Advanced Guide to S.P.E.C.I.A.L. in Fallout 4

The S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Stats have been around in the Fallout franchise since the beginning.

Although they have changed the whole format of the game by switching from isometric gameplay to an option of first-person or third-person, they tried their best to retain the feel of the original games.

S.P.E.C.I.A.L. allows you to create a unique character, and it allows you to do this every game. This allows the player to make each new playthrough fresh and exciting. Of course, the primary way to upgrade your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats is by allotting points to them that you receive upon leveling up.

There are some other ways to get temporary upgrades such as certain pieces of clothing and armor, food and drinks, chems, and other in-game items.

There are also some other permanent ways to boost these stats such as finding bobble heads and magazines. These can be found throughout the world of Fallout as well as through the DLCs.

With that being said, to be able to create an extremely custom character, it’s important to understand how the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. works. At the end of each description is a list of the perks and short summaries that are associated with each S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stat.

S-Strength

Strength is something to understand right off the bat. Depending on your character build, it may be one of the first ones you max out. Regardless of how you’re planning to play the game, very few types of players will want to play through Fallout 4 with their Strength at 1.

Strength primarily helps with two different things: carrying capacity and melee damage. Both of these things are extremely important in the early game as you will constantly be needing to carry things far distances (until you have discovered many of the places on the map), and you will also rely a lot on melee weapons (as most of your enemies are creatures and bullets are difficult to find).

Each Strength point adds 10 to your carrying capacity while also increasing your melee damage 10% as well.

On top of that, there are various perks that can be added after the fact that can give you specific bonuses:

  • Iron Fist – Increases your unarmed “punching damage”.
  • Big Leagues – Increases your melee damage.
  • Armorer – Gives you access to armor mods.
  • Blacksmith – Give you access to melee weapon mods.
  • Heavy Gunner – Increases your heavy weapons’ damage and accuracy.
  • Strong Back – Increases your carry weight and helps when you are over-encumbered.
  • Steady Aim – Increases your hip accuracy.
  • Basher – Increases your gun bashing damage.
  • Rooted – While standing still, increases your damage resistance and melee and unarmed damage.
  • Pain Train – Increases your damage when sprinting into enemies while wearing power armor.

Each level increases the bonuses associated with it the more points you put into it.

P-Perception

Perception is almost the opposite of Strength as the core points of Perception do not add as much of a bonus. Each point does increase your V.A.T.S. by 10%. However, it is capped at 95%.

It also helps you in your lock picking and sneaking skills. If you are playing as a sneaky character, perception is definitely something to invest in. The bonuses are especially relevant to playing a sneaky character.

There are also special bonuses to be had in the Perception tree:

  • Pickpocket – Increases your chances of successfully pickpocketing items.
  • Rifleman – Increases your damage with non-automatic rifles.
  • Awareness – Displays your enemy’s specific weaknesses in V.A.T.S.
  • Locksmith – Allows you to pick advanced, expert, and master locks with each level.
  • Demolition Expert – Increases your explosives damage as well as allows you to craft explosives.
  • Night Person – Increases your intelligence and perception between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am.
  • Refractor – Increases your energy resistance.
  • Sniper – Increases various abilities with scoped, non-automatic rifles.
  • Penetrator – Allows you to target enemies’ body parts that are blocked by cover.
  • Concentrated Fire -Attacks in V.A.T.S. that are focused on one body part increase in accuracy and damage.

E-Endurance

As seen in the screenshot, the official description of Endurance is “Endurance is the measure of overall physical fitness. It affects your total health and the action point drain from sprinting.” The obvious benefit here is the increase in health points.

Health points are exactly as it sounds – the amount of health that you have. If you are playing a sneaky, engage from a distance character, this may not be as big of a deal. However, if you are going with a melee build, this is definitely something to use your points towards from the very beginning.

However, don’t discount the increase in action points as well. Action points also directly affect your sprinting and your power attacks with melee weapons. If you have are using a melee build, investing in Endurance early on will greatly help you by allowing you to deal devastating blows to your enemies.

The special bonuses that the Endurance perk unlocks are:

  • Toughness – Increases your damage resistance.
  • Lead Belly – Take less (and eventually no) radiation from eating and drinking.
  • Lifegiver – Increases maximum health.
  • Chem Resistant – Increases Chem addiction resistance.
  • Aquaboy/Aquagirl – Give unique advantages while in water.
  • Rad Resistant – Increases your radiation resistance.
  • Adamantium Skeleton – Reduces limb damage.
  • Cannibal – Eating corpses restores health.
  • Ghoulish – Radiation restores health.
  • Solar Powered – Increases your strength and endurance between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm, as well as allows sunlight to slowly heal your radiation and health.

C-Charisma

Charisma is perhaps one of the most unique perks in the game. Depending on your Charisma, it allows you to convince people to do things for you for free or for a cheaper price.

Charisma also directly influences your prices when it comes to bartering. If you are wishing to be a traveling salesman, or simply get rid of all the junk that you pick up in the wasteland, the higher the charisma you have, the better prices you will get and receive!

