Fallout 3: Character Builds

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Fallout 3 has a familiar system of characters developing. You start with a fixed amount of points which can be invested in several main attributes called S.P.E.C.I.A.L. These characteristics affect your skills and main statistics, e.g. amount of health points and action ones. Skills also can be increased by investing points on each new level. There are various other ways of modifying S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes and skills, as well. We will cover them later.

This article is designed for players who want to get hints on creating well-balanced heroes. The list of builds includes specific characters and strategies as well as the best possible one called Almost Perfect. But we want to start with some basic things that are important for understanding further details. The first paragraph is kind of a universal guide so we strongly recommend reading it.

Basic rules

As for universal hints, we have them! These rules are related only to S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes so far as perks are described in our other guide titled «Fallout 3: Perks», obviously.

  1. Strength or ST. This attribute is the best choice for all melee fighters.
  2. Perception or PE. It can help both in battles and dialogues, so 7 will be good here.
  3. Endurance or EN. It defines a number of your health points, so set it to 5 or 6.
  4. Charisma or CH. It’s a crucial attribute for social characters and it’s useless for others.
  5. Intelligence or IN. The best available feature at all, so set it to 9 from the start.
  6. Agility or AG. It defines a number of action points, so keep it not less than 6.
  7. Luck or LK. Probably, the worst attribute, you even can set it to 1.

Sure, for each type of character you want different key attributes. Means, peaceful merchants can invest in CH and LK when brutal murderers will raise their ST and EN. Just remember that IN is the best attribute of any build!

Also, there is another category of changeable characteristics. Yes, we talk about skills. Here we have some basic universal hints on modifying skills, similar to attributes.

  • Tier 1: Barter, Repair, Medicine.

These skills are crucial for every post-apocalyptic adventurer. Barter allows you to get tons of caps for each trade, so you will have money always. Repair is useful so far as you can maintain armor and weapons on your own without using repair services. Medicine simply increases the efficiency of healing, that’s cool!

  • Tier 2: Lockpick, Science, Speech.

Here we have two similar skills. Lockpick allows you to successfully unlock doors or locked chests. Science works the same way but with terminals. As for us, doors are easier to unlock than terminals but it depends on each player. Speech has the only benefit as you gain additional phrases in dialogues that can be helpful during some quests.

  • Tier 3: Explosives, Sneak.

These skills are much worse than previous ones. You will not use explosive weapons for sure unless you are a real maniac! However, Sneak suits stealth playthrough very well but you have to invest a lot of points for the best effect. We don’t recommend such skills for regular well-balanced characters but you can take them for unusual and exotic heroes. 

  • Optional: Unarmed, Melee Weapons, Small Guns. Big Guns, Energy Weapons.

This tier means you should tag at least one of these skills if you are going to fight. All of these features relate to a certain type of weapon. The most useful skill for a well-balanced hero is Small Guns or Big Guns for early game and Energy Weapons for late game. Unarmed and Melee Weapons are only for characters with high EN.

Sample characters

Here are builds for different characters. We will cover only basic examples without weird heroes created by players. You can easily find unusual options but we recommend trying to create your own hero. It’s much more interesting!

Well, let’s discover cool builds without further ado:

  • Brawler – for fans of close range battles.

Recommended attributes. There are two types of Brawlers. Melee one should increase his ST for high damage, LK for crits, and EN for large health pool. An unarmed Brawler wants good LK for crits again as well as high EN for HP, resistance, and damage.

Recommended perks. They are the same for both subtypes. Take Ninja and Silent Running for stealth playthrough, Better Criticals and Finesse for more critical hits, Iron Fist for better damage, and Toughness for higher resistances.

Recommended skills. For melee playstyle, you should increase Melee Weapons and for unarmed battles it’s better to take Unarmed. However, Medicine will be pretty useful for both subtypes as it increases the efficiency of stimpaks.

Recommended weapons. Shishkebab for melee and Deathclaw gauntlet for unarmed.

  • Casual – for everybody who just wants to finish the main storyline.

Recommended attributes. Decrease your CH and LK to invest more points in ST, PE, EN, IN, and AG. As usual, raise IN up to 9, so you will have a lot of skill points. Don’t lower ST, EN, and AG below 5 as these attributes are important for comfortable play.

Recommended perks. Take Strong Back to carry more valuables and Action Boy or Action Girl to feel comfortable in V.A.T.S. mode. This system works better with Commando and Gunslinger, as well. Toughness and Raid Resistance will lower the damage you receive.

Recommended skills. So far as you enjoy the game without significant challenges, you can take any skills. Use our guide with tiers described above to unlock the most helpful skills. Barter, Repair, and Medicine are cool, you know.

Recommended weapons. Choose what you like depending on skills.

  • Diplomat – for those who want to be the master of words.

Recommended attributes. The key attribute for all Diplomats is CH. Increase it as much as possible but don’t forget about IN. 6 points in CH is the minimum for you. Other attributes are equal, however, you want to take some EN or LK to survive in tough fights.

Recommended perks. Almost all features are based on your CH. Take Animal Friend to protect yourself from wild beasts and Master Trader to purchase items at a lower price. The child at Heart will help in conversations with kids. 

Recommended skills. Hey, you are a Diplomat, so increase Speech and Barter to the maximum. You will be surprised how many problems can be solved when you have 90+ points in Speech. Some battle skills related to guns may be useful too. 

Recommended weapons. Normally, you will not use weapons but small guns are cool.

  • First-Person Shooter – for haters of V.A.T.S.

