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Forum:New Vegas character builds

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Forums: Index > Fallout: New Vegas general discussion > New Vegas character builds

There doesn't seem to be an equivalent character build thread for New Vegas as there is for FO3 (Forum:Fallout 3 character builds), so I'll try to get things started on this!

The Jack of Most Trades

This is a pre-DLC NV character build that I aimed for optimal ranged combat, while being adept at non-combat skills, and also having a wide variety of perks to be available for customization. It ignores Melee and Unarmed. Melee related perks have demanding requirements that my methods don't pretend to meet, and without the perks to make your melee useful and dangerous, why bother? (Pyromaniac will be available, though, to enhance the Shishkebab, it will just swing slower without meeting the wield requirements, and that would be irrelevant if you use melee weapons for sneak attacks. Special Unarmed moves like Ranger Takedown and Khan Trick can still be acquired and be used for combat utility. Poisons will still work. So melee can still play a role for this build without spending any points on the respective skills.)

This build gets natural 100s in Energy Weapons, Explosives, and Guns. The others (with the exception of Sneak which caps at 97 without a Stealth Boy, and Survival since maxing it is mostly unnecessary and you'll still be able to cook what you want,) can be enhanced to 100, and by later levels, the dependency on food and chems for them will reduce.

Starting SPECIAL

Statistic Value
Strength 1
Perception 7
Endurance 8
Charisma 1
Intelligence 6
Agility 8
Luck 9
That's right, 1 strength! The melee damage benefit of strength is pointless here, you can have companions lug your stuff around, and strength boosting foods are incredibly easy to come by, to cover weapon strength requirements. Steady does the trick as well. Charisma's effect of "nerve" seems lackluster compared to everything else, but it is not difficult to boost by consumables either, if you feel your companions are in need of it.

I took, and recommend, the traits: Built to Destroy and Fast Shot.

Implants at level 1

Get implants ASAP!
The way to do this is to head straight to the strip at the start, after looting the generous doc's home so you can have some caps to start with, and amass a fortune through blackjack (or at least enough to get the intelligence implant.) This should go quickly and easily, considering the 9 starting luck! You'd have to start with the Atomic Wrangler in Freeside so you can have enough caps for the credit check into the strip.

You could get to Freeside the long way around the Mojave, trying to avoid enemies and experience gains (It actually doesn't hurt to hit level 2, as you'll only forfeit the half a skill point remainder you would have at lvl 30..but it does make it so you'll be receiving the extra skill point on even levels instead of odd levels, so keep that in mind.) but there is a way to make a shorter trip, bypassing the Deathclaws around the quarry.

From Goodsprings, head east, through Sloan and into Hidden Valley. Bear left, to the northeast, and make way to Neil's Shack. From here, head north until you run into a cliff. Hug this cliff, following it left, where you'll encounter a ledge, that you can easily jump on thanks to a nearby rock. Pressing in this direction (still hugging the cliff to not attract Deathclaws,) you'll soon get to REPCONN Headquarters. You'll be out of Deathclaw territory, so making it to Freeside from here is cake.

Once you're filthy rich (34,000 caps for implants and maybe some more for gearing yourself) go buy all the implants from Dr. Usanagi, with the one left out due to the Endurance limitation being the regeneration implant. It's outrageously expensive and just as outrageously useless and insignificant.

Leveling Guide

Rather than dictate everything by level, this will show what you would need to distribute, and books you need to find and use, within level ranges so that you can meet the prerequisites for perks when you get to the level for them, particularly Living Anatomy and Jury Rigging. So, you can control what order you distribute points within the level range based on your necessities or preferences, but be sure to keep track of what you are doing.

