Fallout 1 Character Perks

Finally, we will be looking at Fallout 1 character perks that you can take during gameplay, to make your little guy (or gal) stronger. As you may already know, when you create your character, you can choose up to two traits, that will stick with you throughout the game. After that, every 3rd level (4th if you took the Skilled trait), your Vault Dweller gains a perk, to better themselves. But, which ones should you choose? Don't worry, I'm here to help.

fallout 1 character perks

Character Perks in Fallout 1

Perks let your Vault Dweller specialize in the direction you want. As a rule of thumb, any perk that only increases skills is usually a wasted choice (mostly, level 12 perks), since skills can be easily increased during gameplay. For example, you can read skill books in The Hub's library, and these books restock every time you initiate dialogue. As long as you have the caps, you can increase them skills!

The first perk will be available at level 3 (4 if you took Skilled). The maximum level that can be reached by your character is 21 so, theoretically, you can choose 7 perks (5 with Skilled) out of a total of 53. Some perks have up to 3 ranks, with stacking benefits. Good to know: the use of chems makes it possible for your character to temporarily meet the requirements of a specific perk. For example, if you have 4 Intelligence, you can use Mentats to get the 'Educated' perk, which normally requires 6 IN. This won't work for perks that require Luck tho.

^ Back to Top ^

Fallout 1 Recommended Perks

Because of the switchover to SPECIAL after the GURPS license was abandoned late in development (with which I'm not going to bore you right now), out of 53 perks, only about 10 actually give good benefits. The remaining 43 perks have marginal effects due to late implementation, game balance, and the level limit. I have outlined the best perks to choose in Fallout 1. However, you may pick whichever fit your playing style, such as "Animal Friend", combat perks, resistance perks, stealth perks, world map perks, dialogue perks, etc.


Awareness (Req: Lvl 3, PE 5) - This is the first perk you should get (I always take Awareness), since it helps you asses your combat situation *before* jumping in. It tells you the amount of HP your enemy has, what weapon he's carrying, and how much ammo he has. Extremely useful information, if you want to survive in the Wasteland.

fallout 1 bonus move  

Bonus Move (Req: Lvl 6, AG 5) - This perk gives your character 2 extra AP just for movement, per turn. This is important, since the early Fallout games play significantly different than Bethesda ones, giving you a more tabletop-like experience, also turn-based. Being able to escape a difficult fight (by reaching the exit grid) is very important in this game. It can also help you position yourself better during combat, so that, by the time a melee enemy reaches you, he will not have any AP left for attacking.

Note: The counter will only show you up to 10 Action Points, but internally it keeps track of any extras. The additional AP of Bonus Move are invisible in Fallout 1.


Bonus HtH Attacks (Req: Lvl 6, AG 6) - A must have for brawlers, this perk will reduce the cost of all melee weapons and unarmed by 1 AP.

Better Criticals (Req: Lvl 9, PE 6, LK 6, AG 4) - Gives a 20% bonus when you inflict a critical hit. It's independent of damage, which means you can do a critical hit without actually doing ANY damage, which is weird. Can trigger an instant kill effect if your character gets a critical hit roll over 100, except for deathclaws, which probably have more than 10 Endurance. This has to be one of, if not the best perk in Fallout 1, if you ask me.

Bonus Rate of Fire (Req: Lvl 9, AG 7, IN 6, PE 6) - Similar to "Bonus HtH Attacks" perk, except it reduces the cost of firing all ranged weapons (except thrown) by 1 AP. This allows you to make more attacks per turn and reload sooner. Recommended for anyone going for a ranged build. TIP: Use this with the Fast Shot trait, if you took it, for an extra punch.

fallout 1 action boy perk  

Action Boy/Girl (Req: Lvl 12, AG 5) simply gives you an extra action point per rank. It has three ranks. Maxed, and with a high Agility, this perk can give you a lot of AP in a combat turn!

Fallout 1 Best Perks

In practice, level 21 is not attainable without significant grinding. That's why it's the limit. At level 18, you'll have the chance to pick one of these two perks, which are literally the best of the best.

fallout 1 slayer perk  

Slayer (Req: Lvl 18, AG 8, ST 8, Unarmed 80%) is for melee weapons and unarmed, and will turn each point of your character's Luck into 10% critical chance. If you're running around with 10 Luck, guess what? Every one of your melee hits will be critical! This makes Slayer one of the best perks you can take in Fallout 1 (for melee builds and hand-to-hand combat).

Sniper (Req: Lvl 18, AG 8, PE 8, Small Guns 80%) is another important perk you can take in Fallout 1. It allows you to keep your distance from dangerous enemies. Since your moves are limited, those extra spaces can make the difference between life and death. Each point of LK is converted to 10% chance to inflict a critical hit. Sooo... similar to Slayer (^), except for firearms. 10 Luck means 100% chance to critical hit with ANY ranged weapon when you take this perk! If your character also has the "Better Criticals" perk, armor penetration, knockouts, and a 20% chance of being killed on the spot, will be virtually certain. Except for deathclaws, of course.

^ Back to Top ^

Fallout 1 Useless Perks

Following are the perks I never take, therefore I do not recommend them.

  1. Animal Friend: Animals are hardly a threat in Fallout 1;
  2. Cult of Personality: The reaction system is broken;
  3. Fortune Finder: There's plenty of money in the game;
  4. Heave Ho!: No effect if you have Strength 4;
  5. Mental Block: Useless since you can get the psychic nullifier;
  6. Mutate!: Choose the best traits from the start instead;
  7. Night Vision: Has little effect; increase a weapon skill instead;
  8. Rad Resistance: Except for the Glow, radiation is not a concern;
  9. Snakeater: Few enemies can poison you, with minimal damage;
  10. Silent Running, Ghost: Sneaking is poorly implemented;
  11. World Map Perks: Random encounters are not profitable to farm.

