Fallout: New Vegas character build guide

One of the hardest parts of Fallout: New Vegas is actually choosing what sort of character to play. There are so many basic archetypes to choose from and then there are almost infinite variations on exactly how you build your character that this game can be daunting to even start up. Here we have gathered up a bunch of basic character builds for the interested gamers to consult. Obviously we make no claims that these are “perfect” builds but they’re fairly well optimized to fit certain roles.

We’ve tried to include a fair variety of builds for players to choose from when picking from these but it’s very unlikely we’ve thought of everything. So just remember that the best build you can make in this game is the one you create especially for yourself. For example this writers’ personal build is something he jokingly refers to as “The Chatty Sniper” – it takes Small Frame, Trigger Discipline and Tags Guns, Sneak and Speech.

There are a few things to note about the builds listed below:

About laser builds: When making a laser using character it doesn’t necessarily require its own unique build. You can simply have the lasers replace the weapons from almost any other build. So a sniper type could take Energy Weapons and use those as his sniping instruments. But it does help to give yourself Science to aid in recharging energy cells. Barter is also arguably more helpful than Repair since you won’t find many laser weapons early on so you want to have enough money to pay for repairs.

Another important thing to take note of is Hardcore mode. Take note that it isn’t actually all that difficult, merely a bit more complicated. The trick here is that you must always be aware of the various extra stats in this mode. Sleeping, eating and drinking are constantly required but making sure you have the supplies when you need them can be quite tricky.

Lastly, be aware that you can always replace a suggested perk with a select few other perks: Swift Learner, Intense Training, Comprehension, Educated or Tag! The Perks listed are simply suggestions, and  you can quite easily replace them with one of these. Also more than 15 of them are listed simply to show you which are suggested for the character build in question. 

Check out the rest of our Fallout: New Vegas guides right here:

Fallout: New Vegas Super Review | Companion Character Guide | Snow Globe Guide 


Melee Warrior

A melee character is definitely a heck of a challenge in the Fallout games. Many of the enemies are stronger and more dangerous in melee than you are, so it’s a risk every time you get near them; also, Deathclaws. The hard part to a melee character is that you must wear light armor if you wish to close in on enemies fast enough that their guns won’t tear you to shreds but when forced into a heads up battle against multiple foes with guns light armor won’t help you too much.

Playing this character can be somewhat difficult if you’re not good at the game. You’re going to need to use strong weapons, target enemies vital points and then slice away at them. Since VATs only allows you to target the enemy in general you’ll need to do things manually. Aim for enemy limbs or their head when slicing away so as to hamper their ability to fight back. When fighting other melee opponents be sure to use VATs since those attacks are unblockable and be sure to block often.

Strength: 7
Perception: 4
Endurance: 6
Charisma: 5
Intelligence: 6
Agility: 5
Luck: 7

Tagged Skills

Melee Weapons


Heavy Handed


Swift Learner
Black Widow / Lady Killer
Cherchez la Femme / Confirmed Bachelor
Travel Light (if using Light Armor)
Bloody Mess
Living Anatomy
Super Slam
Fast Metabolism
Piercing Strike
Silent Running
Unstoppable Force

With this build we’re doing our best to do as much damage to enemies as quickly as possible. Most of the Perks we’re taking are giving us damage bonuses against particular types of enemies: Hunter and Entomologist will grant you damage bonuses on animals, notably against Geckos and Cazadors. Perks like Black Widow / Lady Killer and Cherchez la Femme / Confirmed Bachelor as well as Bloody Mess and Living Anatomy will get you up a very nice damage bonus against all humanoids.

The rest of the perks will grant you bonuses to damage or help you with penetrating enemy Damage Thresholds. Travel Light and Silent Running will make getting the jump on enemies a whole lot easier. When paired up with Heavy Hitter and Kamikaze you can easily get the jump on an enemy, hit them for a Sneak Attack critical and then use VATs to murder the crap out of them before they can fight back.

Partners: Since you’ll be in melee, Rex is somewhat redundant so you’ll want Ed-E instead. As for your humanoid companion, Boone is one of the best; his incredible sniper abilities will compliment you well. However going with Arcade Gannon will grant you extra healing from all sources (always helpful) and Raul the Ghoul will ensure that you spend less time worrying about equipment maintenance. Choose wisely.


  • smallberry - November 2, 2010 8:39 p.m.

    This is excellent. I'm about half way through my first playthrough and this will help me a lot the next time around.
  • Yeager1122 - November 2, 2010 8:44 p.m.

    For sniper strength should actually be high if you want to use the anti material rifle which so far i have found to be the best sniper weapon.
  • nightmare17 - November 2, 2010 8:45 p.m.