Tag: Explosives, Medicine, and Repair

Level SP Distribution Perks Books to use
2 13 in Guns Rapid Reload
3 16 in Explosives

16 in Guns
18 in Medicine
13 in Science
1 in Sneak
4 in Survival

4 Comprehension 4 D.C. Journal of Internal Medicine
6 Bloody Mess
8 28 in Sneak

26 in Repair

Living Anatomy 4 Big Book of Science

4 Chinese Army: Special Ops Training Manual
4 Duck and Cover!
4 Guns and Bullets
4 The Wasteland Survival Guide

10 Finesse
12 15 in Energy Weapons

12 in Repair

Elective 4 Dean's Electronics
14 27 in Energy Weapons Jury Rigging 4 Nikola Tesla and You
16 9 in Energy Weapons

4 in Lockpick

Weapon Handling²/


4 Lying, Congressional Style

4 Tales of a Junktown Jerky Vendor
4 Tumblers Today

17 27 in Barter

10 in Energy Weapons
30 in Explosives
30 in Guns
32 in Lockpick
20 in Science¹
27 in Speech
13 in Survival

18 Better Criticals
20 Elective
22 Elective
24 Elective
26 Elective
28 Elective
30 Elective
¹ 16 if getting the 5th Big Book of Science. I recommend the spare points be distributed in Barter, Speech, and/or Sneak. Or if aiming to be able to craft Tremble, into Survival, and also substituting a point out of lockpick or barter to also put into Survival.
² Weapon Handling, combined with T-51b Power Armor/T-45d Power Armor, will open up many weapons to be used without food or Steady dependency, for convenience.

This is where I hope the build shines. In sacrificing access the melee specialty perks in this way, you'll get access to a versatile array of perks that you can mix and match. As you go through the game settling in to your preferences of weaponry and tactics, you can adapt your character to suit them!

Really, everything but Comprehension on the above table can be swapped out, they're just strongly recommended; Damage boosts, critical enhancement, and Rapid Reload are "universally" applicable (Living Anatomy seems to be behaving like Ghoul Ecology), and Jury Rigging goes a long way, especially with the Built to Destroy trait.

Here's a list of elective perks:

  • Defense
Toughness (2 ranks)
Hit the Deck
Nerd Rage!
  • Bounty Hunting
Black Widow/Confirmed Bachelor
Lady Killer/Cherchez La Femme
Robotics Expert
  • Gunning
Run 'n Gun
Shotgun Surgeon
  • Stealth
Silent Running
The Professional
  • Energy
Laser Commander
  • Explosives
Demolition Expert (3 ranks)
Splash Damage
  • Incendiaries
  • VATS Combat
Concentrated Fire
Center of Mass
Action Boy/Action Girl
Math Wrath
Plasma Spaz
Nerves of Steel
Miss Fortune
Mysterious Stranger

Level 30 Skills

Skill Value
Barter 54
Energy Weapons 100
Explosives 100
Guns 100
Lockpick 75
Medicine 70
Repair 90
Science 70
Sneak 70
Speech 54
Survival 58
This is what you'll wind up with (unbuffed,) assuming you grabbed all the relevant skill books along the way.

I put the priority in the combat skills, as the notion of stockpiling magazines in order to upkeep weapon skill for every combat encounter is ridiculous to me. It feels more appropriate to be using magazines (with chem and equipment support) to behave as "keys" for very hard locks and terminals, and instances of formidable dialogue or interaction checks.

Stackable Consumables
Remember that for food and drink, the effects will double at 50 Survival, and triple with 100, with the exception of (Cass's) Moonshine and Ant procurements, which are unaffected.

  • Strength
Buffout +2
Ant Nectar +4
Moonshine +2
Beer/Scotch/Vodka/Whiskey/Wine +1/2/3
Bighorner steak +1/2/3
Brahmin Steak +1/2/3
Mole rat stew +1/2/3
Cook-Cook's Fiend Stew +1/2/3
  • Perception
Coyote tobacco chew +1
Mentats +2
Party Time Mentats +2
Absinthe +1/2/3
  • Endurance
Buffout +3
  • Charisma
Mentats +1
Party Time Mentats +5
Ant queen pheromones +3
Moonshine +2
Absinthe +1/2/3
  • Intelligence
Mentats +2
Party Time Mentats +2
  • Agility
Coyote tobacco chew +1
Fire Ant Nectar +4

Skill Enhancing Equipment

1st Recon Beret (Perception +1, Critical Chance +5)
Vault 3 Jumpsuit (Lockpick +5, Repair +5)
Followers Lab Coat (Medicine +10, Science +10)
Naughty Nightwear (Speech +10, Luck +1)
T-51b Power Helmet (Charisma +1)
Recon Armor (Sneak +5)
Caesar's Armor (Survival +5)
Wasteland outfit (Endurance +1, Agility +1)
T-51b Power Armor (Strength +1)
T-45d Power Armor (Strength +2; If planning on using this with guns with 100 skill requirement, you'll need Milsurp Review magazines or Fire Ant Nectar, to make up for the Agility -2, or the addictive Steady, which negates strength and skill wield requirements on its own, defeating the purpose of wearing this armor in particular.. so I just wouldn't recommend this armor unless dealing with Explosives and/or Energy Weapons.)

