Fallout 4 - Character Creation Walkthrough, Hints and Tips for PC Games.

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 Fallout 4 - Character Creation

Fallout 4 - Character Creation

Fallout 4: Character Building, Leveling, and S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Guide to the Commonwealth

Written by Jason Long (evilbob)
Copyright (c)2016 Jason Long.  All rights reserved.

This guide may not be reposted, in whole or in part, without my written 
permission.  The only website that has permission to display this FAQ is  For questions contact me at evilbob65535 at yahoo dot com.

      Searchable Table of Contents

Copy, Control+F, and Paste the codes in [] to search for something 

1. What This Guide Does              [1WGD]

2. If this isn't your first rodeo    [2NEW]

3. S.P.E.C.I.A.L.                    [3SPL]

4. Starting Builds                   [4BLD]

5. Perks                             [5PRK]

6. General Tips                      [6GEN]

          What This Guide Does

This go around, there's a lot more information available on how Fallout 4 
actually works - but there's also a lot more noise to sift through.  
Every gaming site has an article on perks now, but few of them actually 
give you useful information about what to choose.  For old schoolers who 
still bother to check gamefaqs, here's a guide about what stats you 
should start with, some leveling advice, and a few tips to make your 
spoiler-free introduction to the Commonwealth as painless and productive 
as possible.

As always, basic game information, quests, walkthroughs, overt spoilers - 
none of that will be found here.  Just tips on a good way to start the 
game and what you can expect out of the gate.

     If this isn't your first rodeo

For those who've played the other Fallout games, there are some big 
changes this time around that are worth highlighting.  (New players might 
find these useful, too.)

- Crits

Far and away the biggest combat change is the new "crit storage" 
mechanic, where all hits in VATS contribute to a JPRG-like "crit bar" 
that charges up and when full, you can choose to execute a critical hit.  
This is the ONLY way to crit now!  To do so, press the crit button AFTER 
you have accepted the shot, but BEFORE it actually happens during the 
VATS slo-mo cutscene.  (That's right:  interactive cutscenes.)  Also 
worth noting:  all crits are now guaranteed hits, so as long as you have 
a 1% chance to hit, you can now crit.


I know, right?  So amazing.  And he carries stuff.  Also, the other 
companions are so good, you'll actually want to use them.  Who knew?

- END bad, CHA good

I'll get into this more later, but END is back to being a decent dump 
stat and sadly 6 CHA is nearly required.

- Lasers good

In another departure, laser weapons are plentiful from the start and 
their ammo rains from the sky, so you should always have a backup energy 
weapon for plugging roaches and ghouls and whatnot.

- Energy vs. ballistics

Speaking of lasers being good, gun perks are now tied to weapon type 
instead of ammo type.  For example, the same perk benefits both a laser 
rifle and a hunting rifle.  So, energy weapons vs. ballistic weapons is 
not a thing anymore, yay!

- VATS meh

This may be sacrilege, but VATS is only ok now.  Well, rather, manually 
aiming is actually really good, which makes it a harder choice between 
VATS and just hipshots (non-VATS).  In particular, the ability to use 
scopes to line up 100% shots to the head actually outpaces VATS targeting 
when sniping.  VATS is still best for non-melee, close engagements, 

- Skills are GONE

No, hear me out:  it's way better.  Now everything is perks, which you 
get every level, and perk choices are determined by your level and your 
stats.  Trust me, it works.


Yeah, you can play forever.  But leveling will get slower and you'll 
still want to think about level 40 to 50 as a good "end game" number when 
planning perk choices (should you choose to plan them out).

- Crafting, crafting everywhere

You'll hate the game for forcing you to pick up every pencil and desk fan 
you see, but it's not that horrible and it only gets complicated late-
game.  Note that you WILL need to google a few things that are horribly 
unintuitive:  power connections, supply lines, and assigning people to 
crops and defensive structures.  Just be ready to take a break and do 
some outside reading when that stuff becomes available.


Interestingly, the game makes your starting stats a really tough choice.  
You will not find yourself with points to spare.  However, there are a 
few major things to know when planning your starting stats:

- You will find the perception bobblehead very early.  You can also pick 
up a "SPECIAL" book (one time only) even sooner that will raise one stat 
of your choice by 1.  So you technically start with 21 points to 
distribute, but you can sort of plan on starting with 23.
- Beyond that, you can pick up STR and INT bobbleheads relatively soon-
ish.  All the rest will be tough to come by.
- At any time you can take a perk to raise one stat by one point.  This 
was stupid in previous games but now it's a lot more useful and 
- Unlike the other games, you won't really find "bonus perks" that boost 
your stats directly.  Bobbleheads and perks are the main ways to raise 
them permanently, and you'll still use clothes for temporary boosts.
- Also unlike previous games, you can raise your stats above 10 and the 
benefits keep going (so you CAN start with a 10 in something and it won't 
be wasted).  However it's not really important or useful to do so.

It's really hard to find information about what the SPECIAL stats do now 
in all the noise, but here's what I have found.  What you'll discover is 
that your stats are more about the perks you unlock than the actual 
bonuses, for the most part.

