I finally feel like I know how to make a great character in Fallout 3. So this thread will be used to give advice for other newbies, similar to another thread I made for making characters in Fallout 1 and 2. Right now I have yet to get the hang of Fallout Tactics, so I'll be skipping that game for now. I have come up with four builds that each follow a different playstyle. They are: Critical Full Frontal Assault Assassin Low Critical Full Frontal Assault Perfectionist The Full Front Assault, Low Critical Full Frontal Assault, and Perfectionist builds attack primarily out of stealth, wheras the assassin attacks from stealth. The Perfectionist maxes all skills and stats by level 30, being a jack of all trades character. There are several changes in this game from previous Fallout games. For starters, there are no traits. Weapons also have durability, meaning you can only fire them a certain number of times before they need to be repaired. Third, ammo has no weight. You can also max your SPECIAL stats and skills by level 30. And you get a perk every level. In fact, you can get more perks for your character than you really actually need. Like previous games, there really aren't all that many perks that benefit different combat styles and weapon skills. Because of this and all the factors I listed above in the previous paragraph, I recommend you focus on using a variety of weapons to handle assorted situations. Depending on your build, use weapons that either have a high critical chance modifier, deal high critical damage, or deal as much damage in as fast as possible. V.A.T.S is used primarily to help your accuracy but it can also reduce the damage you suffer from enemies. V.A.T.S also increases the damage you deal in melee combat and gives you a bonus to your critical chance. All characters can get some use out of V.A.T.S for one or more of these reasons, but it's mostly useful for critical builds, melee attacks, or applying Paralyzing Palm. Due to some of the more powerful weapons having low durability, it is not a good idea to focus on having one all-purpose weapon. Also, because unlike in Fallout New Vegas where ammo can be crafted and recycled, ammo can only be bought or found in this game, (conventional bullets can be crafted in the Pitt), so it is not a good idea to carry only one ammo type. Some of the more powerful weapons are not practical enough for all situations due to rarity of ammo, low durability, uncommon spare weapons for maintainability, or carry weight concerns. Weapons that are useful only for certain situations should be disposed of once those situations are handled. According to my notes, all four builds I have come up with should get the following perks: Bloody Mess (increased damage) Toughness (increased damage resistance) Cyborg (increased damage resistance. The other bonuses just add an extra layer of frosting on the cake) Strong Back (increased carry weight) Action Boy (increased AP for V.A.T.S usage) Grim Reaper's Sprint (fully replenish AP when making a kill in V.A.T.S) Nerves of Steel (increase AP regeneration rate) Iron Fist (increase unarmed damage) Paralyzing Palm (chance to paralyze target in V.A.T.S. Best way to deal with tougher enemies such as overlords and reavers.) Entomologist (increased damage to insects. Good against Albino Radscorpions) Robotic's Expert (increased damage to robots. Also useful in the final quest in the main story.) Demolition Expert (increase damage of grenades) Quantum Chemist (convert 10 nuka-cola to nuka quantum. Good for creating nuka grenades) Pyromaniac (increase damage of fire weapons such as flamers and more importantly, the Shishkebab. The unofficial Fallout 3 patch applies this to the Nuka Grenade as well.) Critical and Assassin builds should also get the following perks: Concentrated Fire (increased chance to hit per attack) Ninja (increased chance of critical with melee/unarmed and increased damage of sneak attack criticals) Better Criticals (increased damage of criticals. The Low Critical Builds have no need for it) The Assassin should get Silent Running while the Critical Full Frontal Assault character should get Finesse for increased chance of criticals. Other perks worth considering for all builds are Lady Killer/Black Widow, Intense Training, Swift Learner, Comprehension, Child At Heart, Educated, Lawbringer/Contract Killer. Chemist, Chem Resistant, Adamantium Skeleton, Life Giver, Mysterious Stranger, and Fast Metabolism. Almost Perfect is for those who want to have a perfect character with 10 in all stats, but skills are more important than stats, and by the time you do get 10 in all stats, there's no challenge left to the game at all. Many players swear by it, but I believe it's pointless, unless you're a Perfectionist. If you download the Ultimate Perk Pack, you don't need to get perks such as Chemist, Chem Resistant, Entomologist, or Fast Metabolism due to you getting those perks automatically when fulfilling certain conditions. Child At Heart can be skipped if you have Vault 101 Revisited as you get it after completing a certain task. The only perks in the Ultimate Perk Pack truly worth taking are Steady Hand, Wildfire, Powered By Money, Grognak's Disciple, Natural Born Sniper, Pistola, Chinese Commando, Heavy Handed, and No Hero. All builds should get Steady Hand, and Powered By Money. Low Critical Builds should get Wildfire and Heavy Handed. Assassins should get Natural Born Sniper. Characters that plan to have max agility should get Pistola. No Hero is for neutral characters. Gunslinger, Commando, and Sniper can also be