The Vault - Fallout Wiki

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The Vault - Fallout Wiki
This page describes the SPECIAL implementation in Fallout 3.
  • The content is not described in full detail on this page. For details, please see the respective articles.
  • For SPECIAL implementations in other Fallout games, please see "SPECIAL".
  • For an overview of Fallout 3 content, please refer to "Portal:Fallout 3".

Character creation

At birth the player chooses the player character's name, gender and appearance. Later as a child in Vault 101, the PC receives a book titled "You're S.P.E.C.I.A.L.!," whereupon the player can set the PC's seven primary character points. Later in life during the teen years the PC's performance on the G.O.A.T. determines which skills of the PC are tagged (tagged means raised by fifteen points); the player can also choose which skills to tag manually via choosing particular dialog options with Edwin Brotch

Every aspect of the Lone Wanderer chosen during early life can be changed when exiting Vault 101.

The maximum level the player can achieve in Fallout 3 is 20. This cap is raised to 30 with the Broken Steel add-on.

Primary statistics

The S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system should be familiar to Fallout veterans, though there are significant differences from past games. The player's S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes default at 5 points per attribute, with an additional 5 points for distribution for a total of 40 points. Individual attributes cannot score lower than 1 or higher than 10, regardless of equipment, chems or ailments.

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

Derived statistics

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 3:


Main article: Fallout 3 skills

Skills in Fallout 3 determine the player's effectiveness in a variety of situations. As in the previous games, the player chooses three Tag Skills out of thirteen to be the character's specialties. Tagging a skill only grants the player a 15 point bonus to that skill. Your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points affect certain skill points for a one time bonus of 2 points per score (except Luck, which is 1/2 point per score for all skills).

There are 13 skills in Fallout 3:


Main article: Fallout 3 perks

Perks are special elements of the level up system which grant special effects and abilities. In Fallout 3, you gain perks every level. Many perks have an attribute requirement, for example the Mysterious Stranger perk requires a Luck of 6 to become an option. Other perks have attribute and skill requirements. A perk's S.P.E.C.I.A.L. requirements cannot be met by equipping items or using drugs (with the exception of the Lucky 8 Ball).

For a list of perks, please see Fallout 3 perks.

Changes from previous Fallout games

Players who are accustomed to the rigid attribute and skill mechanics of the previous games may be happy to know that the new systems in Fallout 3 are much more flexible and allow for more changes during a character's development. For instance, tagging a skill no longer increases the rate of a skill's development, but skills gain their maximum effectiveness (and cap out) at 100. Additionally, while the Gifted trait (along with all traits) has disappeared, primary attributes are simultaneously less important and easier to acquire as your character grows.

Players who played the previous two games should also keep in mind that the SPECIAL system in Fallout 3 is much more forgiving when compared to the first two games: Low ability scores penalize the player less, while high ability scores do not grant as much of a benefit. Where in the first two games lowering a SPECIAL stat to 3 or lower could be a risky move regardless of your character type, characters in Fallout 3 can get away with SPECIAL scores of 1 in particular stats. For example, a character with 1 Intelligence will find most character interaction in the first two games impossible, while in the 3rd you simply sacrifice a few Intelligence dependent conversation options and some skill points.

Traits were removed completely, with some traits from previous games having their negative effects removed and being changed into perks.


  • It is possible for the player to get all of their SPECIAL up to 10 without cheating if the player has Broken Steel. Once the player gets to level 30, if they choose the Perk Almost Perfect, all of their SPECIAL lower than 9 will be raised to 9. If they then proceed to collect the 7 SPECIAL Bobble heads, each of which permanently increases the stat by 1, they will have maxed out their SPECIAL to 10 in each category. If they player obtains the 7 Bobble heads before they choose the Almost Perfect Perk, they will only be able to get that category to 9 (unless it was at 10 before the perk).
  • Another possible way to obtain all 10 points in their SPECIAL is by fully using all the points available in the level Baby Steps and using the Intense Training perk until all your points are maxed out. You can collect the Bobble heads. They will give you an advantage and they save you from using the Intense Training perk until you have reached Level 30. Broken Steel is required for this.