- As always the #1 skill for melee types, all STR does is give you +10 
carry weight and +10% melee damage per point.  It's worth noting that 
armor modifications can increase your carry weight as well now, making 
this less important than before.
- 3 is nearly required for Armorer, but if you're a slight masochist you 
CAN start in 2 and just grab the bobblehead early - it's not that bad to 
get.  Unless you're melee, you can stop there, but even if you'd rather 
just hit things, the perks aren't really useful past 5.  Then again, 10 
STR can be fun.

Starting suggestion:  2 (raise to 3 soonish with a bobblehead) or 3 if 
you want to avoid the hassle
Starting suggestion for melee:  4+, maybe higher

- ALL perception does is increase your % chance to hit in VATS.  There 
are maybe a couple of dialog options where you "notice" something but the 
widely reported lockpicking boost is either wrong or it's small enough 
that you won't notice.  But VATS isn't 100% required anymore, and average 
PER is fine.
- 4 is required for lockpicking and rifle-using, although again 9 can be 
really powerful.  The first bobblehead you find is for PER and you'll 
practically trip over it very early.

Starting suggestion:  3 (and quickly raise to 4 with a bobblehead)
If you really love VATS:  5+

- END gives 5 HP/level - which is better than you think since there is no 
level cap - and makes sprinting take less AP (you will never care about 
- Back to being a fair choice for a dump stat, END has one decent perk at 
3, and you don't really even need that.  You'll be quite glassy but 
you're going to want a dump stat, so might as well choose this and keep 
lots of stimpaks handy.

Starting suggestion:  1 (maybe 2)
Starting suggestion for melee:  3+, probably higher

- Gain a ~5% discount / ~2% bonus to sales at vendors per point (meh), 
although there is a hard cap you likely won't hit.  It also influences a 
LOT of dialog options - tons and tons.  No other bonuses (the widely 
reported settler cap is either wrong or CHA is only one factor of many).
- 6 CHA gives access to the Local Leader perk which is crazy useful and 
saves you a ton of time and effort - but it's not required.  An extremely 
high CHA - 9 and 10 - are game-breakingly powerful.

Starting suggestion:  6.  Local leader is really useful but more than 
that your CHA stat is really your only "speech" skill now since there is 
only one speech-modifying perk and it only works in certain 
circumstances.  If you'd rather just shoot things and not talk to them, 
you can dump this stat, but 6 is still useful to any build.  You won't 
find the bobblehead anytime soon, either.  9 or 10 isn't a bad way to 
play the game but you'll probably want to save it for your second 

- +3% XP per point (meh).  In theory can be used for a couple of "puzzle" 
checks.  Hacking is reportedly easier but again it's either untrue or you 
won't notice.
- Since there are no skills and the benefit is negligible, INT sucks 
right?  NOPE!  The perks are hot commodities, and you'll want at least 
through 6 to get the best ones, although you can start at 5 since the 
bobblehead is about as hard as the STR one to find.  If you love power 
armor, you will eventually want to get to 9, but for everyone else, 6 is 

Starting suggestion:  5 (grab the bobblehead soonish)

- +10 Action Points per point, which sounds like a lot because it IS (you 
only start with 60!).  It also grants about a 1% pickpocketing chance per 
point (who cares) and apparently makes sneaking a little easier, but it's 
hard to tell.
- Some great perks here, especially for the sneaky types.  5 is nice, and 
you'll want no less if you rely on VATS a lot, but starting with 7 can 
make you a sneak attack monster.  10 can be fun, too.

Starting suggestion:  5
Starting suggestion if you love sneaking:  7

- Each point in luck reduces the total number of shots required to fill 
your crit bar by a small amount (1 or 2 shots per point).  It also once 
again probably plays into what you find in containers, but no one really 
knows if this is true since it's so random anyway and the effect isn't 
that big.
- Luck is a weird stat this time around.  2 is plenty for a decent perk 
and crit bar fill time (you don't really need the crit bar that much on 
normal difficulty), but once you get to 6 and higher, the game changes.  
In particular, the luck perks at 6, 7, 8, and 9 all complement each other 
to an insane degree, turning you into a god of death in VATS, especially 
late-game.  You probably want to put "whatever is left" into luck, and 
much later raise it up to 9 and just have fun.

Starting suggestion:  2+, or whatever is left

             Starting Builds

So that's all well and good but what stats should you start with?

Well, if you just want to run around and hit things, you could probably 
do worse than:

STR - 5 (all you need to start)
PER - 3 (bobble to 4 soon)
END - 5 (all you will likely need)
CHA - 6 (seriously)
INT - 5 (yup)
AGI - 2 (ok to dump for non-sneaky, non-VATS character)
LCK - 2 (ditto)

Use the SPECIAL book on STR and that should suffice for a while.  
Eventually you'll want to boost it to 10, though.

Thog Kill Talky Man
It's entirely possible to play the game like this.