ALL Fallout 1 Perks

For your own curiosity, here are all the perks in Fallout 1, arranged by level (excluding the ^). You might need this list to check it against your stats, to see which perks you can get.

^ Back to Top ^

Fallout 1 Level 3 Perks

  1. Bonus HtH Damage (req. ST 6, AG 6) +2 dmg for unarmed & melee, 3 ranks;
  2. Earlier Sequence (req. PE 5) +2 to attack sequence, 3 ranks;
  3. Faster Healing (req. EN 6) +1 bonus to your healing rate, 3 ranks;
  4. Healer (req. PE 7, IN 5, AG 6, First Aid 40%) 2-5 more HP healed when using skills;
  5. Night Vision (req. PE 6) 10% reduction in darkness level, 3 ranks;
  6. Presence (req. Charisma 6) +10% to initial reaction of NPCs, 3 ranks;
  7. Quick Pockets (req. AG 5) -1 AP to access the inventory during combat, 3 ranks;
  8. Scout (req. PE 8) See 1 square further in each direction on the world map;
  9. Smooth Talker (req. IN 4) +1 to Intelligence for the purposes of dialogue, 3 ranks;
  10. Strong Back (req. ST 6, EN 6) Carry an additional 50 lbs. of items, 3 ranks;
  11. Survivalist (req. EN 6, IN 6, Outdoorsman 40%) +20% bonus to the Outdoorsman skill for survival checks, 3 ranks;
  12. Swift Learner (req. IN 4) +5% bonus XP, 3 ranks; take this early;
  13. Toughness (req. EN 6, LK 6) +10% to damage resistance, 3 ranks.

Fallout 1 Level 6 Perks

  1. Bonus Ranged Damage (req. AG 6, LK 6) +2 dmg for ranged weapons, 2 ranks;
  2. Educated (req. IN 6) 2 extra skill points at level up, 3 ranks;
  3. Empathy (req. PE 7, IN 5) NPC reaction levels are shown with colors in conversation;
  4. Friendly Foe (req. PE 4) in-combat companions are highlighted green instead of red;
  5. Fortune Finder (req. LK 8) additional money is found during random encounters;
  6. Ghost (req. Sneak 60%) +20% to Sneak when the sun goes down and in caves;
  7. Heave Ho! (req. -) +2 to Strength when determing thrown weapon range, 3 ranks;
  8. More Criticals (req. LK 6) +5% chance of critical hits, 3 ranks;
  9. Mysterious Stranger (req. LK 7) sometimes you'll get a temporary ally in encounters;
  10. Pathfinder (req. EN 6, Outdoorsman 40%) -25% travel time on world map, 2 ranks;
  11. Rad Resistance (req. EN 6, IN 4) +10% to Radiation Resistance, 3 ranks;
  12. Ranger (req. PE 6) Fewer hostile random encounters, 3 ranks;
  13. Sharpshooter (req. PE 7, IN 6) +2 to PE when determining range modifiers, 2 ranks;
  14. Silent Running (req. AG 6, Sneak 50%) Able to sneak and run at the same time;
  15. Snakeater (req. EN 3) +25% to Poison Resistance.
^ Back to Top ^

Fallout 1 Level 9 Perks

  1. Animal Friend (req. IN 5, Outdoorsman 25%) animals no longer attack you on sight;
  2. Dodger (req. AG 4) +5% to your Armor Class, 2 ranks;
  3. Explorer (req. -) higher chance of finding special places & people in encounters;
  4. Flower Child (req. EN 5) 50% less likely to become addicted & 50% withdrawal time;
  5. Master Trader (req. CH 7, Barter 60%) 25% discount when purchasing items from stores;
  6. Mutate! (req. -) If you pick this perk, you can change one of your traits;
  7. Pickpocket (req. AG 8, Sneak 80%) Size and facing modifiers are ignored when stealing;
  8. Scrounger (req. LK 8) Doubles the amount of ammo found in random encounters.

Fallout 1 Level 12 Perks

  1. Cult of Personality (req. Charisma 10) people like you, regardless of your reputation;
  2. Lifegiver (req. EN 4) +4 HP per rank, 3 ranks;
  3. Master Thief (req. -) +10% to Sneak, Lockpick, Steal & Traps skills;
  4. Medic (req. -) +20% to First Aid & Doctor skills;
  5. Mr. Fixit (req. -) +20% to Repair & Science skills;
  6. Speaker (req. -) +20% to Speech & Barter skills;
  7. Tag! (req. -) Pick an additional Tag Skill; could come handy.

Fallout 1 Level 15 Perks

  1. Mental Block (req. -) Gives an immunity against the Master's psychic attacks; the same effect can be replicated with a psychic nullifier, found at the Cathedral.

Fallout 1 Level 18 Perks

  1. Silent Death (req. AG 10, Sneak 80%) While Sneaking, unarmed attacks from behind do double damage. Similar to "Sneak Attack Critical" while [HIDDEN] in Fallout 3.
^ Back to Top ^


And that's all I've got on Fallout 1 character perks. Stick with me and I'll give you a comprensive guide of the game next, so you'll never get stuck. Although I do prefer to get lost sometimes, figure out things by myself...


Read next: Fallout 1 Walkthrough


Tags: fallout 1 character perks, character perks in fallout 1, best perk in fallout 1, fallout 1 perks to avoid, fallout 1 recommended perks, best perks fallout 1, awareness fallout 1, best level 3 perk fallout 1, fallout 1 level cap, fallout 1 max level