want a Jinxed build, you'll want to max it. 6 Luck is also a prerequisite for the Better Criticals perk, which is arguably the most efficient combat perk in the game.

Traits[edit | edit source]

You can choose up to two traits. The best trait is Gifted, usefullness of others depend on your chosen character build. Green is good, red is bad, and Jinxed is jinxed.

Perk Benefit Penalty Comment
Bloody Mess More violent death animations None Purely cosmetic. If you really don't want any other trait, might as well take this one.
Bruiser +2 Strength -2 Action Points You'll seriously gimp yourself with -2 AP. And for what? Strength is cheap.
Drug Reliant / Chem Reliant Faster recovery from addictions Twice the chance to become addicted In virtually no situation this will be useful.
Drug Resistant / Chem resistant Half the chance to get addicted Drug effects last half as long Same as Drug Reliant, never useful
Fast Metabolism +2 Healing Rate Poison Resistance and Radiation Resistance start at 0% With good enough endurance, it won't be noticeable, and you'll need good endurance anyway.
Fast Shot All throwing and firearm attacks cost 1 less AP Cannot do targeted shots Good choice if you plan to pack heavy weaponry.
Finesse +10% Critical chance -30% total damage Good for a precision character with high Luck
Gifted +1 to all SPECIAL stats -10% to all skills, 5 less skill points per level The absolute uber trait, to the point that it might be considered a cheat. You lose some skill points, but get an extra 1 to each stat.
Good Natured +15% to First Aid, Doctor, Speech, and Barter -10% to Big Guns, Small Guns, Energy Weapons, Throwing, Melee Weapons, and Unarmed When you don't know what to pick (and you already have Gifted), pick this. It will boost healing and talking skills at the cost of all combat skills. You certainly won't need all 6 of those, and you certainly will use all 4 of healing/talking at some point.
Heavy Handed +4 Melee Damage -30% modifier to the critical hit tables Good for a low to mid level meleer with low Luck, but when you get to Slayer, it will bite you in the rear. Note that the Melee Damage stat isn't a flat increase to your damage on every hit, but to the maximum damage potential on a damage roll. This makes it, in effect, an average damage increase of +2 per hit, which makes it even worse than it already is.
Jinxed 50% chance for any miss to upgrade to a criticall miss That affects you and your companions, too This is a real double edged sword. It will work fine, but only with very specific character builds.
Kamikaze +5 Sequence 0 natural Armor Class Decent Perception will provide you with good sequence anyway.
Night Person +1 Intelligence and +1 Perception at night (6pm to 6am) -1 Intelligence and -1 Perception at daytime It's very hard to navigate through Fallout areas at night. Have pity on your eyes.
One Hander +20% chance to hit with one-handed weapons -40% chance to hit with two-handed weapons Situational choice for a pistol man. Also works with all one handed Unarmed and Melee Weapons (but not bare fists). The 20% is a flat value on top of your skill points, which saves you a bunch of skill points and may make the early game less tedious.
Sex Appeal Better reaction from opposite sex characters Worse reaction from same sex characters Very little effect. Probably better if you play a woman.
Skilled +5 skill points per level Get perks every 4 levels instead of every 3 Top worst choice. Skill points are virtually unlimited, but you can get only so many perks. You can try to salvage this trait by delaying your level 4 perk and taking it at level 6 (to make use of the wider pool of perks) and delaying your level 8 perk to take it at level 9 (where Better Criticals is available). This means you effectively lose 1 perk every 12 levels to gain more skill points than any skill perk would allow, except for Tag!. You could still pick a better trait, though.
Small Frame +1 Agility Reduced Carry weight Powergamer's choice. More inventory tetris expected.

Skills[edit | edit source]

Skills are what most checks are run against in Fallout games. F1 features a straight scale, with a maximum of 200. F2 ups the max to 300, but introduces negative feedback scale, whereas increasing a skill by 1 at 100+ costs 2 skill points, at 125+ 3 skill points, etc. Tagged skills cost two times cheaper.

The general idea is that you tag some weapon skill, speech, and have one more tag left, which can be used to fit your chosen playstyle: Lockpick, Science, Gambling, or Big guns/Energy weapons.

Small guns[edit | edit source]

Your basic guns. Unless you go melee from the beginning, you'll want to up it to at least 100. To be a proper gunman, 130-150 is recommended. Good candidate for tagging.

Big guns[edit | edit source]

Heavy weaponry is only available in late game, so keep in mind that you will need another combat skill to couple with this.

