Now that I feel like I have mastered the first two Fallout Games, I'd like to share some tips for newbies. I was just like you, not knowing how to truly play the game like a pro. But thanks to the advice I got from my "I Have Questions About Fallout 1 and 2" thread, I now feel that I have mastered the game. From testing certain builds, I have discovered that some are much more powerful and viable than others. I have some notes in a booklet that I made for all the builds I have planned for the Fallout games I have on my computer. (I don't meet the requirements for Fallout 4) Due to the lack of perks that truly benefit one combat skill, it is recommended that you build your character to attack from either long range or melee. I have notes for four builds for Fallout 1 and 2 that I believe are the best in the game, three of which are more powerful than any other in the game. The fourth which is done primarily for a humourous challenge Those builds are: Sniper Burst Fire Melee Dimwit Snipers and Melee characters use targeted attacks to inflict high damage. Burst Fire builds focus on firing multiple rounds at once to inflict as much damage as possible, damage with this build can reach even greater heights than the sniper and melee can dream of. The only three traits worth taking are Gifted, Small Frame, and Fast Shot. Snipers and Melee take Gifted and Small Frame. Burst Fire characters take Gifted and Fast Shot. Since burst shots cannot be aimed, the penalty of Fast Shot can be ignored. Small Frame increases agility by one at the cost of carry weight, but that can be easily solved. Gifted increases all S.P.E.C.I.A.L stats by one, but reduces the skill points earned per level by five. Dimwits shouldn't take Gifted because it reduces the skill points you get from leveling up and you get less skill points per level due to low intelligence. The best combat skills to tag at the beginning are Small Guns and Melee Weapons. This is due to the fact that these weapons are more abundant in the early and mid stages of the game, much more than the others. Energy Weapons and Big Guns don't start coming until later in the game. The only unarmed weapon worth using is the Power Fist. In Fallout 2, unarmed also has the Mega Power Fist. The best non-combat skill to tag is Speech which is very useful in many situations. Unless of course you are a dimwit, so instead you should tag another skill, such as yet another combat skill. Like many other RPG's, you should use the most powerful armor for the best protection to help you survive and the most powerful weapon to deal with the opposition easily. Since the most powerful small guns don't deal enough damage against the toughest enemies and some of the more powerful melee weapons knock your foes back, forcing you to chase after them which drains your action points, I recommend you switch to a more powerful weapon skill later on in the game. Tag this secondary attack skill at the start of the game. Snipers and Burst Fire characters should tag small guns at the start and melee characters should tag melee weapons at the start. Snipers should also tag energy weapons, burst fire characters tag big guns, and melee characters tag unarmed. It is easier for a dimwit to go through the game using mainly long range. The most powerful guns that allow targeted shots are in the energy weapons category. Big Guns are better for burst fire shots due to small guns with burst fire modes not dealing enough damage or firing off enough rounds per shot, and the Gatling Laser from energy weapons has its damage reduced by armor, even if critical hits are dealt. Unarmed weapons are better endgame for the melee character because they do not knock your foes back. The best big guns are the machine guns due to firing off a lot of rounds per attack, making them much more powerful when combined with bonus ranged damage. Rocket Launchers have too much collateral damage potential to yourself, your allies, and neutral npcs, plus they need to be reloaded after every shot, so it is not a practical weapon. Neither is the flamer which has a very short range and the ammo is too heavy to carry in large amounts, even with max strength and perks that increase carry weight. Plasma energy weapons are better for the sniper because their damage is not as resisted as much by armor. While you can make a sniper that uses only small guns, burst fire characters using only small guns, or even switching to energy weapons, they will never be as effective as if you use big guns for burst fire or energy weapons for snipers, such as against the tougher foes in both games, such as robots, deathclaws, enclave soldiers, or the final boss of Fallout 2. What I suggest above are the most effective ways to build each type of character and what combat skills are best suited for them for maximum damage effectiveness. In Short: Melee: Melee Weapons and Unarmed Burst Fire: Small Guns and Big Guns Sniper: Small Guns and Energy Weapons Dimwit: Small Guns and Big Guns Even when you make the switch to a more powerful weapon skill, you can still use your original combat skill in some situations. For example, snipers can still use a sniper rifle for its extreme long range to pick off foes from a great distance. Melee characters can still use a melee weapon to conserve small energy cells for the power fist. And burst fire characters should use a pistol for ammo conservation purposes because using a minigun to kill a rat would be overkill (and a waste of ammo). Use books to raise First Aid, Repair, Science, and Outdoorsman. If you can, you can also use books to raise your Small Guns skill. This can save you skill points in the long run, especially if you have low intelligence, though you may need to rely on your