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For the Fallout 4 difficulty, see Survival mode.
For the discontinued Fallout 76 gameplay mode, see Survival (Fallout 76).
For the Fallout Shelter difficulty, see Survival mode (Fallout Shelter).

Survival is a skill in Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout: The Roleplaying Game. It replaces the Outdoorsman skill from Fallout and Fallout 2.


Fallout: New Vegas

The Survival skill allows the player character to create more powerful poisons, chems, and consumable food and drink items at campfires scattered around the wasteland as the skill is increased.

Higher levels of the Survival skill also increase the effectiveness of food items, including stat changes, whether they are made from Survival recipes or not, up to a tripling effect at a skill level of 100. However, this does include negative effects such as penalties to S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats or increases to the character's Dehydration, Starvation and Sleep while in Hardcore mode. Radiation effect on foods is not affected.

For example, the gecko steak:
  • Heals 2 HP/second for 15 seconds, -30 Dehydration, -75 Starvation at 0 skill.
  • Heals 4 HP/second for 15 seconds, -60 Dehydration, -150 Starvation at 50 skill.
  • Heals 6 HP/second for 15 seconds, -90 Dehydration, -225 Starvation at 100 skill.

While the skill's name "Survival" would denote it simply being a practiced form of subsistence, the survival skill also encompasses the (relatively) finer points of cuisine in post-apocalyptic America. This is well displayed with the Courier being able to prepare such food items as the wasteland omelet, fire ant fricassée, and atomic cocktail.


Example: A starting Endurance of 5 and Luck of 5.

Effects on food are affected by the Survival skill with the following equation:

In basic terms, food items become twice as effective with a Survival skill of 50, and three times as effective with a Survival skill of 100. This progression is linear, meaning at a skill level of 75 food items are 2.5x as effective.

Increasing skill


Survival in quests and exploration

Survival-based perks

Perk Requirement Level Additional Requirements
Hunter 30 2
Old World Gourmet Dead Money 45 2 Endurance 6
Entomologist 45 4 Intelligence 4
Rad Child 70 4
Travel Light 45 4
Home on the Range Honest Hearts 70 8
Rad Resistance 40 8 Endurance 5
Tribal Wisdom Honest Hearts 70 8
Animal Friend 45 10 Charisma 6
Walker Instinct Lonesome Road (add-on) 50 18
Mile in Their Shoes Old World Blues (add-on) 25 20
Them's Good Eatin' Old World Blues (add-on) 55 20
Roughin' It Lonesome Road (add-on) 100 28

Fallout: The Roleplaying Game

The Survival skill covers all manner of practical bush craft, like hunting, foraging, fishing, building makeshift shelters, and lighting fires.Fallout: The Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook p. 46

The default attribute paired with survival is Endurance. Depending on the context of the action, survival can also be paired with any other attribute with suggestions from the core rulebook including Charisma to charm an animal or Perception to figure time until sundown.

Behind the scenes

  • Survival appears only in Fallout: New Vegas, although it is based on the Outdoorsman skill from Fallout and Fallout 2.
  • Internally the Survival skill is identified as "AVThrowing," though one cannot see this designation unless examining the game's resources using third-party editing utilities such as FNVEdit. This is because the Survival skill takes the place of the planned, but ultimately scrapped Throwing skill from Fallout 3, including its skill "slot" and associated Form IDs.
  • In Fallout: The Roleplaying Game, the image used for survival is of the Survivalist perk in Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics. The perk is in turn inspired by Sylvester Stallone's character John Rambo, from the movies First Blood; Rambo: First Blood, Part Two and Rambo III.

See also