Recommended attributes. IN is the most valuable skill even for fighters so far as you want more skill points. LK and ST can help in battles and during long travels through the Capital Wasteland. AG isn’t the best attribute, however, you want it for some perks.

Recommended perks. To gain more loot, be sure to take Fortune Finder and Scrounger. Skills related to AG include Light Step and Silent Running. They are cool for safe movement. Of course, unlock some battle perks like Commando or Cyborg.

Recommended skills. This build is all about fights without V.A.T.S., so you want to strongly increase one or two battle skills depending on your preferences. Take also Repair as your weapons will degrade very fast.

Recommended weapons. Again, it’s up to you which guns to develop.

  • Monk – for true roleplayers.

Recommended attributes. It’s important to have at least 4 points invested in ST for key perks. EN is pretty crucial for Monks too. Other attributes can be developed as you wish but pay close attention to IN, as usual.

Recommended perks. Obtain Rad Regeneration during Moira’s quest for Megaton or locate Oasis and get Barkskin there. Iron Fist is extremely vital, unlock all ranks of this perk. Try to increase your durability with related perks.

Recommended skills. Tag Unarmed, Sneak, and Medicine. But you can develop other skills such as Speech or Barter. Repair and all battle skills except Unarmed are useless. There are mixed builds with Monk and Brawler features. 

Recommended weapons. Post-nuclear Monks don’t use weapons!

  • Scavenger – for brave explorers of the Capital Wasteland.

Recommended attributes. Scavengers are some kind of hermits, so you will interact with people only when trading. Better raise your ST, EN, and PE to survive in abandoned areas. Also, invest a few extra points in LK.

Recommended perks. All features must help you in exploring. Daddy’s Boy or Daddy’s Girl is cool when it comes to hacking terminals. Gun Nut increases your Repair skill which is the main one for Scavengers. Scrounger allows you to find more loot and it’s perfect!

Recommended skills. Lockpick and Science let you infiltrate into protected areas and unlock doors or terminals, respectively. Repair and Barter are wonderful for trading so far as you can fix up old items and sell them for more caps. Small Guns is the best weapon based skill.

Recommended weapons. All types of small guns suit this build.

  • Sniper – for V.A.T.S.-oriented fighters.

Recommended attributes. Your key feature here is AG as it defines a number of action points available. Raise this attribute to 9 from the start and try to find its bobblehead. LK and IN will be also helpful but AG is the key.

Recommended perks. Grab Concentrated Fire at level 18 as it is crucial for this build. Before this level take Action Boy or Action Girl, Sniper, Commando and Gunslinger. These perks can greatly increase your efficiency in battles.

Recommended skills. Snipers use big guns and energy weapons so skills related to these types are your choice. Don’t forget about Repair which helps to deal with high deterioration in V.A.T.S. mode. Other skills are optional.

Recommended weapons. Sniper rifles or medium energy weapons are superb here.

  • Stealth man – for silent invisible killers.

Recommended attributes. AG and PE are your friends. Focus on them as these attributes affect key skills for this build. IN is cool too due to its effect on skill points. Battle-related characteristics are almost useless.

Recommended perks. Thief and Silent Running were designed for Stealth men as they allow you to remain undetected. Better Critical and Finesse help in combats increasing your damage from critical hits and their chance. Light Step isn’t crucial but it’s pretty nice too.

Recommended skills. It’s obvious that Sneak must be increased to the maximum. Also, raise Lockpick and Science to deal with doors and terminals. Repair and Explosives are useful when it comes to disarming different traps.

Recommended weapons. Use silent guns or melee weapons for better crits.

  • Warmonger – for weapon maniacs and death machines.

Recommended attributes. Maximize AG for action points and LK for critical shots. EN is pretty valuable as it affects Big Guns. Also, the importance of IN for this build is quite lower. Better invest extra points in ST.

Recommended perks. All battle- and gun-related features are beneficial. You can check our article «Fallout 3: Perks» to find which items unlock primarily. Exact perks depend on your playstyle and preferred types of weapons. 

Recommended skills. You may be surprised but Warmongers have to develop all weapon based skills listed in our Optional tier above. However, Melee Weapons and Unarmed aren’t as important as other skills from this list. Oh, Repair is also good.

Recommended weapons. Everything, literally!

And don’t forget that you are free to mix all of the listed above builds. Create your unique character that suits your own playstyle.

The most ideal build

If you want to create the best hero with maximized attributes and skills we have a universal recipe. This one requires Broken Steel DLC installed at least. It will be easier to create your Almost Perfect character with all add-ons, although. Here is a detailed guide:

  1. Increase your IN to 9 at the beginning. Other attributes aren’t important at all but you can raise AG or EN. Just be sure not to lower features below 5.
  2. Move to Rivet City directly after leaving Vault 101. Find the Science lab and pick up the bobblehead «Intelligence» there. Try to remain at level 1 or 2.
  3. Unlock Educated perk at level 4 to maximize available skill points. It’s really important to take this feature at this level!
  4. Unlock Comprehension perk at next level but only after you have Educated feature. This perk rewards you with double amount of skill points received from books.
  5. Unlock Almost Perfect perk at level 30 and don’t collect any bobbleheads before this moment. Collect them only after you have this feature to increase all attributes to 10.

Well, that’s all. The thing is that Almost Perfect increases all S.P.E.C.I.A.L. features to 9 and bobbleheads grant the last point for each attribute. That’s why you shouldn’t take any bobblehead except «Intelligence» before unlocking the described perk. To maximize all skills you only should read skill books with Comprehension perk unlocked. As a result, you will get an ultimate hero with all attributes increased to 10 and all skills – to 100.

Good luck in building your wonderful character!

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