companions to fight for you at the start if you choose to do this. Lockpick and Doctor are also good skills to raise, though doctor is much more important in Fallout 2 if you want to get the combat implants. Speech is also very important in both games, unless you are a dimwit. Also, set the difficulty to hard to reduce your skills so you can take advantage of extra points gained from reading books. Gambling and Barter aren't really worth investing in as you can actually set the difficulty to easy to exploit the extra 20 points added to your skills and use that to gamble and buy items at lower prices. This is especially true in Fallout 1 where you can gamble at the roulette tables to earn fast money and then spend it on buying equipment, repeating as necessary. In Fallout 1, the only perks worth taking are Action Boy, Sniper, Slayer, Bonus Move, Awareness, Bonus Rate of Fire, Bonus Hth Attacks, and Bonus Ranged Damage. Bonus Rate of Fire and Sniper are for long range attackers while Slayer and Bonus Hth Attacks are for those who fight in melee. Bonus Move is more useful for melee characters because they need to get close to their enemies to attack. Bonus Ranged Damage is more useful for burst fire characters because the extra damage is applied to each individual attack, so a minigun firing 40 rounds would deal an additional 160 points of damage. Another good perk to consider is Strong Back which increases your carry weight, especially good if you've taken Small Frame. In Fallout 2, you can get Living Anatomy which increases your damage by 5, Quick Pockets which reduces the AP cost of opening your inventory in combat, and Pack Rat which gives a further bonus to carry weight. In both games, if playing a dimwit, you will need two mentats to get Bonus Rate of Fire. In Fallout 2, you have a higher level cap so you can get more perks. Which means that as a melee character you can also add Action Boy to your list while also getting Bonus Move. Same with burst fire builds where you can get Action Boy together with both ranks of Bonus Ranged Fire. According to my notes, here is how you should prepare your character: Traits Sniper and Melee: Gifted and Small Frame Burst Fire: Gifted and Fast Shot Dimwit: Fast Shot and Small Frame It is recommended to only set your stats to what you need to qualify for the recommended perks when you get upgrades and implants, no more, using drugs if you go for less. What I like to do is set my stats to the minimum needed plus upgrades from implants to qualify for perks. Going lower than this recommendation to use drugs for temporary boosts is more for more experienced and expert players. Strength - minimum of 4 or max of 6 in Fallout 1. 4 or 5 in Fallout 2. Choose the maximum value if you are making a melee character for the bonus of damage. Use implants and power armor to max it by end game. Perception - 5 or 7 for long ranged builds as you need 8 for Sniper. If you choose the higher value, get the implant. If you use the lesser value, you'll need mentats together with the implant. Melee characters should start with 5 and get the implant in order to get Better Criticals. Endurance - 3 or 5 in Fallout 1, 3 or 6 in Fallout 2. You need 6 for Strong Back. Using the lesser value will require you to use buffout. Dimwits can put all their remaining points here. In Fallout 1, if you really want to put stat points elsewhere, you can go as low as 2 and then use buffout together with the implant which you need to get as soon as possible, but you would be quite fragile like a glass cannon, so I wouldn't recommend it. Charisma - variable. There are charisma checks. In Fallout 2, this is more important due to being able to build a bigger party. Whatever points you have left from setting your other stats should go here. If playing a dimwit, set it to 1 since you won't be using speech. Intelligence - minimum of 4 for a normal game. Only set it lower for laughs and dimwit builds. 6 is needed for Bonus Rate of Fire. You might even want to set it to 9 and get the intelligence implant for maximum skill points. In Fallout 2, you can get a bonus from the Hubologists in San Francisco as long as you didn't get a bonus from the Hubologist in NCR. As a dimwit, set it to a maximum of 3 and don't get any intelligence upgrades if you start with 3. If playing melee and planning to get the NCR alignment, max it at the start. Agility - minimum of 4, 8 is needed for Slayer and Sniper, though you might want to start with 9 and get the agility implant to get the maximum number of action points. Starting with a minimum of 4 and getting the bonus will require the use of buffout and psycho to get the maximum of 10 for maximum action points. Luck - You can get a bonus to luck from Chuck in the Boneyard so start with 9 if you are a long range character or 5 if you are a melee character. This is because Slayer allows all your attacks to become critical hits whereas Sniper uses a luck check, so a luck of 10 with Sniper allows all attacks to become critical. In Fallout 2, you can increase your luck by 2 in NCR from the Hubologist or 1 in San Francisco by the Hubologists, but you can only get one bonus. So in Fallout 2, set your luck to either 8 or 9 as a long ranged character, or 4 or 5 as a melee character. Here is the recommended SPECIAL settings for your characters assuming you take the recommended traits, get the implants, and do not rely on drugs to qualify for perks in Fallout 1: Sniper S-6 P-7 E-5 C-3 I-9 A-9 L-9 Burst Fire S-6 P-7 E-5 C-2 I-9 A-9 L-9 Melee S-6 P-5 E-5 C-9 I-9 A-9 L-5 Dimwit S-6 P-7 E-6 C-1 I-2 A-9 L-9 For Fallout 2: Sniper S-5 P-7 E-6 C-4 I-8 (Hubologist) 9 (NCR) A-9 L-8 (NCR) 9 (Hubologist) Burst Fire S-5 P-7 E-6 C-3 I-8 (Hubologist) 9 (NCR) A-9 L-8 (NCR) 