STR - 2 (shooting for 3)
PER - 3 (shooting for 4)
END - 1 (dump it)
CHA - 10 (let it shine)
INT - 7 (shooting for 8)
AGI - 3 (in case you need to sneak)
LCK - 2 (really a minimum)

You can either grab the INT bobblehead early and have one point to spare, 
or use the SPECIAL book in INT.  Either way, this allows you to hack, 
pacify, or intimidate anyone or anything you meet, while still allowing 
you to sneak and use guns if you have to.

Whisper Quiet, Headshotting Death Machine*
*credit to Sunfist for this moniker

So, stealth builds are making the rounds right now because stealth can be 
extremely overpowered once you get to the midlevels.  In a nutshell:  if 
you can use a silent weapon at range (or melee, for that matter) with all 
the sneaking, ninja, and sandman (guns only) perks, you can one-shot 
nearly anything and even if you don't it'll never see you (nor will its 

STR - 2 (shooting for 3)
PER - 3 (shooting for 4)
END - 1 (dump it)
CHA - 6 (sigh)
INT - 5 (shooting for 6)
AGI - 7 (ninja)
LCK - 4 (the rest)

This is more or less a typical sneaky glass cannon build, except you 
aren't really trying much for PER since you'll do a lot of manual aiming, 
and by the time you get back around to using VATS a lot you'll have perks 
that will help boost you so that it doesn't matter.  Technically CHA 
doesn't NEED to start at 6, since you can always perk it up late game, 
but it's just so darn nice to pass all your persuasion checks, too.

You can put the SPECIAL book in LCK and then keep boosting LCK later to 
access all the insane luck perks, or just boost AGI a little more for the 
AP.  Technically 10 AGI (Gun Fu) is also nice, and combos well with the 
LCK perks, although you'll likely need a pistol to take full advantage 
since they use less AP per shot.


Wow there are a lot - and most of them have multiple levels as well.  
Things to keep in mind:  all perks require a minimum SPECIAL stat level 
and a character level.  The stat level never changes, so you can still 
get the last rank of sneak with just 3 AGI - but you'll need to be 
character level 38.  The first rank in each perk has no level 

Unlike previous games, magazines don't boost perks directly, but give you 
similar, smaller-value perks.  They're worth grabbing when you can but 
nothing is game-changing.  There are some VERY good perks that come from 
your companions and quests, but they are not covered here since they 
require no decision about whether or not to get them (take all you can 

I may eventually get around to doing a full list of all perks at all 
levels and how useful they are.  In the meantime, here is a list of the 
main things you will want to consider, along with a general rating from 1 
(bad) to 5 (good), with 0 meaning "don't do this."

One note:  Rifleman, Gunslinger, and Commando are similar perks and the 
type of gun and receiver determine which applies.  All non-automatic 
pistols are Gunslinger, but if you make your pistol automatic, Commando 
now applies.  Same with rifles.  Again: type of ammo makes no difference 
- energy, plasma, bullets, etc.  The only other gun-related perk is Heavy 
Gunner, and you will not mistake those weapons.


1 - Iron First is for a niche playstyle where you use punches instead of 
swords.  Just use swords.  It also doesn't work for power armor attacks.  
One thing to note, though:  if you can stand to wait until level 46 to 
get good, paralyzing crits are amazing.
Rating:  0, or 5 if that's your thing (it's not your thing)

2 - Big Leagues is great for melee users; bump it up each time you can if 
that's your bag.
Rating:  0, or 5 for melee

3 - Armorer is awesome and allows you to customize your armor mods, which 
can really boost your defenses much earlier than you happen to find 
decent armor (since you can't really wear power armor all the time - or 
rather, it's difficult to do so).  This is why 3 STR is suggested.
Rating:  4

4 - Blacksmith is the natural complement to Big Leagues, and is also used 
for some melee-only power armor mods.  Again, max it if that's your 
Rating:  0, or 5 for melee

5 - Heavy Gunner, as pointed out elsewhere online, is really more about 
saving ammo than doing damage, since heavy guns already do massive 
damage.  Still, there are a few places where you'd like to do as much 
damage as possible as fast as possible, and staggering is extremely 
Rating:  2, 4 for level 4

6 - Strong Back is less useful this time around, since armor can boost 
carry weight and your companion doesn't suck.  Plus, 6 STR is expensive 
unless you're melee, and if you've got that kind of STR, you probably 
don't need this perk.  Probably only needed if you're also using heavy 
Rating:  2 for levels 1 and 2, 0 for 3+

7 - Steady Aim is buried in the STR tree - aka the melee build tree - but 
helps you shoot guns better.  I suppose you'll want to shoot guns 
sometimes when you're melee, but this perk seems to miss the point.
Rating:  1

8 - Basher is another odd one.  Just use your sword or axe or whatever.
Rating:  1

9 - Rooted is also hard to get working right, since melee builds don't 
tend to just stand there.
Rating:  1

10 - Ok, Pain Train is awesome.  Takes a lot of STR and power armor but 
staggering enemies is pretty powerful.
Rating:  5 if you have the STR, but you have to build your character 
around it - 0 otherwise


1 - Pickpocketing can be fun when you stick a grenade on someone, or 
steal their weapon or whatever, but still:  if you're that close, just 
shoot them in the head.  Very few other things need a good pickpocketing 
in the game; you can usually find stuff in other places instead.  Still, 
a few caps here and there isn't terrible, and it's actually good against 
power armor foes since you can steal their cores and make them easier to 
kill.  Complements sneaky builds somewhat.
Rating:  2

