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Here are some general tips to fine-tune your combat skills.

General tactics[edit]

  • You can cripple your foe at five points if you score a critical while aiming at their legs, arms, or eyes. If you cripple your foe's legs, he or she will have a hard time walking around. If you cripple one of the enemy's arms, then he or she won't be able to use two*handed weapons (and of course, if you cripple both of them, then the enemy will have to resort to unarmed attacks). If you cripple your opponent's eyes, then he or she will suffer from reduced Perception levels.
  • Aiming for the eyes usually gives a high critical chance and does gobs of damage. Also, on male NPC's, hitting them in the groin makes them fall down.
  • Always use the right weapon for the job. Sometimes, a .223 Pistol won't do you that much good (i.e, long range combat) while the Sniper or the Combat Shotgun will work well.

Generally, burst weapons do peanuts for damage against armored targets. For example, lasers are good against leather armor, but don't do much damage against critters with power or metal armor. And burst weapons, well, you can just forget about them. Don't confuse this info with aimed shots, however. You can do heaps of damage with an aimed shot, especially to the eyes or head, regardless of what weapon you use or what armor the target is wearing. You can pacify mutants with Desert Eagles and 10mm pistols if you keep on aiming for the eyes.

It is pointless to waste precious ammunition against little critters like rats. Always go for unarmed/melee attacks if you can. If you have a Super Sledgehammer and Power Armor, then you can kill the Deathclaws at the Boneyards without much trouble.

Burst weapon tactics[edit]

  • You can give your shots "up close and personal." This works well in the early game. Garl, the raider leader, can be killed in one hit...without a critical! (I once did 71 hp damage to him w/o critical using JHP rounds and 54 using AP rounds)
  • Burst shots have a wide area of effect. If an ally is in the middle, you might want to not do a burst shot. Here is an example of the "burst cone:"
      X (you)
     / \
    / | \
   / ||| \
  / ||||| \
 / ||||||| \
Area of effect

This is why giving the shots "up close and personal" deals gobs of damage. The shots saturate the target with bullets, dealing an immense amount of damage. If you attack multiple characters at range with a burst shot, then both will get hit.

  • If the target is heavily armored, don't use burst shots. You will see this happen to you when you get power armor and mutants are trying to kill you with miniguns.

Sniper tactics[edit]

  • Sniping is a good idea for immobile targets, such as the master, or against unarmed critters. It is also good for long*range combat.
  • Sniper Rifles, Hunting Rifles, and Assault Rifles are your best bet for long range sniping. However, the Sniper Rifle is the best. You can also use the Assault Rifle in the burst mode.

The Sniper works well against any target, even if it is armored or not. It has a damage range between 14 and 34 hp, compared with (max) 16 with the assault and 20 with the hunting rifle.

Hunting Rifles work OK on lightly armored targets. The Assault rifle is all right for mid-armored targets and good for bursting on lightly armored targets.

  • You can use a Combat Shotgun for short distance sniping, such as fighting unarmed or melee*weapon using mutants or humans. It is the best weapon for mid armored targets, and is excellent for short range control. It works well in conjunction with Power Armor when fighting Decker, and can even be used to pacify Deathclaws.

If you get your hands on the .223 Pistol, it is even better than the Combat Shotgun. The only drawback is that it is less accurate and it has only a 5 ammo magazine. This gun eliminates the need for energy weapons later on.

In general, combat shotguns and the .223 pistol are extremely effective in short-range combat, like the fights in the Hub.

  • If you have a high energy weapons skill, get a Plasma Rifle. No armor can withstand Plasma damage well. I got 132 hp on an eye shot on a Deathclaw once. The Turbo Plasma Rifle only costs 4 AP's for a single shot!
  • You can kill Deathclaws easily this way with a high small guns skill and high luck. Get a sniper and/or .223 pistol, cripple their legs, and then go for head and eye shots when they are down.

In general, the above tactic works well against unarmed people and shines when used in tandem with a super sledgehammer. (You can hit them, run away, and hit them again while conserving ammo. The spiked knuckles work well here.)

  • If you have good small guns skill (1220%+), then go straight for aimed shots. 150%+ should give you a 95% chance to hit anywhere at decent range, even at night.
  • If you use long*range weapons, you'll get a negative modifier if you are attacking critters at really close range. This is an issue with the Fallout combat engine.

Melee tactics[edit]

  • If you have a sledgehammer, use the weapon against unarmed critters. Aim for the legs. After they have been crippled, you can score aimed shots to the head and eyes easily. Rippers work just as well.
  • If you have Power Armor and have spiked knuckles, then you can use those against any critter... regardless of their armor. I dealt 46 damage to a Deathclaw once (critical to the eyes). Power fists are even better, and can kill scores of enemies. Ditto for Super Sledgehammers and Rippers.

Cathedral/Military base (Cowboy approach)[edit]

It is recommended that you bring the water chip to your Vault and kill the Regulators. Their metal armors sell well, and you need the experience. If you want to assault the base, here is a good list of what to bring. If you do kill the regulators, you will be able to collect many metal armors that can sell for $1000 each. This set-up is expensive so if you can not afford what is suggested when you want to tackle the Cathedral/Military base area then bring the best of what you can get a hold of. A lot of ammo and stimpacks are vital so don't skimp on these.

  • Advanced Power Armor
  • 2 Psychos
  • Turbo Plasma Rifle
  • 300+ cells
  • 80+ stimpacks
  • .223 Pistol
  • 300+ ammo
  • 30+ stimpacks
  • Sniper Rifle
  • 300+ ammo
  • 30+ stimpacks
  • SMG
  • 600+ ammo
  • 30+ stimpacks

Enter the Military Base at night, around midnight if possible. Guard Tycho and Ian; they don't have much armor and their weapons deal quite a lot of damage. If they die, be sure to take Ian's and Tycho's weapons. This area will have a variety of things that can be encountered. Even though there are not many guards here there are a great deal of mutants wandering around. Here is a more detailed overview on encounters.

If you can, try to kill any mutants you encounter within 3 turns. If you kill the mutants within three turns, then they won't be able to set off the alarm (in other words, one fistfight can last up to three turns). Any mutants that get away will regroup on future levels after attacking. This holds true for the night approach.

Location Encounters
Level 3
  • about 15 mutants
  • several robots
  • several COC techs
  • the Master
Level 2
  • 5 mutants
  • some scientists
  • some COC chanters
Level 1
  • 2 mutants
  • a COC member
  • several centaurs
  • several floaters
Ground floor
  • 1 nightkin
  • lots of humans
2nd floor
  • 2 nightkin
  • a COC member
3rd floor
  • 3-4 nightkin
4th floor
  • 3 nightkin
  • Morpheus
Military Base
Location Encounters
Day Night
  • 4 mutants
  • 4 mutants
Level 1
  • 13 mutants
  • 3 robobrains
  • 10 mutants
  • 3 robobrains
Level 2
  • 13 mutants
  • 2 robobrains
  • 13 mutants
  • 2 dead mutants
  • 2 robobrains
Level 3
  • 5 mutants
  • 1 human
  • 5 mutants
  • 1 human
Level 4
  • 5 mutants
  • Mr. Handy
  • 3 robobrains
  • 6 humans
  • 1 human lieutenant
  • 5 mutants
  • Mr. Handy
  • 3 robobrains
  • 6 humans
  • 1 human lieutenant