Fallout: New Vegas character build guide

Wasteland Negotiator

Every now and again it’s fun to just want play a character that is about as non-violent as possible. Oh sure, it might not have the charm of finishing every battle with a slo-mo decapitation due to a shotgun blast to the face, but there’s something special about conning people out of their money or seducing everything on two legs. If you really want to experience all of the dialogue in the game this is the build for you.

Just remember that some of the dialogue trees will require certain skills at particular levels. So if you want to convince someone to hand over some explosives you’ll have to have a fairly high Explosives rating to talk them into it. As such it may be to your advantage to play through the game once, beating down all enemies in your path, and taking note of what skills you require in each conversation. Then simply raise up your stats to meet the requirements for each conversation and talk your way through life.

Strength: 4
Perception: 5
Endurance: 4
Charisma: 9
Intelligence: 9
Agility: 5
Luck: 5

Tagged Skills



Good Natured
Four Eyes


Intense Training +1 INT
Black Widow / Lady Killer
Cherchez La Femme / Confirmed Bachelor
Terrifying Presence
Animal Friend (Rank 2)
Tag! (Weapon skill of choice)
See comments

The main purpose of this build is to enable you to use basically every single dialogue option you can during the course of the game. If you can seduce someone into siding with you, use your speech to convince someone to pay you more caps and Terrifying Presence will let you intimidate your way through many encounters.  Last but not least Animal Friend at Rank 2 will make the animals in the Wasteland take your side, acting as body shields against Deathclaws or Raiders.

For the rest of your perks it’s in your best interest to fixate completely on perks that will boost up the weapon skill of your choice. Consult the other various builds here to find out what perks can help you with each weapon type and then just focus entirely on that. It’s very possible to make, for example, a chatty negotiator who picks up some Brotherhood Power Armor and a Super Sledge when it comes time to bash in some faces.

Partners: Boone, Veronica.


Thief Extraordinaire

Above: Ya know, he looks like an awful Gordon Freeman.

A build like this has one purpose and one purpose alone: to get into places nobody wanted you to get. Stealing things, sneaking up on enemies for criticals or just using your stealth to assassinate the crap out of your enemies are just secondary to getting where you’re not supposed to be. It’s actually possible with a talented enough build to get into enemy compounds, complete your objective and then get out without killing any enemies.

When it comes to actually fighting enemies you’ve got a few options. If you choose to go melee you can sneak up on enemies and chop at a vulnerable spot, like their legs. With guns you can just shoot them in the back of the head with a silenced weapon to take them out quickly. But really if you’re going sneaky you might as well enjoy it – get your hands on as many explosive munitions as you can. Set mines in the path of enemies, plop ticking explosives into an enemy’s pocket and just generally blow them to pieces.

Strength: 4
Perception: 7
Endurance: 4
Charisma: 5
Intelligence: 7
Agility: 7 (+1 from Small Frame)
Luck: 7

Tagged Skills



Small Frame
Good Natured


Friend of the Night
Travel Light
Demolition Expert
The Professional
Quick Draw
Night Person
Hit the Deck
Robotics Expert
Silent Running
Splash Damage
Light Step
Tag! Guns or Energy Weapons
Laser Commander (if using Energy Weapons)

Taking a look at this build you can clearly see one of the primary purposes of the perks: making you an absolute beast at night. Friend of the Night makes it easier for you to see during the nighttime hours which are when you should be actively moving around the Wasteland or dungeons. Night Person will help you with this as well by making it easier for you to detect enemies and shoot them from a good distance or sneak past them.

Other than that you’re basically focusing on making sure you character excels at using his small gun to destroy enemies. Sneaking up on enemies with the Silenced Sub-Machine Gun can do wonderful things especially if you’re capable of landing critical hits with any reliability. That and making sure that using your explosives will utterly devastate every enemy you hit, notably when you’re using mines.

Travel Light and Silent Running will make it much easier for you to get around the world. Since you’ll be wearing light armor most of the time anyways Travel Light will help you move around rapidly. When Travel Light is paired up with Silent Running this will allow you to move around rapidly while making no sound which makes it easier to get past enemies without having to even bother fighting them.