2 - Rifleman is something any non-melee-only build should max, and even 
melee types should think about it.  When it comes to guns, non-automatic 
rifles are powerful and plentiful.  They're great for sneak attacks once 
you can finally build silencers (gun nut 3 at the earliest) and otherwise 
just great.  If you make it an automatic, you'll want Commando instead.
Rating:  5

3 - Awareness is frankly really helpful.  You don't NEED it, but 
especially during a first playthrough it's worth grabbing early to help 
you learn how to fight properly.
Rating:  4

4 - Locksmith is a skill every build should max (at 3), and why PER 4 
(after bobbling) is a minimum in all my suggestions above.  It's that 
good.  Learn it, love it.  Some say that because you have the option of 
getting a companion who can do this for you, you don't need it.  They are 
wrong.  Unless that's the only companion you ever want, you find them 
immediately, and you hate free XP, pick it up.  Note that level 4 is 
pointless; don't bother.  (That's why the game has quicksave / 
Rating:  5 for levels 1-3, 0 for level 4

5 - Demo Expert isn't bad as a cap-making enterprise in addition to the 
damage bonus, and while each additional level adds more recipes, 1 is all 
you need to make some ridiculous (but rare) mines.  Just like other 
Fallout games, this is fun if you go down this path, but shooting things 
in the head is so much faster and more reliable that it's not really 
worth it unless you get into the harder difficulties (where it is nearly 
required).  Very rarely (against major bosses) it can come in quite 
handy, though.
Rating:  3 for level 1, 2 for level 2+

6 - Night Person is pretty dumb.  I suppose if you just wait around a lot 
you can take advantage of it more often, but even the benefits aren't 
that huge since stats are more about unlocking perks than the bonuses 
themselves.  Night vision might be neat but it's not really worth two 
perks; just adjust the brightness on your screen.
Rating:  1

7 - Refractor doesn't give you much, and other perks and armor can more 
than cover this.  Just wear power armor when you need to.
Rating:  0

8 - Sniper level 1 is not even close to worth a perk, and level 2 
actually makes the game harder.  Level 3 is pretty awesome, though, but 
it's hard to justify 3 perks for that.  Also there's another perk in the 
game that you can get from a companion that adds to headshots - just get 
that instead.
Rating:  0

9 - Penetrator is pretty amazing, since the AI does actually use cover 
frequently enough.  If you're already deep-diving into PER then 
pick it up, but don't go out of your way otherwise.  Level 2 is 
definitely worth the extra perk.
Rating:  4 if your build gets to this point

10 - Concentrated Fire is nice and makes VATS better, but if you're 
looking to be a VATS-loving death machine, check out luck instead.  If 
you can't do luck and just love PER for some reason, then sure - take 
this instead.
Rating:  3


1 - Toughness is the second best END perk, which unfortunately means it 
still isn't that good.  While damage resistance is better than energy and 
rad resistance since it's more common, you can still do better with just 
more armor.  Not a terrible perk to take early, though, when armor is 
scarce - especially if you like scouting way ahead for bobbleheads.
Rating:  3

2 - Lead Belly is for extreme difficulties.  It's too easy to just cook 
food otherwise.  Or use stimpaks.
Rating:  0

3 - Lifegiver is actually not bad.  4 level's worth of HP, then 4 more, 
then 4 more and a regen effect.  On the other hand... healing items are 
plentiful and you can always just sleep.  More HP is nice for surviving 
but then again the main things that will kill you (big things) will 
probably still kill you.
Rating:  3

4 - Chem Resistant is again, useless.  Just get yourself un-addicted, 
it's actually not that hard.  (Or avoid drugs in general, which is also 
easy.)  This is more about saving caps, which is also not useful.
Rating:  0

5 - Aquaboy/girl is actually not bad, and if you already have 5 END you 
might as well make one fewer thing in the game able to kill you.  Level 2 
has niche uses since you need to be in water to make use of it.
Rating:  3 for level 1, 2 for level 2

6 - Rad Resistant can be emulated with special clothing that you should 
carry around instead.  It's nice when you want to wear armor AND be 
resistant to radiation, but just suck it up and take some Radaway.
Rating:  0

7 - Adamantium Skeleton is also pointless since stimpaks heal limbs 
instantly and you can use them in battle at any time.  And if you step on 
a mine you're just going to reload anyway.
Rating:  0

8 - Cannibal; just use stimpaks.  Maybe nice for very hard difficulties?  
Also it apparently impresses a certain companion.
Rating:  0

9 - Ghoulish is like Aquaboy/girl; one fewer thing you have to worry 
about.  Still, you didn't take Rad Resistant because you have that 
clothing that more or less solves this problem for you.  And turning 
Feral Ghouls isn't really useful since they're not very powerful.
Rating:  1

10 - Solar Powered is like Night Person, and suffers from the same 
drawbacks.  Technically it's much more useful, but it also requires a 
massive 10 END to take it - which really isn't useful for hardly any 
build.  And Lifegiver is probably already doing this for you if you like 
regen.  Rounding out a pretty terrible perk line.
Rating:  1

I bag on the END perks, but really:  they are for a playstyle that isn't 
one I suggest, which is the high-end, extreme difficulties where 
radiation storms kill you instead of pester you like a mosquito and 
running out of food is a serious problem.  There is a place for them:  
just not one I recommend.


