The Vault - Fallout Wiki

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The Vault - Fallout Wiki
This page describes the SPECIAL implementation in Van Buren, the canceled Fallout 3 by Black Isle Studios.
  • 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 Van Buren content, please refer to "Portal:Van Buren".

General information

Black Isle's canceled Fallout 3 project, codenamed Van Buren, was to feature a highly modified version of the SPECIAL character system, made by J.E. Sawyer. Some of the changes, especially to the skills system, were quite controversial among Fallout fans. To test the early stage of development, developers used the PnP variation of the rules for testing and initial balancing. Bethesda's version of SPECIAL in Fallout 3 is something of a combination of the original SPECIAL, the Van Buren SPECIAL, as well as their own changes.

Primary statistics

SPECIAL is an acronym of Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck. These were the seven basic attributes of every character in the game. They were used to determine the skills and available perks of the given character.

Derived statistics

Derived statistics were attributes of a character which were based on (or derived from) the character's primary statistics or attributes which the player could not influence directly.

The following derived statistics existed in Van Buren:


Main article: Van Buren skills

In Van Buren, there were 13 skills:

Skills started at 0, with Tag Skills starting at 20. Point cost increases were to be steeper in order to make high skills more difficult to achieve.


Main article: Van Buren traits

The following traits were to be added or renamed:

Other traits were to be removed in comparison to previous games:


Main article: Van Buren perks

In Van Buren, perks were no longer tied to your character's level, but depended solely on your character's statistics and skills. Only high-level characters would have high skills anyway, and powerful perks being dependent on very high skills would be more of an incentive to specialize in a given skill.

The concept that tended to run through all perks was that the developers were seeking to make perks that would allow players to actually play differently. "If a player can take a perk for their character and it makes them think differently about how they are playing, that seems more interesting to me than just jacking the skill value up." In addition, he was attempting to make more perks that were directly connected to having high non-combat skills, like Healer, in order to balance and flesh out the other dimensions of gameplay.

New perks

See also