good perks to choose for Critical and Assassin builds, but those perks are better valued in New Vegas. Try to complete all optional objectives in the Wasteland Survival Guide quest to get the Survival Guru perk. The critical builds should get the critical chance bonus while the low critical build should get the endurance bonus which increases Damage Resistance. When choosing weapons for your build, choose those that deal high damage, are easy to repair and maintain, and have good durability. Critical builds should choose weapons that have a high critical chance modifier while assassins should choose weapons that have high damage and high critical damage as both are increased when dealing sneak attack criticals. The best endgame armors in the game are Ranger Battle Armor, Chinese Stealth Armor, T-51b Power Armor, and Winterized T-51b Power Armor. The best endgame helmets are either T-51b Power Helmet (regular or winterized), or Ledoux's Hockey Mask which increases your AP's. Ranger Battle Armor and the Ledoux' Hockey Mask is best for Full Frontal Assault builds focusing on critical hits, Chinese Stealth Armor and the Ledoux's Hockey Mask are both fitting for the assassin, and either suit of T-51b Power Armor and the helmet is for the Low Critical build. Perfectionists should use either suit of Power Armor and the Ledoux Mask. According to my notes, the best endgame weapons in the game which meet the criteria above are the Reservist's Rifle, Victory Rifle, Novasurge, Shishkebab, Nuka Grenade, A3-21 Plasma Rifle, Terrible Shotgun (which is best used outside of V.A.T.S for sneak attack criticals), Vengeance, Eugene, Xuanlong Rifle, Deathclaw Gauntlet, Fisto, and Precision Gatling Laser. The Gauss Rifle deals more damage per shot than either unique sniper rifle, but can only be repaired by vendors (unless you use a mod to repair it with laser rifles), together with the one shot perk clip before reloading and long reload time makes it more impractical than either unique sniper rifle. Of course your character won't be carrying all those weapons at once as some are better for dealing critical hits or dealing critical damage. Due to carry weight concerns, you'll need to choose your arsenal endgame to not overencumber yourself together with all the other items you'll be carrying. Here are my recommendations for the weapons and which builds they work best for. All builds should use the following weapons: Nuke Grenades: Best explosive weapon Shishkebab: Best melee Weapon Low Critical Builds should add the following to their arsenal: Eugene: Big Gun of choice due to availability of ammo and easier maintainance Vengeance: Big Gun of choice for tougher opposition Fisto: Most powerful unarmed weapon Xuanlong Rifle: All purpose weapon for weaker opposition due to damage, availability of ammo, and easy maintainance Builds focusing on critical hits, whether in or out of stealth should use: Novasurge: Best pistol in terms of damage and availability of ammo and easy maintainance A3-21 Plasma Rifle: Best all purpose Weapon Deathclaw Gauntlet: Best unarmed weapon Precision Gatling Laser: Big Gun of choice due to higher critical chance and for toughest opposition Full Frontal Assault builds should also get: Reservist Rifle: Best scoped weapon Stealth builds should also get: Victory Rifle: Best scoped weapon due to knockouts on sneak attack criticals Terrible Shotgun: Best damage in non V.A.T.S sneak attack criticals. As in the previous games, Energy Weapons and Big Guns deal more damage than Small Guns endgame, while unarmed is overall better endgame than melee weapons. Unarmed and Melee Weapons are primarily used to conserve ammo against weaker enemies or dealing massive sneak attack damage in close range. Explosives are good for dealing damage to mobs of enemies and Big Guns deal the most damage to the toughest foes. Since it is easy to create a jack of all trades character that can use any type of weapon thanks to so many skill books, it is recommended that you put all your weapon skills to use and get the most powerful weapons you can carry as your maximum weight allows. The D.C's are easier to beat if you have high skills in small guns, Energy weapons for Mothership Zeta. This is due to the fact that those are the weapon types most available in those dlc's. Melee weapons are also useful in the Pitt. Since you'll meet aliens with Inertia Fields that increase their resistance to physical damage in Mothership Zeta, bring at least one weapon that deals either fire damage, a flamethrower being the best choice, or a weapon that ignores damage resistance such as the Man Opener or Deathclaw Gauntlet. Save Point Lookout for last as it has the toughest challenge. Depending on your build, the only stats worth maxing by endgame are Strength, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. Strength increases your maximum carry weight and damage with melee weapons, Intelligence increases your skill points per level up, Agility increases your maximum action points for use in V.A.T.S, and Luck increases your chance of critical hits. Obviously, low critical builds need to max strength to carry all that heavy equipment, characters that attack out of stealth can max both agility and luck, and full frontal critical builds need max luck. You can use bonuses from equipment to achieve the maximum stat you need for your build. It is recommended that you set your stats to what you need to qualify for the recommended perks together with the bonuses from bobbleheads and an injection from Dr. Lesko, or if you're a perfectionist set them to what you need to qualify for the perks without the bobbleheads. If you have the Alton, Illonois mod, you can get an agility bonus during the mod, so if you have that mod you can reduce the minimum required agility by one point if you want. According to my notes, here is how to set your S.P.E.C.I.A.L stats. Strength - 4 or 5 for either build focusing on criticals, minimum of 5 or maximum 8 for low critical builds. 