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Fallout Wiki


Perks in Fallout are acquired every three levels (four with the Skilled trait), with the first available at level 3 (4). With the max level set at 21, the player can theoretically choose seven perks (five with the trait) out of a total of 53. In practice, level 21 is not attainable without significant grinding and the number of perk slots is typically five-six (four with the aforementioned trait).

Some perks have multiple ranks, with stacking benefits (all benefits are listed per-level). It is possible to obtain perks that the player's character doesn't qualify for by the use of temporary stat improving chems before the selection menu (i.e. a character with 4 Intelligence can use Mentats to select the Educated perk, which requires 6 Intelligence).


The switchover to SPECIAL after the GURPS license was abandoned late in development greatly affected the functionality of what became perks. Out of the 53 perks only a dozen are implemented in a fashion that gives a functional benefit. Perks like Awareness (detailed combat information) or Bonus Rate of Fire/Bonus HtH Attacks (global reductions of AP costs for attacks) have an outsized effect on gameplay due to their usability, as do globally useful perks like Action Boy/Girl, Bonus Move, More Criticals/Better Criticals, Quick Pockets, Dodger, and Toughness.

The remaining 43 perks have marginal effects due to systemic issues in SPECIAL and game balance, including the level limit. The limited amount of experience points and arbitrary level limit the utility of perks focused on increasing the rate of experience gain (Swift Learner), providing per-level benefits (Lifegiver), or consuming a perk slot to alter the trait selection (Mutate!). They also relegate perks like Slayer or Sniper to curiosities, as they are not available without significant grinding.

Other examples of structural flaws in the system have been outlined in the Notes section in the following tables.

Regular perks[]

Combat perks[]

Most combat perks offer only marginal benefits, due to underlying mechanics. These limitations are outlined in notes.

Name Level req Other requirements Ranks Benefit Notes
Action Boy 12 AG 5 3 +1 AP per rank
Animal Friend 9 IN 5, Outdoorsman 25% 1 Animals will not attack on sight Does not apply to deathclaws, centaurs or floaters
Awareness 3 PE 5 1 Examining a target shows hitpoints, weapon and ammunition count
Better Criticals 9 PE 6, AG 4, LK 6 1 20% bonus to critical hit damage
Bonus HtH Attacks 6 AG 6 1 Hand-to-hand and melee attacks cost 1 AP less to perform
Bonus HtH Damage 3 ST 6, AG 6 3 +2 points of damage for hand-to-hand and melee attacks. Marginal bonus.
Bonus Move 6 AG 5 3 +2 AP per turn that can be only be used for movement
Bonus Ranged Damage 6 AG 6, LK 6 2 +2 points of damage for ranged weapon attacks. Marginal bonus.
Bonus Rate of Fire 9 PE 6, IN 6, AG 7 1 Ranged weapon attacks cost 1 AP less to perform
Dodger 9 AG 4 2 +5 Armor Class
Earlier Sequence 3 PE 6 3 +2 to attack sequence Only affects initial combat turn if NPCs initiate combat
Friendly Foe 6 PE 4 1 In-combat characters on the player's team are highlighted green, instead of red Reimplemented in Fallout 2 as a core part of the interface
Heave Ho! 6 3 +2 to Strength when determining range of a thrown weapon Does not have any effect unless the player character's strength is less than 4
More Criticals 6 LK 6 3 +5% chance of critical hits
Night Vision 3 PE 6 3 10% reduction in darkness level Limited impact due to the underlying chance to hit calculation that prioritizes weapon skills
Rad Resistance 6 EN 6, IN 4 3 +10% to Radiation Resistance Only floaters deal radiation damage; radiation is not a concern, except for the Glow
Sharpshooter 6 PE 7, IN 6 2 +2 to Perception when determining range modifiers Limited impact due to the underlying chance to hit calculation that prioritizes weapon skills
Slayer 18 ST 8, AG 8, Unarmed 80% 1 All HtH attacks are critical hits
Snakeater 6 EN 3 1 +25% to Poison Resistance Few creatures can poison the player character and the damage is minimal
Sniper 18 PE 8, AG 8, Small Guns 80% 1 Increased chance to score a critical hit with ranged weapons
Toughness 3 EN 6, LK 6 3 +10% to damage resistance

Stealth perks[]

Design of stealth and theft is simplistic. There are no indications whether the player character is successfully sneaking. If a sneaking character is detected, they will be ejected or immediately attacked with little warning, while failing to steal consistently causes targets (and usually the whole map) to turn permanently hostile, requiring reloads or killing off the whole map.