Partners: Since you'll be rolling solo so much in order to stay hidden, a character with a passive ability outside of combat like Arcade or Raul works well.


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  • The1nherit - May 18, 2013 10:07 p.m.

    Very proud of my Melee Character. After my character drinks rushing water, injects GRX, and conducts attacks with Gehenna, my character deals out over 700 damage a second while sustaining minimal damage due to all the DT perks. After injecting a full days worth of GRX I raided Caesar's tent and made short work of the situation. My Character's Special Stats Strength 10 Perception 6+ Endurance 10 Charisma 4 Intelligence 10 Agility 10 Luck 3 All perks related to melee attacks, DT and piromania. Piromania makes Gehenna a more powerful weapon compared to blade of the west. Knockdown perk allows you to go toe to toe with deathclaws, even the Alpha Male and Alpha Female. However, I play on veryhard hardcore and I admittedly die if they get the first hit in. Oh and Ulysses is much easier to beat.
  • GanjaFallout - February 28, 2013 7:30 a.m.

    Hope nobody minds but i'd like to put my thoughts out there so here's a good all round starter for fallout. My current build started off 5 strength, 4 Perception, 6 Endurance, 3 Charisma, 9 Intelligence, 4 Agility, 9 Luck. It's a good base from my experience and i can pretty much work it any way i wanted with the perk intense training, i may want to work on my endurance to fit implants and further the weapon style of choice. usually i think with skills you got 2 main ones to choose from either science or lockpicking they both help in their own ways but pretty much resolve the same situations sometimes there are places you can only lockpick ( if you want the gobi sniper for example you need it on 100! ) or you got science which i'm sure gets you places too i just can't think of any at the moment anyway i personally prefer both tho some might consider this a waste of skill points but it comes in handy and you can get extra EXP by hacking computers corresponding to a door you can also pick lock, double EXP it's just that easy and it adds up if you explore the wasteland, explore it real good now. Now deciding your other tags is crucial because you only get 1 chance to repick and you want to be sure you got the right one done one might choose to further 1 skill set that relates to weapons this would be wise. Now 1 left you can splurge this wherever you want it, I recommend medicine, sneak, speach or survival you can choose whatever path you wish to follow but these skills each have their merit for tagging and usually later in the game you can tag an extra skill i choose repair as its of most use then tho it can be useful early in the game its not going to contribute too much that early on. Now for Traits at the moment i favor Wild Wasteland i just love it tho its good to play without it first time round i guess tho i didn't and skilled seems to be alright you can always get a perk to cancel out that -10% EXP and that +5 to every skill is quite a lot at that small stage of that game thats like 2 extra levels worth of skill for a little EXP which is bountiful in the wasteland so hope this ain't too long and you enjoy my thoughts on a good all round start to fallout
  • JReezyBeezy - October 1, 2012 12:31 p.m.

    I tried to fallow the heavy weapons build since I've never played through the game using them. But when i got to lvl 2 I realized I couldnt get Rapid Reload for the First perk Choice. It requires an Agility of 5, but in the special section its only at 4. I just wana let anyone thats planing on fallowing this build and planing on getting the rapid reload perk at lvl 2 that they should take a point from Perception and add it to Agility.
  • giggitygil - November 22, 2011 2:21 p.m.

    Suicide Nuker S 4 P 5 E 5 C 5 I 5 A 9 L 9 Traits Kamikaze Wild Wasteland Tag skills Guns Sneak Explosices
  • Jude71681 - July 1, 2011 4:46 p.m.

    Great guide & all, but should be updated as the DLC comes down the line.
  • rjazzy - May 13, 2011 11:44 p.m.

    Pretty good guide. Just one question does anyone know what the character is wearing in the good thief guide second picture? The one where he is shooting a super-mutant.
  • chupamedias - March 9, 2011 7:57 p.m.

    hey, and that golden cowboy repeater? where do you get that weapon from?
  • rory-patrick-mcguinness - September 17, 2011 6:12 p.m.

    how you get the golden cowboy repeater is with weapon mods they can cost a fair bit of caps but it makes the gun much better there are 3 weapon mods in total for the cowboy repeater. i hope i helped
  • Hoccus - January 15, 2011 11:44 a.m.

