Fallout 101: Character Creation Guide

Character creation has always been my favorite part of the RPG system. It's just fun creating and playing different types of characters. Whether it be a cunning rogue, a brutish fighter, or a boisterous gunslinger. I've probably created tons of characters for table-top and desktop RPGs, from Dungeons & Dragons to Fallout. Now, I have another game to tinker with: Fallout 3.

Fallout's character creation/development system isn't as complex as other RPG systems, like D&D for example. But, I know, a lot of people are new to this game. So, to help those guys out, I decided to write this quick guide on how to create a character.

Fallout's attributes are special. By that I meant Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agiility and Luck (S.P.E.C.I.A.L.). These attributes, like in all RPGs, affects other game mechanics. In Fallout 3, these includes the dialogue, skills and abilities such as critical hits.
I don't recommend increasing the attributes past 9 points. The reason because there are bobble heads scattered throughout The Capital Wasteland that will permanently increase your attributes by one. So if you throw 10 points on Agility, the Agility bobble head will be wasted.

  • Strength
Skill Bonuses: + to Melee Weapons
Abilities Affected: Increases Carry Weight and Melee/Unarmed Damage

Max Points Suggested: 5
Min Points Suggested: 1

If you don't mind carrying small amount of loot, or constantly traveling to a merchant to unload your junk, a point here would do. But if you want heavy weaponry, like missile launchers and flamethrowers, then this is a must because you need to be strong to be able to carry all the big guns. Plus, since big gun ammo is a bit scarce in The Capital Wasteland, a bonus to melee weapons is nice if you want to resort to using your sledgehammer.
  • Perception
Skill Bonuses: + to Energy Weapons, Explosives and Lock Picks
Abilities Affected: Faster Threat Detection
Max Points Suggested: 7

Min Points Suggested: 4

A good number of points in Perception is very useful, especially to a sneaky character, since it immediately marks a red line in your compass if there's any threat. But if you're the run and gun type, who prefers an all-out frontal assault with all guns drawn, then you don't need much points in here. Unless you're the Rambo type who uses a laser gun and a lot of grenades.
  • Endurance
Skill Bonuses: + to Big Guns and Unarmed
Abilities Affected: Increases Hit Points and Resistances
Max Points Suggested: 6
Min Points Suggested: 2
If you're a long range fighter, who likes to snipe enemies from afar, then you don't really need much points in here. But if you prefer to fight at close range, or often utilize melee weapons due to lack of ammo, then throw some points in here because you'll need a lot of hit points. Endurance also increases your skills in Big Guns. So, throw some points here if you use weapons like miniguns or missile launchers
  • Charisma
Skill Bonuses: + to Speech and Barter
Abilities Affected: Improves People's Disposition
Max Points Suggested: 8
Min Points Suggested: 4

Charisma was an entertaining attribute in Fallout 1 & 2. Sadly, since my character has a fairly low Charisma, I couldn't say if it's the same with Fallout 3. But I suspect it is. So if you want to have some interesting dialogues, then dump a lot of points in here. If you can't spare the points, keep it at 4 at least so people won't hate you that much.
  • Intelligence
Skill Bonuses: + to Medicine, Repair and Science
Abilities Affected: Increases Number of Skill Points
Max Points Suggested: 9

Min Points Suggested: 4

Intelligence increases the number of your skill points every level up. So I suggest that you should increase this early in the game. If you start out with 9 points on Intelligence, you can immediately increase it to 10 if you get the bobble head at the start of the game. That'll leave you with 20 skill points every level up. But if you don't want to be a skilled person, then 4 points in here would suffice.
  • Agility
Skill Bonuses: + to Small Guns and Sneak
Abilities Affected: Increases Number of Action Points
Max Points Suggested: 8

Min Points Suggested: 5

Agility is the most useful attribute since it increases your action points. AP is used for VATS, a really cool and effective targeting system, which I highly recommend to all gun wielders. The more AP you have the more you can use the VATS. So put a lot of points in here. Unless you want to play Fallout 3 like first person shooter game.
  • Luck
Skill Bonuses: + to All Skills
Abilities Affected: Improves Chance of a Critical Hit
Max Points Suggested: 7

Min Points Suggested: 3

Luck isn't really that important nor useless. So it's up to you if you want it or don't. But it's good to have a few points in here if you like to be a "one shot, one kill" since it increases your chances to have a critical hit.
There are a lot of skills to choose from in Fallout 3. A select few are necessary, most are pretty fun to use, and a couple of them are just entirely useless. So, to make it easier, I grouped the skills you need and want into two: Priority and Secondary Skills.

Priority Skills
These skills are essential and will make the game much fun and easier for you. Also these are the skills that you should consider tagging. Tagged skills have 15 points bonus. You can choose up to 3 skills to tag at the GOAT exam in Vault 101.
  • Lock Pick, Science and Speech
There are plenty of computers to be hacked, locked doors to be opened and stupid people to coerce in The Capital Wasteland. So Lock Pick, Science and Speech are the skills you'll often use. They have great benefits and rewards. Like getting better loot, avoiding enemies or getting out of a fight, coercing useful information from people, and getting into places where you shouldn't be. So, if you can, dump a lot of points in these three skills as early as you can.
  • Melee, Unarmed or Small Guns (pick one)
Energy Weapons and Big Guns are scarce in parts and ammo. So I don't recommend you take those as your method of attacks early in the game. Instead, choose Small Guns or Melee and Unarmed Attack. Small Guns include pistols and rifles, and there's plenty of them to be found early in the game. If you plan to carry heavy weapons in the middle of the game, Unarmed or Melee are the best attack skill early on.
Secondary Skills
There are skills in the game that will help you out a lot. Although it's not necessary, or even advisable, for you to dump points in here until you've maxed your priority skills. But when you do, then it's time to put those skill points on these skills.
  • Repair
Unless you fight with your bare hands and travel the Wasteland naked, then you won't need this skill. Other than that Repair is a very useful skill as it keeps your weapons and armor in pristine condition. Weapons and armors that are worn out are less effective in combat (less damage and protection). So if you want that sniper rifle or that power armor to be in top shape and fully operational, dump points on Repair as soon as you can. Unless you fight with your bare hands, then you don't need it.
  • Sneak
A highly recommended skill if you're the sniper/assassin type. Combined with the Bloody Mess perk and a high chance of Critical Hit, this thing is a lot of fun doing a sneak attack criticals on the enemies. But other than that, it's not really necessary since there are a lot of Stealth Boys around if you really need to be sneaky.
  • Energy Weapons and Big Guns
I'm happy with my Lincoln's Repeater Rifle. But from time to time, I'm tempted to use a Minigun and tear my enemies into small ribbons of meat, or a laser rifle to reduce my enemies into a pile of dust. But both weapons are not necessary. Especially at the beginning of the game since ammo are scarce for both weapon types. But if you want to indulge yourself, go ahead.
Useless Skill
Barter is the only useless skill I can think of. I don't have the skill but I have 10,000 caps right, and I don't know what to do with it. So don't invest in here.

So there it is, my quick-start character creation guide for Fallout 3. If I finish the game, I promise to write a detailed guide on how to create a Small Gun specialist. So keep an eye on that one.

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gillboard said...

Dammit. No xbox means no Fallout 3. This is depressing.

But thanks for the tips though. 3 more weeks, then I'm good.

Lightorius said...

I have it on PC and it is very decent.

No need to buy an Xbox for this epic title.

scott said...

Fallout uses the Oblivion engine.. it looks good on an xb360, but much better on a PS3.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for these tips. They've been very useful.