For when using a melee weapon is just too safe there’s also the obligatory hand to hand combat route. The thing that makes unarmed combat so tricky is the fact that when using your bare hands you don’t do much damage at all. Getting your hands on Spiked Knuckles will set you down the path to actually dealing appreciable damage with your attacks. It’s very important that you upgrade to a better weapon as soon as possible.
It’s actually a good deal more important to play things sneaky with this build than it is with the melee build. With the melee build you can actually deal some rather impressive damage with the right weapons. But it takes a good long while into the game to get weapons that deal enough damage to be helpful to an unarmed build. Sneak up on enemies to put the hurt on them, especially once you start unlocking the special unarmed attacks (unlocked at skill ranking 25 and 50).
Black Widow / Lady Killer
Cherchez la Femme / Confirmed Bachelor
Travel Light (if using Light Armor)
While increasing the three Tagged Skills, especially Unarmed and Sneak, you will also want to increase Speech. There are a few areas where you can talk your way out of fighting entirely which is very helpful during any unarmed playthrough. Much like the melee build we have mostly focused on taking the perks that will enable us to deal more damage with our hand-to-hand attacks to kill enemies before they deal too much damage.
To maximize the effectiveness of this build you will absolutely want to complete a few side quests and associate with a few followers in particular. Ranger Andy in Novac can be talked into teaching you a NCR Ranger power move that is very helpful, if you give your follower Veronica a dress of any sort she will teach you a counter attack, complete the side quest: Aba Daba Honeymoon to learn a nasty Khan trick, and if you’re siding with them, Lucius of Ceasar’s Legion can teach you another nasty attack.
Partners: Ally with Boone and Ed-E as quickly as possible and stick with them. Get Boone some good weapons and armor and he will keep you covered from a range when a fight breaks out, weakening or killing enemies for you. While Gannon can help keep you healed, you'll really need Boone's extra damage dealing talents here.
To be frank, a sniper is probably one of the easiest ways to play through Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas. You will rely heavily on VATs for the earlier portion of the game, but with the right guns this can be incredibly deadly. Later on, when you have a good sniper rifle, you can use that to take shots on the enemies from far away without needing to use VATs quite as much. VATs is a death sentence for your enemies by level 12 – 14, since the repeated, very accurate, headshots will kill most foes in no time.
With this build you’ll find that it’s very important to carry around a few separate weapons. A Sniper Rifle helps with extreme range shots although these wear down easily, so using them for close encounters is a bad idea. Cowboy Repeaters are very strong, fire quickly and are all around a great weapon to carry for mid to long range encounters. Lastly if you’d like to keep a holdout weapon like a Silenced Pistol / SMG or an overly powerful sidearm like a Hunting Revolver, then do so for close range combat.
Friend of the Night
Robotics Expert (can be helpful for dealing with problematic robots)
Action Boy / Girl
Grim Reaper’s Sprint
Nerves of Steel
Where the previous builds focused on increasing your damage against every type of enemy in the game, this build instead focuses on making each shot as deadly as possible. By sneaking up on foes for a close range series of VATs headshots you can take down even the toughest of enemies in rather short order. Early on this build is somewhat weaker because of this, but as the game progresses they slowly begin to utterly dominate combat until most enemies pose little to no threat.
One of the things to note about sneak heavy builds like this one is that when you’re out in the wilderness it’s hard to sneak around and move in any sort of timely manner. Even with Silent Running you’re still moving rather slowly. As such it’s best to keep Ed-E around so he warns you of any enemies before they even notice you allowing you time to enter sneak mode to go after them or avoid them.
With this character type your equipment becomes incredibly important.
Partners: Since you’ve got the long ranged combat covered, you have a few options. Bringing Rex is better for helping you in combat but Ed-E’s increased sensors will help you know when enemies are around. The same goes for your human companions: bringing a melee fighter like Veronica or Lily is probably best for helping you with actual combat but by picking a ranged fighter, like Boone, enemies can be cut down long before they get anywhere near you. Pick whatever suits your fighting style, so if you bring Rex then it’s best to bring Veronica or Lily and let Boone compliment Ed-E.