    Perks: Confirmed Bachelor/Black Widow Educated Bloody mess Commando Hand Loader Cowboy (Switch for Weapon Handling if pure sniper) Finesse Jury Rig Sniper Better Criticals Action Boy 1 & 2 Grim Reaper Sprint Math Wrath Nerves of Steel (not needed imo)
  • Hoccus - January 15, 2011 8:41 a.m.

    If you're looking for specialized builds i dont see why you wouldn't specialize your SPECIAL skills too. For my gun "dont touch me" build I went: Str: 5 (6) Per: 5 (6) End: 5 Cha: 1 Int: 9 (10) Agi: 8 (10) Luc: 7 (8) Str: 6 with implant which allows me to weild all the lever action guns i want. I use cowboy perk that gives me +25% dmg with lever action weapons. You can replace that perk with the one that gives you -2 to str requirements if you're doing strick sniper build instead for the AMR. Per: 6 with Implant gives me enough to get the perks I want for build. End: 5 gives me enough to get 5 implants that I need for my build. Cha: 1 worthless stat in my opinion. Boost your speech/barter etc, but not necessary. Int: 10 with implant. eek out as many skill points as I can. Agi: 10 with implant and small frame perk. It's a great stat as it boost gun skill, speed, action point regen, etc. VATS isn't needed in the open terrain, but it's great for indoors where you are confined in space. So the more action points and the faster they regen, the better off you are when you're running with low HP and light armor. Luck: 8 with implant. bumps all skills a lil and increase crit%. I put all left over points here. Perks mostly deal with increasing %dmg and VATS accuracy and AP. Also hand loaded bullets are totally worth the trouble of making :)
  • DeimonWinters - January 13, 2011 8:28 p.m.

    I found my best build was Strength: 6 Perception: 5 Endurance: 7 Charisma: 3 Intelligence: 9 Agility: 5 (+1 from Small Frame) Luck: 5 I set it up like this so i could get 7 upgrades from the doc later on in the game. You get 1 upgrade to any stat plus 2 special upgrades if you have the caps but you only get 1 upgrade per endurance you have. So i think its worth it to up your end for that purpose and up your intel for more stat points. Plus if you want the strong back perk you need 6 str. Regardless of what kind of char i'm playing i usually set up my char that way since i know i'll be able to play a good game
  • misfit119 - December 23, 2010 2:19 a.m.

    Oh and that unarmed build is slightly off. It is more designed for battling humans in something of an unarmed, low armor monk type build not for fighting the animals in the Wasteland so in that regard it somewhat fails. I managed to clear out the NCR Correctional Facility by myself, right from the start of the game, with that build. The perception helps with seeing enemies coming before they can hear you so you can re-enter sneak mode and then you go in and take them down. Using just that and some looted Buffout I managed to wipe out that place. It's not meant for a toe-to-toe bruiser and if that's how you're going to fight, then yes it wouldn't work. At all.
  • misfit119 - December 23, 2010 2:15 a.m.

    The reason all of these kits place average stats is because stats don't matter. At all. Or let me correct that, positive stats don't matter. When you go into negatives you start to dramatically hamper your character while going into the positives gives you almost no benefit beyond a one or two point increase to the associated stats. As a matter of fact the single best build in the game is probably 9 INT, 9 Luck and then put the rest wherever you like. Then simply tag whatever skills you're going to use for that build. This isn't like Fallout 1 & 2 where stats could have a huge impact on the variety of skills so going to extremes is, to put it bluntly, incredibly worthless. This is doubly true for new players who this guide is mostly aimed at. Also gimping Luck is, to put it mildly, beyond silly. Sneak attacking won't help you when an all out fight occurs where you can't sneak unless you're going to find and use Stealth Boys every time a face to face fight breaks out. The only build that should deemphasize luck is one that's going to use heavy handed as you can then use weapons that don't critical in the first place (a build I just recently discovered) Otherwise it's just really silly.
  • BrokenJoe - December 18, 2010 11:57 a.m.