I hope you'll find this versatile and powerful "pseudo-perfect" build to be enjoyable, or at least the organized information useful!
Good luck!

Voltaic Volition 10:09, December 13, 2010 (UTC)

Very nice write up! We need more like this, I will have a Hunter build up in a few days Stealthology 21:35, February 27, 2011 (UTC)Stealthology

The Super Human

I have a character build that you may wish to consider. You don't have to follow this character build to the letter, but there are a few perks and a trait that I recommend that you get, in order to create a super human.

Starting SPECIAL

Statistic Value
Strength 6
Perception 6
Endurance 6
Charisma 6
Intelligence 6
Agility 5
Luck 5
I know your probably thinking that this build doesn't seem like much, but if you get the recommened perks, implants, and all of the skill books including all of the skill books in Dead Money, you will get a very powerful character as you progress through the game.

Leveling Guide

Tag: Barter, Guns, and SneakNote I chose my Explosives skill to be my fourth perk when I got the Tag! perk, because it was my lowest skill at the time.

Level SP Distribution Perks Books to use
1 I try to even out my skills to about the same amount to create a super human. I don't max out any of my skills, because I think that they might add more skill books and/or increase the level cap in future expansions, If they do that it would make my character even more powerful, therefore I recommend that you don't max out any of your skills and just use skill magazines and other boosts. Traits Small Frame and Wild Wasteland. Note Wild Wasteland can be replaced for another trait if you so choose or just have Small Frame as a trait.
2 Confirmed Bachelor/


4 Educated
6 Comprehension 6 Big Book of Science

5 Chinese Army: Special Ops Training Manual
5 D.C. Journal of Internal Medicine
5 Dean's Electronics
5 Duck and Cover!
5 Grognak the Barbarian
5 Guns and Bullets
5 Lying, Congressional Style
5 Nikola Tesla and You
5 Pugilism Illustrated
5 Tales of a Junktown Jerky Vendor
5 Tumblers Today
4 The Wasteland Survival Guide

8 Intense Training
10 Intense Training
12 Intense Training
14 Intense Training
16 Intense Training
18 Intense Training
20 Intense Training
22 Intense Training
24 Intense Training
26 Intense Training
28 Here and Now/


30 Tag!
32 Swift Learner/


34 Swift Learner/



My current SPECIAL

Statistic Value
Strength 9
Perception 9
Endurance 8
Charisma 8
Intelligence 8
Agility 8
Luck 8

Level 35 Skills

Skill Value
Barter 87
Energy Weapons 88
Explosives 95
Guns 87
Lockpick 86
Medicine 86
Repair 86
Science 86
Sneak 86
Speech 88
Survival 86
Unarmed 86

Please excuse the large spacing inbetween the heading of the charts and the charts themselves, I don't know how to fix it while editing. I hope that this character build will be very fun and helpful to you and if you have skill magazines you'll be ready for anything. :)


This build is made so that you can earn a BUNCH of money in casinos, talk your way out of anything, and sneak away from/shoot your way out of anything you can't. I find that you can pass more speech checks with the female perks than with the male perks, but either sex will work. Starting SPECIAL

Statistic Value
Strength 4
Perception 2
Endurance 4
Charisma 8
Intelligence 10
Agility 3
Luck 9

Now, I know most of you will want more endurance or more perception or more agility, but this is honestly all you will need.

Your tag should be: Speech, Guns, and either Repair or Barter (whichever you prefer for repairing your gear)

Traits: Small Frame and Four Eyes. These will be a blessing as agility and perception are now not really needed as implants.

Now from here on It's fairly easy. Just add 5 points to speech, Sneak, and guns each level-up and you should be fine. Grab the obvious perks like: Black widow Cherez le Femme Terrifying Presence etc.