Name Level req Other requirements Ranks Benefit
Ghost 6 Sneak 60% 1 +20% to Sneak in dark conditions
Pickpocket 9 AG 8, Sneak 80% 1 Size and facing modifiers are ignored when stealing from someone
Silent Death 18 AG 10, Sneak 80% 1 When sneaking HtH attacks from behind do double damage
Silent Running 6 AG 6, Sneak 50% 1 Able to sneak and run at the same time

World map perks[]

The limited variety of world map encounters and the reliance of special encounters on raw Luck make these perks have marginal uses.

Name Level req Other requirements Ranks Benefit Notes
Explorer 9 1 Higher chance of finding special places and people in random encounters Marginal, if any, chance of finding special encounters.
Fortune Finder 6 LK 8 1 Additional money is found during random encounters Marginal impact: Money spawns in minor amounts in random encounters
Mysterious Stranger 6 LK 7 1 Chance for the Mysterious Stranger to appear The Stranger is lightly armed and will not appear again if killed
Pathfinder 6 EN 6, Outdoorsman 40% 2 25% reduction in travel time on the world map Travel time has no impact on the game, as the initial time limit is generous and the 500 day invasion limit was removed
Ranger 6 PE 6 3 Chance of hostile random encounters is lowered Effectively reduces the amount of experience and loot that can be gained from random encounters.
Scout 3 PE 8 1 Exploration is increased by 1 square in every direction on the world map World map vision is not a factor in the game
Scrounger 9 LK 8 1 Doubles the amount of ammo found in random encounters Marginal impact: Ammunition is abundant throughout the game
Survivalist 3 EN 6, IN 6, Outdoorsman 40% 3 +20% bonus to Outdoorsman for survival checks Survival checks deal minimal damage and are always absorbed by equipped armor.

Skill perks[]

Each level-up provides enough skill points to eliminate the need to pick any of the following perks. Unlike later games, these perks do not unlock any additional dialogue options either. Although Master Trader is billed as improving Barter, all items sold by the player in Fallout are sold at full price regardless of their Barter skill.

Name Level req Other requirements Ranks Benefit
Educated 6 IN 6 3 +2 skill points at level up
Master Thief 12 1 +10% to skills: Sneak, Lockpick, Steal, and Traps
Master Trader 9 CH 7, Barter 60% 1 +25% to Barter skill, hidden[1]
Medic 12 1 +20% to skills: First Aid and Doctor
Mr. Fixit 12 1 +20% to skills: Repair and Science
Speaker 12 1 +20% to skills: Speech and Barter
Tag! 12 1 Pick an additional Tag Skill

Dialogue perks[]

Name Level req Other requirements Ranks Benefit Notes
Cult of Personality 12 CH 10 1 People will always view the player character favorably regardless of the player's reputation or the non-player character's alignment It's virtually impossible for characters to react negatively to the player character.
Empathy 6 PE 7, IN 5 1 Reaction levels are shown when in an indepth converstaion
Presence 3 CH 6 3 +10% to initial reaction of NPCs
Smooth Talker 3 IN 4 3 +1 to Intelligence for the purposes of dialogue Intelligence has a marginal effect on the success of speech checks, as the game prioritizes the Speech skill; Mentats also provide the same benefit.

Miscellaneous perks[]

Name Level req Other requirements Ranks Benefit Notes
Faster Healing 3 EN 6 3 +1 bonus to healing rate Stimpaks are readily available and chem addiction has a very limited duration
Flower Child 9 EN 5 1 50% less likely to be addicted to chems, and withdrawal time is halved
Healer 3 PE 7, IN 5, AG 6, First Aid 40% 3 2-5 more hit points healed when using First Aid or Doctor skills
Lifegiver 12 EN 4 3 +4 HP per level Marginal benefit due to the level limit
Mental Block 15 1 Resistance to Master's psychic attacks Psychic nullifier is readily available
Mutate! 9 1 Change a trait
Quick Pockets 3 AG 5 3 -1 to AP Cost to access Inventory Cost is 4/3/2/1 AP, depending on ranks taken.
Strong Back 3 ST 6, EN 6 3 Carry an additional 50 lbs. of equipment. Party members can carry a lot and party size becomes unlimited.
Swift Learner 3 IN 4 3 +5% bonus whenever XP is earned.

Weapon perks[]

These are hidden perks that apply whenever the Vault Dweller has a particular weapon equipped, providing additional bonuses.

Name Effect Weapons using the perk
Weapon Accurate +20% hit chance at all ranges
Weapon Knockback Knocks back the target (1 hex per 5 points of damage)
  • Sledgehammers
Weapon Long Range Range penalties start applying at twice the normal distance: 4*(Perception - 2) hexes
Weapon Penetrate -80% target Damage Threshold

Armor perks[]

These are hidden perks that apply whenever the Vault Dweller wears a particular armor suit, providing additional bonuses.

Name Effect Armors using the perk
Combat Armor +20% Radiation Resistance
Powered Armor +3 Strength

+30% Radiation Resistance

See also[]


Perks in Fallout