1 - Cap Collector is what you already are.  It has a niche use in that it 
can maybe help you afford some ridiculous unique weapons earlier in the 
game, and it's almost worth it if you're a power armor junkie, but 
otherwise it's pointless.  Add to that the already high CHA I suggest you 
start with and you really don't need it.  By the time you can take level 
3 you won't care as much anyway.
Rating:  1

2 - Lady Killer / Black Widow is the ONLY perk in the game that can help 
with dialog options, which makes it more interesting than before.  (No 
unique options, though.)  And the +5% damage per perk is nothing to 
sneeze at.  However the weapon-modifying perks are better, as is simply 
raising your CHA.  But if you'd rather just do a little of both, it's not 
a terrible choice.  And, like their other games, Bethesda has decided 
that post-apocalypse Boston still suffers from needless sexism when it 
comes to who is in charge and who you speak to, so female characters will 
get more out of this perk than males.
Rating:  2 for guys, 3 for gals

3 - Lone Wanderer is only useful if the bug where it still counts when 
you're using Dogmeat is still active, but otherwise companions are way 
better!  Even sneaky builds need companions now - they're great at 
distracting mobs!  Plus the companion perks are seriously insane.  Don't 
play this game alone:  use a companion!
Rating:  1 if bugged, 0 otherwise

4 - Attack Dog is fine but the other companions will give you cool perks 
and make funny comments.  Dogmeat is great if you just want the world to 
shut up, though.  Or stop judging you.  Niche.
Rating:  1

5 - Animal Friend is not horrible if you're doing a 10 CHA, never-fire-
once build, and in that case you'll grab it just to round out your 
options.  But just like in previous games, "animals" includes a very 
small list of very dinky creatures that don't take much to kill anyway.  
Unless you're a 100% pacifist, just shoot the molerat and move on with 
you life.
Rating:  1

6 - Local Leader is the main reason I suggest 6 CHA to start.  You use it 
to set up supply lines between settlements, which eliminates a massive 
amount of hunting, pecking, and fast traveling, especially later in the 
game.  It's not required but it does make life easier - plus having 6 CHA 
helps a lot with persuasion.  The second level of this perk is ok but not 
really needed or even very helpful until late game, so you can hold off 
on it for a while.  PLEASE NOTE that "setting up supply lines" is one of 
the stupidly hardest things to do in the game, and you SHOULD google that 
and get a firm grasp of how it works after taking this perk.
Rating:  4

7 - Party Boy / Girl is kind of dumb.  Alcohol is an extremely heavy drug 
(weight-wise) and other drugs will boost you more, even with the level 2 
of this perk.  And it's not like addiction is really an issue.  Maybe 
slightly better than Chem Resistant?  But it also only applies to one 
Rating:  1

8 - Inspirational isn't terrible, but it's also not really necessary 
(give them a melee weapon while you use a gun and they'll never hurt 
you).  Level 2 is almost pointless since they can't die anyway, and while 
level 3 seems helpful you're better off just wearing armor that increases 
your own carry limit.  Probably better for people who enjoy heavy guns 
who don't want to invest in STR.
Rating:  1

9 - Wasteland Whisperer is a game-changer.  It affects nearly every non-
human you want to affect, and even works on some bosses - although if 
your quest is to kill the boss, you'll still need to kill it.  Beyond 
just reducing the total enemies you have to fight (level 1) or having 
them attack each other (level 21), having a huge monster run around 
killing things for you in addition to your companion is insane - but 
sadly you won't get that until level 49.  Still, even at level 1 this is 
powerful.  This perk is what a high-CHA, end-game build is all about.  
The only drawback is that you have to get uncomfortably close to work it, 
and you'll want to save first since it doesn't always work.
Rating:  5 for high-CHA builds, 4 otherwise

10 - Intimidation is what you'll take after Wasteland Whisperer to round 
out the bunch.  At least as powerful or probably more so since humans 
(and certain creatures extremely similar to humans) are so common, this 
gives you a temporary extra companion at level 50.  It takes a long time 
to get that awesome but it's still awesome.  And by level 50 you may have 
enough perks to get it regardless of your build.
Rating:  5 for high-CHA builds, 4 otherwise


1 - VANS is for people who can't read or deal with maps, or who get lost 
easily in 3D games.  That's legit; some people just aren't wired that 
way.  For anyone else, skip it.
Rating:  0, or 5 if you can't run around in a 3D space that well

2 - Medic isn't that bad, but you won't really run out of stimpaks on the 
default difficulty - although if you're melee this becomes much more 
important.  At level 49 it speeds up how fast stimpaks work, which is 
awesome - but that's a really long time to wait for something like that.
Rating:  3 for melee, 2 for anyone else

