SPECIAL is an acronym of Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck. These are the seven basic attributes of every character in the game. They are used to determine the skills and available perks of the given character.
Derived statistics are attributes of a character which are based on (or derived from) the character's primary statistics or attributes which the player cannot influence directly.
The following derived statistics exist in Fallout 2:
There are 18 different skills in the game. They are ranked from 0% to 300%. The starting values for those skills at Level 1 are determined by the player's 7 basic attributes, but most of those skills would fall between 0% and 50%. Every time the player gains a level, he will be awarded skill points to be used to improve his skills, equal to 5 points + twice his Intelligence. The player may choose to "tag" 3 of the 18 skills. A tagged skill will improve at twice the normal rate.
How high a skill can be developed is affected by the character's Attributes - a character with a low Intelligence will not be able to boost their Science rating as high as a character with high Intelligence, for example. As skills grow higher in rating, they begin to cost more skill points to increase.
The skills in Fallout 2 are:
- 6 combat skills: Small Guns, Big Guns, Energy Weapons, Unarmed, Melee Weapons, Throwing.
- 8 active skills: First Aid, Doctor, Sneak, Lockpick, Steal, Traps, Science, Repair.
- 4 passive skills: Speech, Barter, Gambling, Outdoorsman.
Some NPCs can improve skills via training.
Books found throughout the gameworld can improve Small Guns, First Aid, Science, Repair, and Outdoorsman skills, up to a maximum of 91% skill value; books are scarce early in the game, and the max cap can prevent their use later on. Vault City and San Francisco are good sources of books.
Some skills can be improved while having certain items equipped. For example, equipping a lockpick would improve lock picking skills. Stimulants can also temporarily boost player's skills; however, they often have adverse effects such as addiction and withdrawal.
Changes from Fallout
Skills start off at a lower rate than the first game, and the various skills are also more important. Previously, skills like Unarmed, Doctor, and Traps were used sparingly, but now, all skills are useful to a degree. The maximum level of a skill was increased from 200 to 300. Another notable change is that a skill, after reaching 100%, requires more than 1 skill point to increase, up to 6 skill points per 1% (2% if the skill is tagged) increase after 200%. The Unarmed skill in particular was made much more sophisticated by adding different types of punches and kicks depending on the player's attributes and skill level.
At character creation, the player may choose 2 optional traits. Traits are special character attributes, such as "Skilled" (which drastically increases the player's skills, but adds an extra level before the player may choose each perk), or "Jinxed" (enemies have a greater chance of critical attack failures, but so does the player). A trait normally provides one beneficial and one detrimental effect, and is listed below the "Perks" section in the character sheet. Once a trait is chosen, it is impossible to change, except by using the "Mutate!" perk which allows the player to change one trait, but only once.
Perks are special elements of the leveling system. Every 3 levels (or every 4 if the player chose the "Skilled" Trait), the player is granted a perk of his choosing. Perks grant special effects, most of which are not obtainable via normal play in the game, such as letting the player take more actions per round. Unlike traits, most perks are purely beneficial - they are usually offset only by the infrequency of accquiring them.
Changes from Fallout