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Fallout: New Vegas character build guide

This is a build meant to ease the burden of playing on Hardcore mode. There is an achievement / trophy wrapped up in completing it so this should help out. Note that you don’t need a build particularly suited to playing on Hardcore difficulty, you just need to play a bit smarter, but this will make it a whole lot less painful.

The main point of this build is to make you mostly dependant on yourself. With a high Survival you can hunt animals and turn them into better food at campsites which removes your need to carry quite as much food. Pick between Guns and Energy Weapons as your primary source of offense as melee combat is a bit too dangerous. Lastly you’ll want Barter so that when you bring all those animal skins and looted equipment back to town you can buy enough stuff to resupply for another trip into the Wasteland.

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

Tagged Skills

Guns / Energy Weapons


Good Natured
Trigger Discipline


Hand Loader
Lead Belly
Gunslinger or Commando (as your weapon choice)
Pack Rat
Rad Resistance
Strong Back
Animal Friend (Should take 2 Ranks)
Adamantium Skeleton
Jury Rigging
Tag! (Repair)
Solar Powered
Spray and Pray

This is probably one of the most fun character types to play as you really feel like you’re living the life of a Mojave Wastelander. Each Perk fills a particular niche: Hunter makes it easier to get food by killing enemies, Educated gives extra skill points and so on. The most important ones are probably Pack Rat and Strong Back as these let you carry extra weight. Also having Adamantium Skeleton makes it so that you need less limb recovery. Lastly once you have Solar Powered you will need less healing items during the day.

Since ammunition has weight in Hardcore mode you’ll want to approach this in a more intelligent manner. Break down as much of your ammunition as you like into its components and sell everything else. Only ever keep one or two types of ammunition on you for very particular weapons. Carrying .308 and .357 rounds for a Hunting / Sniper Rifle and a Cowboy Repeater isn’t a bad idea.

For this reason going with Energy Weapons is almost suggested more than regular guns. Since there are only three or so types of ammunition for energy weapons you can carry two or three different guns but only need to worry about a few different types of ammo.

Regardless of how you do it, it’s suggested that you keep each weapon stocked with a different type of ammo. So keep your rapid fire weapons stocked with basic ammo, your sniper weapon stocked with Hollow Points if going for head shots or armor penetrators / Max Charge if going for body shots and keep your close range weapons stocked with armor penetrators / Overcharge. This allows you to change guns to suit each situation you end up in while also automatically equipping the ammo that best helps in said situation.

This one is called the “ultimate” starting build because it gives you a whole hell of a lot of benefits early on in the game. Very few of the other builds are going to be as well rounded as this one due to how the game works. If you’re not exactly excited about playing with these stats / tagged skills then all you have to do is re-spec your character when you go to leave Goodsprings as these three skills are basically designed to let you fully complete all of the missions in Goodsprings before moving on.

The main point of this build is that with the super high Intelligence. This will give you a lot of skill points to distribute for the first few levels you can gain during the prologue part of the game. If you level up twice you can gain 30 skill points before leaving the first town so you can raise up three skills rather significantly or just boost a whole bunch of others. Taking Swift Learner speeds this up immensely and allows you to more or less max out your character in rather short order.

There is only one thing to be aware of – many perks ask for 6’s or 7’s in particular SPECIAL traits. You can use the Intense Training perk to meet these requirements but this should be done sparingly. Instead it’s heavily suggested you find all of the snow globes, trade them in to Mr. House and use that money to purchase Implants at the New Vegas Medical Center for about 4,000 caps a piece. If you still don’t meet the requirements to take a perk then you can consider taking Intense Training.

*NOTE: Wild Wasteland isn’t a necessity here but with it you get a few events, one of which can net you a very, very powerful gun.

Strength: 5
Perception: 5
Endurance: 5
Charisma: 5
Intelligence: 10
Agility: 5
Luck: 5

Tagged Skills



Good Natured
Wild Wasteland


See comments.

Partners: See comments.

There are no real set perks for this build. Instead you should look at the perks for the type of character you want to play and use those as a suggested list. So if you wanted to play a sniper you would take from that list or if you wanted to play a more talkative type you would take from the Wasteland Negotiator build. As your SPECIAL stats aren’t as important as your skill levels you can basically play whatever character you want with this starting build with no difficulty. This goes double for your partners – take the ones that compliment your skill build.

The only real suggestions are Retention, Comprehension and Educated. By taking these two perks you will be able to make very good use of the skill books in the game, allowing them to last for a good, long time and making them incredibly powerful. Using these will allow you to fill in any gaps in your skills as well as making you very powerful in and out of combat.

*NOTE: This is the build that this writer used to complete the game in Hardcore mode. By starting off with this build it placed the character in a really good starting position. Then before leaving town we changed our Tagged skills to Survival, Guns and Barter and focused on the Hardcore Survivalist perks.

Also you might want to consider taking Nerd Rage if you’re planning on making a melee character as that skill is ridiculously powerful. This and a few other changes can make for some very powerful melee character. Take Nerd Rage, Chemist and Chem Resistant and then go into melee with some Buffout, Med-X and Psycho when your health is below 50% and just watch as you tear through enemies with your nerd monster.

Nov 2, 2010