3 - Gun Nut - oh yeah.  This is where it's at.  Unless you're melee-only 
(and maybe even then) you'll want to throw some ranks in this.  While 
it's not 100% necessary since you can technically find gun mods and apply 
them without the perk... you'll still want this perk.  It's the best way 
to get the most damage possible as early as possible.  If you're a sneak, 
you'll want it BAD so you can make silencers, which are extremely rare 
Rating:  5, or 3 if you're melee-only

4 - Hacker is just like Locksmith, except just like other Fallout games 
it's not quiiiite as useful.  You will want to get 3 levels in it anyway, 
just to make things smoother.  And unlike other games, there are some 
"security doors" that CANNOT be picked, and must be opened with a 
terminal.  Level 4 is still worthless.  Note:  you will have earliy-ish 
access to a companion that can do this for you that you may actually keep 
around, so there's a better argument for not going deep into this perk.  
It's still worth picking up at least one level for when they are absent.
Rating:  5 for levels 1-3, 0 for level 4

5 - Scrapper will save you time in crafting, and crafting takes forever, 
so you'll probably want this.  It's not strictly necessary but it's very 
useful early when screws are still rare.
Rating:  4

6 - Science! helps with energy weapons instead of Gun Nut, and it's 
nearly as useful.  It also helps with modding power armor, which is very 
resource-expensive but still very cool.  This is why I suggest getting to 
at least 6 INT for any build.
Rating:  5

7 - Chemist is a perfect complement to Chem Resistant... which also 
sucks.  Most drugs last long enough already.  Also, don't do drugs.  I 
like to think of them as slightly heavier caps.  (It also allows you to 
make more expensive drugs, which is less useless.)
Rating:  0

8 - Robotics Expert is the INT version of the awesome 9 and 10 CHA skills 
above, although it's both better and worse.  It's better because it works 
more easily and the "new friend" option happens earlier at level 44, but 
it's worse because robots are still fairly rare and it doesn't work on 
sentries, which are the main things you'd WANT it to work on (there's a 
magazine for that, though).  Best paired with sneak so you can get close 
first since robots are often loners.
Rating:  3, or 4 for high-CHA builds

9 - Nuclear Physicist affects a tiny number of weapons but that's not the 
point:  the point is wearing power armor all the time!  Although power 
armor is amazing, it's hard to justify 9 INT just for that, but still, 
it's a darn good perk.  Level 3 also lets you make what are basically 
extremely expensive mini-nuke grenades, but I wouldn't recommend doing 
Rating:  5 if you get this far in INT

10 - Nerd Rage is back, and it's still pretty awful.  You have to be 
nearly dead and then suddenly you're really good in combat - but you'll 
probably just want to heal yourself instead of taking advantage of the 
perk.  Level 1 might be ok just to give yourself a bit more wiggle room 
to pull out the stimpak, but honestly the whole perk is still just dumb.
Rating:  1 for level 1 only, 0 for the rest


1 - Gunslinger affects all pistol-type weapons (unless you make them 
automatics), and it's worth boosting this one as well.  While they will 
never match the raw damage of rifles, pistols shoot REALLY fast (perfect 
for Gun Fu and the LCK perks), and you can get silencers for them much 
earlier than any other gun, which makes them excellent sneak weapons.  If 
you just can't spare the perks, Rifleman is still better in my opinion, 
but Gunslinger is a legit way to go.
Rating:  4

2 - Commando affects any automatic weapon, regardless of type.  This is 
also a pretty good way to go, although I personally still prefer sneaky 
builds and sneaky builds want their damage front-loaded to take advantage 
of sneak attack bonuses (automatics do less raw damage per shot).  
Ballistic ammo is also slightly harder to come by than other games, 
although not by much, so I don't like to just fly through it.  The main 
drawback to this perk is that you won't find good automatic weapons or 
build automatic mods until a bit later in the game, and by then you've 
probably already invested too much in Gunslinger or Rifleman to put much 
here.  Staggering is still a big deal, though, and makes this perk line 
much more useful late-game.
Rating:  4 late game, 3 earlier

3 - Sneak is pure awesome.  Level 5 is not as required but once you get 
to sneak 4 at character level 23 you will be a silent agent of death.  
Not to mention they rolled "ignore traps and mines forever" into this as 
well!  Sneak also works well for ranged OR melee.  Even if you don't 
sneak much I'd still recommend sneak if you can fit it in your build, but 
if you just love running around and hate taking more time to do things 
feel free to skip.
Rating:  5, or 0 if you just hate sneaking (you monster)

4 - Mister Sandman is only interesting when you combine it with other 
sneak-related perks.  Specifically, you need a silenced (ballistic) gun 
doing a sneak attack for it to work - which is a very specific 
circumstance but something you'll do all the time if you're a sneak 
build.  It stacks multiplicatively with Ninja so that's nice, but it's 
apparently also a bit buggy (you will want to max Ninja before taking 
this perk).  If you want to make sure you kill everything in a single 
hit, and you love the ranged sneak attacks, this is a good way to rival 
melee Ninja kills.  Otherwise it's far too specific and Ninja is strictly 
better if you don't have perks to spare.  (Also note that the "sleeping 
person" part of it is nearly useless, as this happens far too rarely to 
be worth it.)
Rating:  3 for sneak builds, 0 otherwise

