In Fallout, the decisions made when creating your character have a major impact on your options and survivability. Below, I show the steps for creating a character, and my recommendations. There are a few minor spoilers included in the text below, though nothing major (in my opinion, of course).


First off, never set a stat above 9 - every stat (even Charisma and Luck) can be increased by a point during the course of the game. Agility is your most important stat, followed by Intelligence. Between the two, they determine character growth, dialogue options, and the majority of your combat capability. In my opinion, the least important stats are Strength and Charisma. Between items and stat increase, your Strength is likely to rise four points during the course of the game. Charisma can be compensated for by reputation and high Speech/Bargain skills. The importance of the other stats is very dependent on your type of character.

Tag Skills:

Tag skills are the toughest part of the character creation process. The player needs to decide whether they are more interested in short-term survival or long-term effectiveness. While the particular ones you choose are dependent on your type of character, I have found that there are several that stand out (both good and bad).


Not Recommended:


While the manual states that traits have a mix of good and bad impact, there is one that seems to be the exception - Gifted. Gifted effectively gives you 7 extra points of stats at the cost of 10 points from each skill and 5 less skill points per level. The former can be overcome by a good selection of Tag skills, while the latter can be fixed by moving 3 of the 7 points into Intelligence. Three extra points of Intelligence gives +6 skill points/level, more than compensating for the skill point penalty. A must-have! The other notable traits are listed below.

Sample Character:

Below is the character I chose to play. I prefer characters that focus on long-term effectiveness, so my choices were made with that in mind.

Kestrel, Age 35 Male
ST 4 PE 7 EN 5 CH 4
IN 9 AG 9 LK 8  
Tag Skills:      
Energy Weapons Sneak Speech  
Gifted Chem Resistant    

For this character, I've taken (or plan to take) the following perks: Awareness, Silent Running, Bonus Rate of Fire, Lifegiver, Better Criticals, Sniper.

Final Notes (some spoilers):

Since the effectiveness of these choices is partially determined by your actions during the game, I have a few tips for gameplay. My chosen character bypassed most of Shady Sands (right after getting Ian) to go straight to Vault 15 and get the SMG. The SMG compensates nicely for a low Small Guns skill, though Burst Fire should be used sparingly to avoid running out of ammo.

My goal was to get the money for 4 doses of Rad-X and a rope as soon as possible, so I could complete the Brotherhood mission and become an initiate. The rest of the game goes much easier once you have a good set of armor. This does mean that you run the risk of having the Vault 13 water supply run out. You can delay this by going to the water merchants, if you have the money to pay them.

Once I became an initiate, I had two primary goals. First, getting the water chip, so I wouldn't be operating under a time limit. Then, returning to the Brotherhood with enough cash to pay the doctor for multiple operations (particularly the brain operation). Once this is done, the rest of the game involved going back over the earlier areas, and then going through the various quests at my leisure.

©1998 Casey McGirt