Fallout: The Roleplaying Game – How To Build A Character

Because you’re SPECIAL.

Fallout: The Roleplaying Game – How To Build A Character

The Fallout universe is a setting designed with tabletop in mind, even before the 2d20 adaptation of the ruleset by Modiphius. From its history as a CRPG, it comes with a predefined set of core attributes, skills, and an action point system.

Making a character in the system is a simple process but has a few differences from other tabletop games players might be familiar with. Limb-specific armor and HP values might be rather intimidating for people who are used to a combined pool of hitpoints. Here are all the fundamentals you need to know to fill out your character sheet.

Checklist For Character Creation

Fallout: The Roleplaying Game – How To Build A Character

The system recommends you go through the character creation in linear order as follows. Still, it can definitely be worth looking ahead to understand what attributes and skills build into specific perks and character concepts:

  1. Origin: Your character's faction allegiances, mutations, and whether they're a robot.
  2. SPECIAL attributes: The classic fallout attributes, but you can't reduce any below four.
  3. Tag skills: These will be nearly twice as strong as normal skills, so consider carefully where you want to specialize.
  4. Skills: Each skill has an attached SPECIAL attribute, requiring you to plan ahead.
  5. Perk: Perks have SPECIAL requirements, so you may need to adjust these to get a perk you want.
  6. Derived Statistics: There are no choices here, just some simple maths.
  7. Starting equipment: Most origins can choose one of two gear packs.

Choosing Your Origins

Fallout: The Roleplaying Game – How To Build A Character

You need to pick your origin before filling out any other character detail. Mutant and robot origins change the rules for how other parts of character creation work.


Ease Of Play


Brotherhood Initiate


Initiates get an extra tag skill in science, repair, or energy weapons. You start the game as a Brotherhood member and must follow the military hierarchy.

Vault Dweller


Vault Dwellers get an extra tag skill. Your vault backstory lets you generate luck points whenever it creates complications.



The most customizable background. You can choose a custom trait that gives both a benefit and complication. New Vegas fans will recognize many of them.



Ghouls heal from radiation damage but will suffer charisma penalties with many non-ghouls.



Super Mutants have higher strength and endurance, but their intelligence and charisma cap at six.

Mister Handy


Robots outright ignore lots of mechanics, both positive and negative. They won't starve or be poisoned, but they also can't heal from food or chems.

For first-time players, the easiest options are the three human backgrounds without mutant or robot features. These have the fewest changes to the core rules.

SPECIAL Attributes And Skills

Fallout: The Roleplaying Game – How To Build A Character

This section will largely be familiar to players of other Fallout games, but the specific mechanics of this adaptation will require some quick skimming of the relevant rules.

SPECIAL Attributes

You have twelve points to raise your SPECIAL attributes above four. Unless you have a very specific concept in mind, it's normally easiest to use either the balanced or focused array.

  • The focused array gives enough specialization to take some relevant perks later on but has some weaknesses to compensate.
  • The balanced array makes for a good 'blank slate' character, like a recently escaped vault dweller.
  • Building your own attribute distribution gives you full control if you're confident in what you're doing.

Skills And Tag Skills

Fallout: The Roleplaying Game – How To Build A Character

Tag skills are a lot more important than in most Fallout games. Instead of just giving a flat increase, tag skills will always be better than other skills at the same level. A successful roll with a tag skill is counted twice as if it were a critical success. You have three tag skills unless your origin says otherwise.

After this, you'll need to crunch out your other skill increases. You have nine plus your intelligence in skill points. Each skill point can raise a skill by one level, to a maximum of three.

Your tag skills begin at level two, and all other skills begin at zero.

Skills have a default SPECIAL attribute but can be used in alternate ways with the GM's permission. For example, barter uses charisma for negotiations but can use intelligence to appraise the value of an item.


You have one perk at first level. Under most circumstances, you'll want a perk that builds off your highest SPECIAL attribute and skill combination or that unlocks a new type of crafting. If you don't meet the requirements for a perk you can go back and change your SPECIAL attributes accordingly.

If you change your intelligence to unlock a perk , you'll need to adjust the number of skill points you spent accordingly.

Calculate Your Derived Statistics

Fallout: The Roleplaying Game – How To Build A Character

This section sounds intimidating but is a simple enough checklist to run through.

Derived Statistic




Endurance + Luck

HP measures your ability to keep fighting.


If your agility is nine or more, you have two defense. Otherwise, you have one.

This is the difficulty level for landing attacks on you.

Carry Weight

Non-robots can carry 150lbs plus ten times their strength.

Robots can carry 150lbs.

Carry weight isn't tracked meticulously by most groups but should be calculated unless told not to.

Damage Resistances

These are zero unless you have a perk saying otherwise.

Don't worry. Most of your damage resistance will come from equipment.

We recommend you leave the Damage Resistances until after your equipment, so you don't need to backtrack as often.


Fallout: The Roleplaying Game – How To Build A Character

You'll get a preset bundle of starting gear from your origins and a few specific items based on your tag skills. These should cover a simple ranged and melee weapon, some armor, and the equipment needed to use your skills. Here are the key things you'll want to write down on your character sheet:

Fallout: The Roleplaying Game – How To Build A Character

  • Apparel (clothing, outfits, and armor) will note what limbs it covers and the damage resistances it applies.
  • Clothing (worn under armor) follows the same rules but does not stack with armor. For each limb, note the higher of your two damage resistances.
  • Armour applies the greatest defensive boosts, so it'll be easiest to note these first on the specific limbs they cover.
  • Starting ammo, caps, and consumables will often have you rolling a few d6s on top of a flat amount.

Weapons you'll record on the first page, with a few extra details. You'll need to cross-reference the starting equipment list with the chapter on weapons to see what traits your gear has:

Fallout: The Roleplaying Game – How To Build A Character

  • For each weapon, you should note down the skill it uses, the damage rating, type, fire rate, and qualities.
  • Calculate the target number (TN) for your weapons by summing up the SPECIAL attributes and the skills listed.
  • Physical weapons do not have a fire rate or range.

The three types of apparel can take a moment to understand. Most of the time, you'll be wearing a set of clothing with armor over it . For some skill encounters, you might change into an outfit, which cannot be used with armour.

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