Charisma has some very unique bonuses such as:

  • Cap Collector – Gives you better prices and capacity when dealing with vendors.
  • Lady Killer/Black Widow – Increases your damage and persuasion chances when dealing with the opposite sex.
  • Lone Wanderer – Increases your damage, damage resistance, and carrying capacity while not having a companion.
  • Attack Dog – Allows Dogmeat to hold an enemy which gives you a chance to hit them in V.A.T.S., and also (at later levels) gives Dogmeat a chance to cripple the limb he’s biting and cause them to bleed.
  • Animal Friend – Allows you to pacify animals, and eventually incite it to attack others or even give commands.
  • Local Leader – Allows you to build supply lines in settlements as well as build stores and workstations at settlements.
  • Party Boy/Party Girl – Allows you to have no chance to get addicted to alcohol, as well as increases the effects of alcohol, and eventually increases your luck by three while under the influence of alcohol.
  • Inspirational – Increases your companion’s damage, damage resistance, carrying capacity, and allows it not to injure you or you injure your companion.

I-Intelligence

The main advantage to increasing Intelligence is that it increases your amount of experience points (XP) earned from completing missions, killing enemies, and exploring new areas. This is not a huge advantage. However, the Intelligence bonuses are among some of the best in the game:

  • V.A.N.S. – Displays the path to your closest quest in V.A.T.S.
  • Medic – Increases the healing ability of Stimpaks, and the radiation removal ability of RadAway.
  • Gun Nut – Gives you access to gun mods.
  • Hacker – Allows you to hack advanced, expert, and master terminals with each level.
  • Scrapper – Allows you to receive certain uncommon and rare components when scrapping weapons and armor.
  • Science! – Gives you access to high-tech mods.
  • Chemist – Increases the amount of time affects last from taking Chems.
  • Robotics – Allows you to hack robots, and eventually incite it to attack others or even give commands.
  • Nuclear Physicist – Increases damage from radiation weapons and increases the life of fusion cores.
  • Nerd Rage! – Increases your damage and damage resistance when your health drops below 20%.

A-Agility

Agility increases two things, your action points through V.A.T.S. as well as your sneaking. First off, what many players don’t realize is that different weapons require different amounts of action points. As you progress in the game, you will realize that the higher tier weapons require higher amounts of action points. Make sure you invest in these early on!

As well as the difference in weapons, the more enemies you find yourself taking on at once, the more action points you will need to be able to use the extremely helpful V.A.T.S. system on all those pesky raiders!

Agility has some good bonuses that can help the sneaky type of players:

  • Gunslinger – Increases non-automatic pistol damage and range.
  • Commando – Increases automatic weapons damage and hip-fire accuracy.
  • Sneak – Makes you harder to detect while sneaking, and also allows you not to trigger enemy traps and mines.
  • Mister Sandman – Allows you to instantly kill sleeping people, and increases silenced weapons sneak attack damage.
  • Action Boy/Action Girl – Increases the rate at which your action points regenerate.
  • Moving Target – Increases your damage and energy resistance while sprinting, as well as decreases the action point cost to sprint at a later level.
  • Ninja – Increases your ranged and melee sneak attack damage.
  • Quick Hands – Allows you to reload guns faster, and does not cost action points to reload in V.A.T.S. at a later level.
  • Blitz – The distance for melee attacks in V.A.T.S. is increased.
  • Gun Fu – Increases your damage to targets other than your first in V.A.T.S.

L-Luck

Luck is perhaps one of the more interesting perks in the game considering it directly affects-well-your luck! The fact is, Luck in Fallout can heighten your chances of finding good loot such as bottlecaps and ammunition, as well as increasing your critical hit meter quicker than normal.

Although that may not seem as great as some of the other perks, as you invest points into Luck and the bonuses associated with it, you will find yourself with unmatchable Luck! You will also increase your chances of being helped by the mysterious stranger.

Some of the bonuses associated with Luck can really change your game:

  • Fortune Finder – Allows you to find more caps in containers.
  • Scrounger – Allows you to find more ammunition in containers.
  • Bloody Mess – Increases your damage as well as gives a chance for your enemies to explode!
  • Mysterious Stranger – Increases the appearances of the Mysterious Stranger (Note: this only applies to V.A.T.S.)
  • Idiot Savant – Randomly receive XP from various encounters. This chance is increased by the lower your Intelligence is. 
  • Better Critical – Increases your critical hit damage. 
  • Critical Banker – Allows you to save critical hits. 
  • Grim Reaper Sprint – Kills in V.A.T.S. have a chance to restore action points. 
  • Four Leaf Clover – Increases the chance that a hit in V.A.T.S. fills your critical meter. 
  • Richochet – Allows a chance that an enemy shot at you ricochets back and kills them. 

Joshua Banks

I still vividly remember the first time I went through Super Mario World with my dad on the Super Nintendo. From that point on, I was hooked! From the first Medal of Honor on the Playstation 1, to exploring the Mojave in Fallout: New Vegas, video games are a great way for me to explore new places, strategize and defeat the competition, and have fun.

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