    Or: Fallout: New Vegas Character: Wasteland Gunslinger STR: 7 PER: 8(+) Four Eyes END: 7 CHR: 2 (He’s going to be blasting his way through, not talking) INT: 8 AGL: 7 LCK: 2 (Gonna get all my criticals sneaking) This character will be able to pick up any type of gun and do work with it, though I won’t tag Energy Weapons, I will put points into them. He will be designed not to talk his way through missions, but to shoot his way through. Forget the NCR and the Legion, this guy will spread fear on his own. TAG Skills: Guns (Obviously, as I am called The GUNslinger) Repair (I do like to keep my guns in good condition) Sneak (Allows me to get a critical when crouched) Traits: Trigger Discipline (I’m not bothered about how fast I shoot; I want to be so accurate that I’m popping heads all the time!) Four Eyes (Obviously, I need high perception if I’m going to know where enemies are and have less bullet spread. Plus, it effects energy weapons; and I do like me some energy weapons.) Again, I hope to see people giving me advice as I will show my gratitude :)
  • BrokenJoe - December 15, 2010 6:07 p.m.

    I haven't got this game yet, but I know a lot about it. Once I get New Vegas, this is going to be my character build: STR: 6 PRE: 7(+) Four Eyes END: 7 CHR: 5 INT: 7 AGL: 7 LCK: 2 Traits: Four Eyes Wild Wasteland TAG skills: Guns Sneak Repair I will also be putting points into lockpick and speech. If you can, please offer tips to me on how I could change the build to my advantage.
  • Fluffynuts - November 21, 2010 1:22 a.m.

    This guide's slightly innacurate. Firstly, you need about 8 stremgth and no more than 3 perception. This little perception lets you know they're there if you can see them, which, in a melee build is all you need, seeing as you will not always be trying to shoot them from a distance when using melee weapons. Another reccomended build is not to use sneak. Sneak's fine for smuggling, and a few little options. But i have played fallout NV and 3 for a long time, and the best way to build a character is always to have science, repair and speech. Repair is better than barter, because if you use melee weapons you maintain ranged weapons and sell them off easily, aswell as bumper swords being pretty rare it severely helps to use decent repair skills in order to give one max damage which, once you get it, will last until hoover dam. Also, the original poster reccomends light armour? You will always be under fire, but heavy armour is ALWAYS superior because it will atleast keep you safe as you move towards shooting targets, but it is also beter for melee weapons protection once you get close, and it also protects from light armours huge flaws, like explosives and fire. There's plenty of reasons to choose science and speech. but personally i think almost every other skill isn't worth it save barter only, which serves to nothing seeing as it's possible to have 4k+ caps by Nipton. I hope this is helping any of you, but for a heads up, this optimises my gameplay with a melee character and i can't garuntee it does the same for you, but follow whatever you think i've said that fits your play. Thanks for reading
  • Fro4show - November 18, 2010 11:12 p.m.

    [My Unarmed Build] Str-8 -Partners:ED-e, Boone per-1 -Tag:Unarmed, Sneak, Speech end-8 -Traits: Heavy Handed, Wild wasteland(4 kicks) chr-4 -Perks: Im not level 30 yet so Im not going to deal with int-8 those agi-7 -Implants:Sub-dermal, Monocyte Breeder luk-4
  • ImanSain - November 14, 2010 6:02 p.m.

    Not the Bots, the Turrets, I would use the Turrents, and the Consoles to activate security bots. Nothing says "Daddy's Home!" like sneaking into a room of Talon Company, and taking them all out with their own turrets, or better yet Enclave Troopers. Or you can sneak up on one with "The Dismemberer" Axe and have some fun.
  • ImanSain - November 14, 2010 5:54 p.m.

    Hey Dragon, I was a Stealth/Sniper (High Vats/Critical) build in FO3, I would slap Albino RadScorpions around like WHOA! I could walk into a building and take out everything and everyone and not even take take damage because they didnt see me coming. Shut down bots, turn them against Raiders & Super Mutants, so as they were fighting eachother I was looting. Why would you think Unarmed is horrible? So Paralyzing Palm + Ninja + Slayer = a Horrible Unarmed Sneaking Ability?? I don't know... to me that sounds pretty win.

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