5 is needed for Strong Back. Critical builds can go as low as 3 and then get the strength bobblehead and Ant Might if they do not want to get Almost Perfect. Perception - 5 or 6 for either critical build, 1 for low critical builds since you won't be getting the critical perks such as better criticals which you need 6 for. 4 with the bobblehead and And Sight if you don't plan to get Almost Perfect Endurance - 4 or 5, though low critical builds may want to go up to 7. 5 together with the strength requirement above for strong back. 4 with the bobblehead if you don't want to get Almost Perfect. Charisma - varies. All leftover points go here. Intelligence - minimum of 4. You can start with 9 for more skill points if you want an easier time maxing all your skills. The Perfectionist will want 9. Agility - 6 or 7, 6 for action boy, 7 for nerves of steel. 6 with the bobblehead. 5 with the bobblehead and Alton mod. For maximum Action Points for V.A.T.S if using the Ledoux Mask, start with 9, or 8 if you have Alton. Luck - 5 or 6, 6 for better criticals which is mandatory for critical builds, 1 for low critical builds. Obviously, critical full frontal assault builds will want to max it by the end of the game with equipment and the bobblehead for the highest chance to land critical hits. For those who don't wish to get Almost Perfect, you'll need an initial score of 7, then acquire the Lucky 8 ball, wear Ranger Battle Armor for another point of luck, and the bobblehead. Why start with 7 instead of 6? You can't wear Lucky Shades together with the Ledoux Hockey Mask. Assuming you start with 9 intelligence, don't get intense training, and if you don't want to get Almost Perfect, here is the minimum setup for your SPECIAL if you plan to get all the bonuses you need to qualify for perks. For Critical Full Front Assault: S - 3 with Ant Might, otherwise 4 P - 4 with Ant Sight, otherwise 5 E - 4 C - 7 I - 9 A - 6 (5 with Alton) or 9 for max AP (8 with Alton) L - 6 For Assassins: S - 3 with Ant Might, otherwise 4 P - 4 with Ant Sight, otherwise 5 E - 4 C - 8 I - 9 A - 6 (5 with Alton) or 9 for max AP (8 with Alton) L - 5 For Low Critical Builds: S - 8 P - 1 E - 7 C - 8 I - 9 A - 6 (5 with Alton) L - 1 Endurance has to be higher for the low critical build to make the tough responses during Wasteland Survival Guide to get the damage resistance bonus from getting the survival guru bonus. We'll want to max strength with this build due to the heavier weight of our final equipment. We accomplish that by getting the bobblehead and Ant Might. The next section is for those who don't intend to get Almost Perfect. I recommend you set them to the minimum amount you need to qualify for perks plus the bonuses you plan to get during the game from bobbleheads and equipment, no more as that would seem like a waste. For the lower value I listed above in the SPECIAL stat notes, you can use the Intense Training perk to raise a stat to qualify for any of the recommended perks I suggested above. You can also raise either strength or perception after aiding Dr. Lesko in Grayditch, so set one of those stats to 1 less than what you need for the recommended perks and then get the bonus you need. And then there's the lucky 8 ball which raises your luck by 1 point, but if you have the unofficial patch, the bug that actually allows you to qualify for perks with it has been corrected. The next section are for those who plan to get Almost Perfect, in other words, the Perfectionist build. Since with this build you need to start with 9 intelligence, set your other stats to the value needed for the recommended perks without picking up the bobbleheads. If you don't plan to get intense training, here is how to set your SPECIAL: S-4 if you plan to get ant might, otherwise 5 P-5 if you plan to get ant sight otherwise 6 E-5 C-3 I-9 A-7 (6 with Alton) L-6 For strength and perception, don't set both to the lower value, unless you plan to take intense training. And don't set both to the higher values because that would feel like a waste when you can raise one later on. Also, it you plan to get maxed stats at level 30 after taking Almost Perfect and plan to blow up Megaton, get the strength bobblehead in Megatoon right away and get Ant Might at level 30. Be sure to install the unofficial Fallout 3 patch to fix a lot of bugs still in the game. It allows Demolition Expert and Pyromaniac to affect the Nuka Grenades. Lastly, as in all RPG's, the farther you go from home, the tougher the enemies get. So stay in the area around Megaton and Vault 101, doing quests and leveling up. Postpone doing the final chapter of the Wasteland Survival Guide until later. Stick to the roads and don't venture far away from them. At the beginning, the most important skills to work on are Small Guns, Sneak, Repair, Lockpick, and Science. You'll need to rely on sneak attack criticals until you become more powerful, unless of course you are planning to make an assassin. Don't rush through the main quest. Do sidequests as they become available and gain experience to level up your character to prepare for the tougher challenges. In the future, I'll be posting how to make each build above.