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Fallout: New Vegas character creation

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In Fallout: New Vegas, the creation and development of your character is under your control. The decisions you make at character creation and at level-ups, as well as the gameplay choices you make, contribute to your specific character build.

Considerations for building a character

Building a character is largely a matter of mathematics. Consider each of the following factors, and then crunch the numbers in order to achieve your desired build.

One way to ensure the perfect character is to wait until all game add-ons have been released, as they contain perks that may render your earlier choices obsolete if taken. One example from Fallout 3 is "Almost Perfect" as opposed to "Intense Training." The increased level cap is yet another reason, so you can refuse to take certain skill-boosting perks, e.g.: Gun Nut, and instead get something more useful. Do not forget that you still need to calculate how to become perfect. Attaining true perfection in Fallout: New Vegas is not possible, but perfection at your intended playstyle certainly is.

Maximum level

Main article: Level


During the quest Ain't That a Kick in the Head, you will choose your initial primary statistics, which have a direct effect on:

  • your starting skill levels.
  • which perks will become available to you at level-ups.
  • your derived statistics.

SPECIAL stats can be raised during the game by:

  • choosing traits at character creation;
  • buying implants;
  • wearing clothing and armor items;
  • choosing perks at levelup.

The maximum value for a SPECIAL stat is 10.


Initial skill levels are determined by your primary stats. During the quest Ain't That a Kick in the Head, you will choose three skills to receive a one-time boost of 15 points.

Skills can be raised during the game by

  • choosing traits at character creation;
  • distributing points at level-ups;
  • choosing perks at levelup;
  • reading skill books (permanent) and magazines (temporary);
  • wearing clothing and armor items;

Each skill book, when read, raises the corresponding skill by three point (four points with the Comprehension perk). There are 4 skill books for each skill, except Science which has a fifth book as a quest reward (Dead Money adds additional books, giving a total of 5 each, except Science which now has 6 and Survival which receives no additional book). Skill magazines raise the corresponding skill by 10 for a short time, or 20 with the Comprehension perk. There is no finite number of skill magazines.

The maximum value for a skill is 100.


Traits are chosen during the quest Ain't That a Kick in the Head, you can choose up to 2 traits that both help and hurt you. Some of them can be off-set with perks later on, like pairing Small Frame with Adamantium Skeleton.


Some perks directly affect your primary stats and skills. Others have a variety of gameplay effects.

Which perks become available to you depends on

  • your level.
  • your SPECIAL stats.
  • your skills.
  • your gameplay choices.

You get to choose one perk at every even level-up.


Clothing and armor can have a direct effect on your SPECIAL stats and skills but won't fulfill any skill or SPECIAL requirements for perks.