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Fallout Wiki

Character creation[]

The maximum level obtainable in Fallout: New Vegas is 30; however, each add-on installed adds an additional 5 levels to the maximum. With all four add-ons, the level is increased to a final level maximum of 50.

Primary statistics[]

Main article: SPECIAL

The S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system has remained mostly consistent throughout the Fallout series. As has been the case since Fallout, the character's S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes default to 5 points per attribute, with an additional 5 points to be distributed during character creation, for a total of 40 points. As in previous games, individual attributes can be adjusted upward and downward so long as the total equals exactly 40. Also as in previous games, individual attributes cannot go lower than 1 or higher than 10; any bonuses or penalties beyond those are simply ignored.

S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stands for:

Unlike Fallout and Fallout 2, the game internally keeps track of "base stats," which are the SPECIAL scores without any temporary adjustments (such as from chems or certain equipment). These base stats are used both for checking against the prerequisites for a perk and for determining the number of skill points allocated on a level up. The only ways to modify these "base stats" are through:

Starting Old World Blues automatically grants the Spineless perk (+1 Strength) and completing it gives the option to replace Spineless with Reinforced Spine (+2 Strength). However, these bonuses do not count for perk requirements.

There is a special Endurance calculation used just for the New Vegas medical clinic implant limit, which is base Endurance minus any Endurance implant. This is to prevent an Endurance implant from being "free" (as otherwise it would be possible to install an Endurance implant and still have the same number of available implants as before). Taking all these stat buffs will yield 23 SPECIAL points, the maximum possible without the use of cheats.

Ranks of SPECIAL[]

Rank Strength Perception Endurance Charisma Intelligence Agility Luck
1 Wet Noodle Deaf Bat Basically Dead Misanthrope Sub-Brick Walking Disaster 13 Pitch-Black Cats
2 Beached Jellyfish Senile Mole Crumbly Old Hermit Vegetable Accident Prone Broken Gypsy Mirror
3 Doughy Baby Squinting Newt Do Not Bend Creepy Undertaker Cretin Oaf Sickly Albatross
4 Lightweight Unsuspecting Trout Handle With Care Peevish Librarian Knuckle Head Butterfingers Spilled Salt
5 Average Joe Wary Trout Stain-Resistant Substitute Teacher Knowledgeable Under Control Coin Flip
6 Barrel Chested Alert Coyote Hardy Cheery Salesman Gifted Catlike Stacked Deck
7 Beach Bully Big-Eyed Tiger Tough-as-nails Diplomat Smartypants Knife Thrower Lucky 7
8 Circus Strongman Monocled Falcon Flame Retardant Movie Star Know-It-All Knife Catcher Leprechaun's Foot
9 Doomsday Pecs Sniper Hawk Bullet Proof Casanova Genius Acrobatic Marvel 21 Leaf Clover
10 Hercules' Bigger Cousin Eagle with Telescope Unstoppable Cult Leader Omniscient Walks on Water Two-Headed Coin Flip

Derived statistics[]

Derived statistics are attributes of a character that cannot be set directly, but are instead based on (or derived from) the character's primary statistics or attributes.

The following derived statistics are known to exist in Fallout: New Vegas:

Derived statistic Description Derived from Initial value
Action Points The higher the number, the more actions you can perform in a single V.A.T.S. round. Agility (AGL * 3) + 65
Addiction Resistance Chance of becoming addicted to chems or alcohol is reduced by this percentage. Perks
Carry Weight How much you can carry before you become overencumbered. Strength (STR * 10) + 150
Companion Nerve How much bonus damage and defense your companions receive. Charisma (CHA * 5)%
Critical Chance Chance that a hit will inflict critical damage. Luck (LCK)%
Damage Resistance Any damage taken is reduced by this percentage. It is applied before DT. Only a few rare non-player characters use DR. Perks, Kamikaze, Med-X, Slasher, Battle Brew, Clothing worn
Damage Threshold This amount is subtracted from any damage taken. Armor worn, Perks, Implants.
Dehydration A meter that will tell you if the player is dehydrated or hydrated. (Hardcore mode) Survival
Amount of water drank
Energy Resistance All energy weapons damage you receive is reduced. Marked beast helmet, Atomic cocktail
Fatigue How much special fatigue damage you can take before you are knocked unconscious. Endurance, Level
Fire Resistance All fire damage you receive is reduced by this percentage. Armor worn, atomic cocktail
Healing Rate How many Hit Points are restored over time. Endurance, Perks, Monocyte Breeder
Hit Points How much damage you can take before you die. Endurance, Level 95 + (END * 20) + (Level * 5)
Implant Limit Number of implants that can be installed by Dr. Usanagi. Endurance (END - END implant)
Melee Damage Bonus damage with Melee Weapons Strength (STR * 0.5)
Perk Rate How often a character is allowed to pick a perk. Every even number level up
Poison Resistance All poison damage you receive is reduced by this percentage. Endurance, Perks (END * 5) - 5
Radiation Resistance How adept your body is at ignoring exposure to radiation. Endurance, Perks (END * 2) - 2
Reload Speed Modifies the amount of time taken to reload a weapon. Agility 10/(AGI + 5)
Skill Rate How many skill points your character gains per level. Intelligence, Perks (INT x 0.5) + 10
Sleep A meter that tells you how long the player has been awake and when the player needs sleep. (Hardcore mode) Amount of time slept in a bed
Starvation A meter that tells how hungry the player is. (Hardcore mode) Survival
Amount of food consumed
Unarmed Damage Damage done with fists (damage of Unarmed weapons is added to this value). Unarmed skill (Unarmed skill/20) + 0.5
  • Weapon Damage


Skills in Fallout: New Vegas determine effectiveness in a variety of situations. As in the previous games, three Tag skills out of thirteen are selected as the character's specialties. Tagging a skill grants a 15 point bonus to that skill. S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes affect the starting level of each skill.

The skills in Fallout: New Vegas are:


Perks are special elements of the level up system which grant special effects and abilities. In Fallout: New Vegas, a perk is granted every two levels. Many perks have attribute and/or level requirement(s); for example, the Mysterious Stranger perk requires 6 Luck and can only be taken after reaching character level 10. Some perks also grant special bonuses; for example the Mysterious Stranger perk grants a non-player character from above that comes down to help in combat every once in a while.

For a list of perks, please see Fallout: New Vegas perks.


Traits modify different aspects of gameplay, including (but not limited to) primary statistics, derived statistics, and skills. Traits always have both positive and negative results. For example, the Small Frame trait grants a +1 to Agility but also makes limbs more easily crippled.

One can choose up to two traits when designing a character (or none at all).

For a list of traits, please see Fallout: New Vegas traits.


There is a maximum of 61 SPECIAL points available in Fallout New Vegas, requiring all ten ranks of Intense Training, the Small Frame trait, the seven implants available from the New Vegas Medical Clinic, the completion of Lonesome Road, and the Reinforced Spine perk from Old World Blues.

Changes from previous Fallout games[]

Much of the SPECIAL from Fallout 3 remains intact, with very few new features being added in the way of character creation or stats. Weapons now have a minimum Strength requirement to be used effectively, like in Fallout and Fallout 2. Also returning from the first two games are low Intelligence characters, which can be created by setting Intelligence to less than 3. The SPECIAL bobbleheads from Fallout 3 have been replaced by implants available from the New Vegas medical clinic.