    I don't know what you are talking about. I personally find it easier to kill people in fallout as a "Melee Warrior". I use heavy armor and play on hard as well. Its really easy to dodge bullets in this game. Well in the beginning of the game its kinda hard being a "Melee Warrior" but gets easier as you progress.
  • ElAmmoBandito - November 2, 2010 8:54 p.m.

    I'm on my second run on this.I'm trying to get the brawler and melee trophies,and man is it a BLAST ha.It takes about a punch or two to kill my enemies ha.
  • H2A2I00 - November 2, 2010 8:54 p.m.

    i have an insanely high speech, guns, science, lockpick and energy weapons. I also have pretty good med and repair This set up is so helpful in convincing ppl and with this build i am able to take out deathclaws easily, on my next playththrough ill do hardcore mode so im gonna take you advice since you made good points on how it makes it a bit easier
  • OnyxOblivion - November 2, 2010 9:13 p.m.

    INT of 10 15 (17 with Educated) skill points per level. ??? PROFIT
  • OnyxOblivion - November 2, 2010 9:19 p.m.

    Oh, and lower Luck to 1. Luck is luck...You shouldn't need to get lucky to win a fight. And the Luck perks suck.
  • potpan0 - November 2, 2010 10:04 p.m.

    @OnyxOblivion Luck is a stat you don't really want to drop. It effects your critical chance and increases all your stats by +1 every 2 levels of it. It also increases the chance of winning at roulette.
  • JeffK - November 2, 2010 10:22 p.m.

    I'm not sure I understand the SPECIAL recommendation for the unarmed build. I don't even bother with anything unarmed, or really even melee, so I'm sure overall the build is fine. But after so explicitly noting how important sneaking would be, how can you recommend an agility of 5? I understand critical hits are a big deal, but I can't see how a luck of 8 is optimal vs. taking 1 or 2 of those points and putting them into agility. What am I missing?
  • Kaltoria - November 2, 2010 11:25 p.m.

    the second picture that GR has in hardcore survivalist is from fallout 3, thought you could put a cover over my eyes i think not.
  • Larinah - November 3, 2010 12:21 a.m.

    Final pic on page 2. Rebar Club->Power Fist. Regardless of your build you will stomp ass in. 'Nuff said.
  • Spacegrass - November 3, 2010 12:21 a.m.

    Snipers definitely need more than 4 strength, the best rifles require 6-8 to use effectively. Also, every character should have a high endurance, this will allow you to get more implants when you become a cyborg later in the game.
  • Gurkog - November 3, 2010 1:52 a.m.

    starting with a str of 4 as a sniper is not a bad thing... you can get 6 str easily and take the -2 str requirement for guns perk to use the AMR. I found that with the AMR I could 2 shot almost anything including the legendary deathclaw.... and in the case of close range battles take off at least 1/2 of anything's hp with 1 shot.
  • Gurkog - November 3, 2010 1:55 a.m.

    oh, I forgot that I almost never use VATS as a sniper since it seems to have a higher miss % for head shots than just aiming, especially at extreme ranges.
  • The4X - November 3, 2010 6:32 a.m.

    I think good advise is: have your skills upgraded until 80, if you'll need 100, use magazine (comprehension required)
  • avantguardian - November 3, 2010 2:27 p.m.

    sniper, boone, & ed-e...pretty unstoppable...especially w/ the gobi rifle...put lockpick up so you can reach 100 relatively early (i got it lvl 15), the sniper perch above cottonwood cove... it's kind of weird that this game has one of the more realistic depictions of sniping in games (i'm pretty sure you can't quickscope...a-holes, spotting, slowly scouring the (open)wilderness for your potential targets, etc.), hardcore mode helps w/ that too...but it is kind of too easy... also, anyone else think the songs are really creepy?
  • avantguardian - November 3, 2010 2:31 p.m.

    i'd also like to add that spacegrass is a great name...
  • philipshaw - November 3, 2010 7:49 p.m.

    I usually go with high speech, science and lock picking skill because it cuts out time wasted fetching things
  • IChooseUAntistaMON - November 3, 2010 9:14 p.m.

    All these kits are basically the same thing, an average amount for each SPECIAl you gatta go with extremes, i made a Brawler for my second/hardcore playthrouh he had 9 S
  • IChooseUAntistaMON - November 3, 2010 9:45 p.m.

    I forgot to finish my comment i have 9 strength 1 Perception 9 Endurance 9 Charisma(What ever points were left) Intelegence 9 agility 1 luck 1/2 and then taged survival, science and hand to hand

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