5 - Action Boy/Girl is just good, but it's especially good if you use 
VATS at all.  Which you probably will.  Ironically less useful for the 
sneak-attack sniper, since you do so much manual aiming, but generally if 
you use VATS this is a good perk at both levels.
Rating:  4, or 1 if you hardly ever touch VATS

6 - Moving Target requires sprinting, and you just don't do that much - 
especially not enough to justify a perk.  It's ok for niche situations 
(like running away) but otherwise killing the thing is more effective.
Rating:  1

7 - Ninja is pretty much required for sneak attack builds.  The melee 
side of things gets a little ridiculous, and when paired with Blitz you 
pretty much break the game, but even ranged attackers will notice each 
level of Ninja, and it's the only way you can bring down some big targets 
quickly enough.  Probably best to keep this maxed if you sneak, but if 
you never sneak it's obviously useless.  (Due to a bug, you should max 
this before getting other sneak attack-boosting perks.)
Rating:  5, or 0 if you just hate sneaking

8 - Quick Hands seems like a good idea but it's not.  Even heavy guns 
don't take THAT long to reload.  The hunting rifle is probably the only 
reason you'd take this and even then, just wait and get a better gun.
Rating:  1

9 - Blitz is required for melee stealth builds, which you probably won't 
see much but they can be insane with a strong weapon and maxed Ninja.  
Ranged is probably still safer and easier, and getting both 9 AGI and 
high STR is a tall order when CHA and INT are so demanding, but you can 
do some game-breaking stuff with Blitz.
Rating:  4, or 5 if you specialize in melee stealth

10 - Gun Fu is hilarious, and pairs extremely well with the LCK perks 
(see Grim Reaper's Spirit) and Gunslinger.  As long as you're surrounded 
you'll be killing everything really quickly.  Well worth the perks, 
although the "instant crit" doesn't come along until level 50, which is 
quite late.
Rating:  4, or 5 if you use Gunslinger


1 - Fortune Finder, hey!  It's that same crappy perk from all the other 
games.  Technically it might help you purchase some crazy-good unique 
weapons earlier than you might otherwise, and it's nice to have a lot of 
caps if you love power armor (cores are expensive), but come on.  Caps 
are everywhere, disguised as raiders holding stuff.  While caps ARE a 
little harder to come by in this game, it's not enough to justify a perk.
Rating:  1

2 - Scrounger is almost worth it, and technically better than Fortune 
Finder since ammo sells for caps.  And if you like heavy guns it's almost 
definitely worth it.  But it's still hard to justify a perk.  Still, when 
it comes to the perks that basically just give you more money, this is 
probably the best.  The value of this perk jumps up considerably on 
higher difficulty levels where you need more ammo to kill anything.
Rating:  2, 3 if you use heavy guns

3 - Bloody Mess is back, too.  Slightly useful to help reach corpses to 
loot, but on the other hand it makes multiple corpses harder to 
distinguish.  5% damage is ok, but this perk is really just for the 
silliness.  Save it for another playthrough.
Rating:  1

4 - Mysterious Stranger is still just too random for me.  Some people 
like it because it's a nice boost, but I'd rather just do 20% more damage 
all the time.  The crit recharge is also nice but also too random to 
really be useful.
Rating:  2

5 - Idiot Savant is something you would want to take early, and without 
having a high INT.  But a high INT is really, really good, and you really 
want to have at least 5 to start.  Technically you can cheese this by 
saving/reloading to make sure you get the bonus (like when you turn in a 
quest), but honestly "speeding up XP gain" is not useful.  Just do 
Rating:  1

6 - Better Criticals is good, but it does NOT work on sneak attacks, so 
sneaky characters aren't necessarily interested.  Awesome for anyone who 
uses VATS, especially against bosses and such - where you'll really need 
this.  But where this perk REALLY shines is when you start to get further 
down the LCK tree, where crits are more common...
Rating:  3, or 5 for high-LCK builds

7 - Critical Banker is useful for any build, although again it doesn't 
matter to sneak attacks.  It works especially well with Gun Fu or anyone 
who shoots a lot in VATS - or just as a way to store up lots of strong 
hits against a boss.  However, this perk is once again a great way to 
boost up the next two perks...
Rating:  3, or 5 for high-LCK builds

8 - Grim Reaper's Spirit is where VATS gets awesome.  Combine this with 
Gun Fu and some of your banked, better criticals and you'll be popping 
off a dozen enemies at a time, especially once you hit level 46 and not 
only recharge your AP but also your crit meter.  Ironically less 
effective as you start to kill everything around you.  Works even better 
with the next one...
Rating:  4, or 5 for high-LCK builds