Energy weapons[edit | edit source]

Same as Big Guns.

Unarmed[edit | edit source]

Generally not very convenient in hardcore runs, as it involves lots of running and taking damage. Furthermore, the ultimate weapon (Power Fist/Mega Power Fist) is available considerably late, and until that time you're running with Spiked Knuckles against machine guns.

For Fallout 2, this is a good choice for early game up until level 15, where the choice between Bonus Rate of Fire and Bonus HtH Attacks opens up and forces you to commit to one weapon style. Due to sheer amount of free training available (up to 55% with Lucas in Arroyo, another 10% from Cameron in Arroyo (difficult to obtain), and John Sullivan in Klamath, as well as a few other sources) you can raise this skill by a lot of points for free, even if untagged. The Unarmed training from Lucas will always bump your Unarmed to 55% if your AG is at least 6, so even a character with something like Good Natured and no early game weapon tags can have a reliable fighting skill in a few free skill ups and level ups. It also has use in quests, such as New Reno boxing and San Francisco karate fights.

Melee weapons[edit | edit source]

Although it is very similar to Unarmed, its base is 10% fewer points and the training from Jordan (the spearman in Arroyo) is a flat +10% boost to the skill and not an increase to a certain level. It's a solid midgame option thanks to the Cattle Prod, Louisville Slugger and Ripper being available earlier than the ultimate Unarmed weapons.

Throwing[edit | edit source]

Pretty useless skill, as grenade damage is low, and there aren't many of them anyway.

First aid[edit | edit source]

Not worthy spending any skill points. There are plenty off books, anyway. In F1, this can see some use, but in F2, it's easier to just rest.

Doctor[edit | edit source]

The only use is in F2, for a quest. You'll want to bump it to 75, that's enough. In F1, the only reason to increase it is if you play Jinxed and break limbs often.

Sneak[edit | edit source]

Sneak is a powerful tool for skipping dangerous encounters or resetting combat turns (most importantly to abuse stronger Sequence or to deliver multiple sneak attacks in a round). However, it doesn't leave very good feedback as to whether it works or not; if you are expecting your character to become transparent or ghostly if your Sneak skill is successful, it won't.

Potential cheese alert: A strong way to use this skill in an Ironman playthrough is to move out of sight of the enemies, press Sneak, and attempt to End Combat. You can retry it as often as you want by mashing the "1" button and the CMBT (End Combat) button; with enough resets you can brute force the success of the Sneak skill. This can save your life or trivialize a fight.

Lockpick[edit | edit source]

Locks are common enough, so you'll want to up it to about 80. With Lockpicks, that should be enough for any lock.

Steal[edit | edit source]

Although a good candidate for tagging in a normal playthrough, it's pretty useless on hardcore, because steal success chance is capped at about 95%, and a failed steal attempt usually means that everyone in the area will start attacking you. So unless you fancy slaughtering whole cities over a can of soda, you can't use steal at all.

Traps[edit | edit source]

There's only a handful of traps, and none are lethal. Skip.

Science[edit | edit source]

In F1, skip. In F2, about 100 is enough, unless you want to get the best version of Skynet in party. In that case, go for 120, and may spend a tag. Be mindful that although this skill has its uses, there is also nothing stopping you from levelling it up with books, especially in Fallout 1, where the Hub's library restocks infinitely.

Repair[edit | edit source]

Not many things require repair, there are plenty of books, and in F2 Vic handles it anyway. Skip.

Speech[edit | edit source]

There are many speech checks, so this is the most obvious candidate for a tag. Get it to some 120.

Barter[edit | edit source]

Money is plentiful. Skip. The skill actually has overtuned scaling in Fallout 1, allowing you to buy out merchant stock for pennies with just a few skillups, but the problem is that even if you somehow go broke, lavish riches are available with just a random encounter away.

Gambling[edit | edit source]

No reason to really ever use it, but you might fancy running around with full pockets of money, although that is a cheap tactic.

Outdoorsman[edit | edit source]

In F1, encounters aren't really dangerous. In F2, Sulik's skill is high from the beginning, and it also can be boosted with Motion Scanner. And don't forget the books. Skip.

Driving the car in Fallout 2 bolsters this skill. Trappers Slim and Smitty will bolster this skill in Klamath, and its effectiveness is hard capped, making it all the more dubious to tag.

Perks[edit | edit source]

Fallout Perks

Fallout 2 Perks



Back to Fallout.

Back to Fallout 2.