9 (Hubologist) Melee S-5 P-5 E-6 C-9 I-9 (Hubologist) 10 (NCR) A-9 L-4 (NCR) 5 (Hubologist) Dimwit S-5 P-7 E-7 C-1 I-2 (Hubologist) 3 (NCR) A-9 L-8 (NCR) 9 (Hubologist) Obviously, Fallout 2 characters who choose to get the NCR alignment should start with 8 luck and a maximum of 9 intelligence, while those who get the Hubologist alignment should start with 9 luck and a maximum of 8 intelligence, unless of course they are going to be built for melee combat since it's practically impossible to get into the Sierra Depot where the intelligence module is because of those turrets. So if making a melee character, start with a maximum of 10 if you plan to get the NCR alignment, or 9 if going for the Hubologist alignment. Depending on your build, the only stats worth maxing endgame are Strength, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. Strength increases damage in melee combat and your carry weight. Intelligence increases skill points per level up. Agility increases action points. Luck increase critical chance. If playing as a dimwit, you'll need to use mentats in order to get Bonus Rate of Fire in both games. In the first game, Mentats can also be useful to gain entry to the Brotherhood of Steel and get all the implants. Starting with two allows you to still remain stupid even after getting the intelligence implant. In the second game, mentats can be useful for getting the car, and being able to communicate in the EPA so you can get the bonus to agility (be sure to fix the computer to activate the robots before talking to the hologram in power armor because you won't be able to pass the speech checks with him). You can get mentats for free from the professor in Broken Hills, though you may have to kill Skeeter to get the car part, then use the mentats to talk to Smitty and get the car, but make sure you have enough money to pay him for the repairs. Don't use mentats too often, otherwise it ruins the point of a dimwit playthrough. Finally, as in all RPG's, the farther you go from where you start, the stronger your enemies become. So stay close to home doing quests to gain experience and level up your character before venturing farther. Most of the random encounters where you fight enemies are too tough for you in the beginning until you can get better weapons, armor, and more followers. So in Fallout 1, first go to Shady Sands, then to Vault 15. If you want to be an evil character, join the Khans before Tandi is kidnapped. Otherwise if you want to be good, enter the camp after Tandi is kidnapped and ransom for her release. Then go to Junktown, do the good or evil quests there, then head to the Hub and so on. Also, it is recommended that you gain entry to the Brotherhood as soon as possible so you can get the endurance implant for Strong Back, or you can take buffout. Until you get strong enough to deal with enemies such as the super mutants in Necropolis or the raiders in the Khan camp, you'll need to avoid combat with those enemies and rely on speech to talk your way out of fighting. In Fallout 2, do the minor quests in Arroyo and then go to Klamath and do the quests there. Then go to the Den. Then if you want, go to Redding to get some goodies then to Modoc, Vault City, and Gecko. Once you get the car, you can start going farther down south to Broken Hills, New Reno, and the New California Republic. Then if you want, you can go to San Francisco and do the Brotherhood quest to get Advanced Power Armor. In both games, remember to upgrade your weapons and armor whenever you get the chance. Even if making a sniper, you can use burst fire weapons early if you need a damage boost. In Fallout 1, the easiest way to reach the maximum level is to kill the deathclaws in the adytum warehouse, as they respawn every hour. In Fallout 2, the best place to level up is the area north of San Francisco and southeast of Navarro. One last thing though. Being evil in Fallout 2 makes the game more difficult, accomplishing certain goals for example such as getting into Vault 13, so I recommend that you hold off on doing quests that have a solution that gives evil karma until much later, such as after you get much more powerful armor and weapons. If you want, you can go get power armor from Navarro immediately after getting the car and San Francisco on your map. If planning to become a slaver, hold off on doing so until later as certain quests are locked out if you become one, for example, gaining access to the Wright quests, the Sierra Army Depot (if you can't find the map in Golgotha), etc. Also, due to the fact that you need to pass the Vault City Citizenship test to become a citizen if you plan to blow up the Gecko Power Plant, you should get and use mentats to increase perception and intelligence as they are both required to be at 9 together with 9 luck to pass the test (and make sure to remove that 6th toe if you did get it). If you are a melee character, you might want to just fix the power plant to become a Vault City citizen if you are playing an evil character. Becoming a citizen of Vault City is important if you want to get access to Combat Implants without turning Vault City hostile. But if playing an evil melee character and you don't mind slaughtering that bigoted town, go ahead and destroy the plant, then come back and wipe out Vault City after getting more powerful weapons and power armor. If playing Fallout 1 and planning to do the evil quests that can increase negative reputation, it is recommended that you hold off on completing those evil quests until you have gained access to the Brotherhood and gained power armor and all the shopkeepers and dealers are willing to trade with you. In the future, check this part of the thread for notes on how to make each build.