9 - Four Leaf Clover level 1 gives a 7.5% chance to refill your crit bar 
after EACH HIT.  Think about that with a pistol or automatic weapon.  And 
then add in better crits, and crit banking, and the Grim Reaper ability 
to randomly recharge your AP after each kill.  Yeah, it's crazy.  It 
maxes at 13.5% at level 4 (requires level 48 as well) but that's better 
than a 1 in 8 chance each shot.  Yes, that's pretty random, but you'll be 
shooting so much it will come up regularly.  It's worth noting that all 
these perks are EXTREMELY cost-intensive, since you can easily spend 12-
13 perks to get all of them to a decent level, not to mention the 9 LCK 
requirement in the first place.  But for end-game builds that favor VATS 
and don't really sneak, this is awesome.
Rating:  4, or 5 for high-LCK builds (which this pretty much requires)

10 - Ricochet is random and it requires low health - the drawbacks of 
Nerd Rage and Mysterious Stranger together in one.  It's a much more 
powerful effect, but I'd rather spend my perks on the other LCK options.
Rating:  1

Final Thoughts on Specializing Your Build

The game does a great job of pacing your advancement, as enemy levels 
(and loot) are based both on your level and how far you are from the 
starting point of the game.  That said, there are noticeable difficulty 
jumps from time to time, like when suddenly the roaches are all gone and 
you're fighting radscorpions, or the latest mutants start using missile 
launchers and a fat man instead of just boards and pipe pistols.  So you 
WILL need to get good at SOMETHING combat-related relatively quickly.  
It's still possible to spread yourself out and be fairly well-rounded, 
but specializing in something early on will help.  Whether that's melee, 
ranged, sneaking, or just talking is up to you.  And don't forget you can 
adjust the difficulty on the fly if you want (it doesn't change the XP 
you get).

            General Tips

I know - every website ever (even random news sites) has tips for 
Fallout 4.  Most are crap, so good luck sorting through them.  Here are a 
few random tips that are either rarely mentioned or are worth 

Fashion Accessories

Unlike previous games, you need a much smaller wardrobe at all times.  
Since stats don't affect quite as much, I'd recommend (other than your 
main armor/primary gear) carrying:  CHA-boosting pieces for 
conversations, radiation-resistant pieces for the occasional rad problem, 
and maybe one or two odd STR-boosting pieces for that rare time you 
actually run out of space (well, rare after the early game, anyway).


Just in case you weren't a hoarder, this game will make you one.  You'll 
eventually get a feel for what is useful and what is not (desk fans, 
aluminum cans, duct tape, and baseballs are more important than you'd 
think, and flip lighters are awesome) but sadly you'll likely be doing a 
whole lot of fast traveling back to base to dump off your armloads of 
junk, especially at the beginning.  When you get into the inevitable 
situation where you are overloaded and can't fast travel, remember these 

- Your companion.  They aren't just there to be funny; they're pack 
mules, too.  (Even Dogmeat.)
- Keep some Buffout on you at all times; fast-travel only checks at the 
beginning of your trip if you have enough STR.
- Keep some STR-boosting clothing at all times.
- Kill some of those weird two-headed deer, cook the meat, and keep it on 
you at all times (it boosts carry weight).  You can find some east of 
Sanctuary, typically.
- For a longer-term solution, get the armor perks and get "Pocketed" and 
then "Deep Pocketed" mods for your gear.  You'll need a crapton of 
leather (and other stuff like adhesive - but I always ran out of leather 
first) and it will make your armor heavier, but it still comes out way 

Another tip is to generally watch the weight-to-value ratio of non-junk.  
Anyone who's played these games before knows this, but something that 
weighs 3 lbs and can sell for 20 caps isn't worth carrying over something 
that weighs 5 lbs and sells for 50 caps.

Hidden Gems

Overdue Books are one of the few items that seems worthless but you'll 
want to collect at least 10 for a magazine (and 10 more can net you a 
fusion core).

Mines.  If you get overwhelmed by a tough enemy, remember that lots and 
lots of mines can kill ANYTHING.  As long as you know where the thing is 
going to go before it goes there, you can kill it.  Loot and store every 
mine you find because at some point, you will need them.

City Planning

The general rule is that you'll need one food, bed, and water per 
settler, and then one defense for each food and water.  There are LOTS of 
ways to go about this, but if you want to be efficient (and you're not 
limited by special circumstances in your settlement), you should only 
ever build basic water pumps and 5 defense machine gun turrets.  Why?  
Because all that other stuff requires materials that are hard to find.  
Oil in particular is rare, and circuitry isn't easy to come by - but 
steel is everywhere and gears aren't that bad.  So it's more efficient to 
waste a lot of gears and steel making the simplest turret over and over 
than to get fancy and use up all your oil to make the better ones.  (Not 
to mention all the laser ones are a huge waste of materials.)  Are they 
better in a fight?  It doesn't matter because you'll never get attacked 
because your defense rating is so awesome. 
And you actually don't WANT extra water production because the more water 
you have, the more defense you need.  It's better to have only enough and 
add on slowly when you need more.  Eventually you might have to go back 
and consolidate due to building limits, but if you're that deep into city 
building, you already know what you're doing.

Fallout 4:
Character Building, Leveling, and S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Guide to the 
Copyright (c)2016 Jason Long.  All rights reserved.
Version 1.0.  Last Updated 1-14-2016

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