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S.P.E.C.I.A.L. is an acronym referring to the 7 attributes that all creatures of the fallout universe posses. In Fallout: New Vegas, you allocate your attributes using a contraption called the Vit-O-Matic Vigor Tester as part of the opening quest Ain't that a Kick in the Head. You can look at each attribute in turn and there is a total of 33 points to spend on the 7 attributes, with the 1st point of each being free. There will be another chance to change your attribute allocation when you leave the Goodsprings area for the first time. Attribute rankings are from 1 (Abysmal) up to 10 (Almost god-like) with 5 being roughly average. Each level has a quirky name given to it in order to give you a rough idea of what that level of attribute signifies.


Strength will tell you how easily a cowboy totes his saddle and those bigger firearms, or how much help he's gonna be for ya in a saloon brawl.

Strength affects the skill of Melee Weapons and adds to your Unarmed damage. It is also the skill for how much salvage you can carry on your prospecting runs. If you plan on packing a lot of gear and don't want to make too many trips just to sell and offload stuff then this is an extremely valuable attribute to have. Remember that in Hardcore mode, ammo has weight, so keep that in your mind when planning your character out.

Strength levels
Strength Carry Weight(lbs) Unarmed Damage Skill Modifiers(%)
1 Wet Noodle 160 0.5 Melee Weapons +2
2 Beached Jellyfish 170 1 Melee Weapons +4
3 Doughy Baby 180 1.5 Melee Weapons +6
4 Lightweight 190 2 Melee Weapons +8
5 Average Joe 200 2.5 Melee Weapons +10
6 Barrel Chested 210 3 Melee Weapons +12
7 Beach Bully 220 3.5 Melee Weapons +14
8 Circus Strongman 230 4 Melee Weapons +16
9 Doomsday Pecs 240 4.5 Melee Weapons +18
10 Hercules' Bigger Cousin 250 5 Melee Weapons +20
Perks related to strength
Name Req Str Req Level
Heave, Ho! 5 2
Stonewall 6 8
Strong Back 5 8
Super Slam 6 8
Unstoppable Force 7 12
Weapon handling < 10 16
Strength Implant < 10 N/A


A perceptive cowboy always knows when there's a lit stick of dynamite nearby... or when a varmint's sneakin' up on him.

Perception affects the skills of Energy Weapons, Explosives and Lockpick. It also controls when you see entity markers on your compass, and adds accuracy to all of your attacks. If you want to notice sooner if someone is nearby, and don't want to be ambushed a lot, then this is an extremely valuable attribute to have.

Perception levels
Perception Skill Modifiers(%)
1 Deaf Bat Energy Weapons/Explosives/Lockpick +2
2 Senile Mole Energy Weapons/Explosives/Lockpick +4
3 Squinting Newt Energy Weapons/Explosives/Lockpick +6
4 Unsuspecting Trout Energy Weapons/Explosives/Lockpick +8
5 Wary Trout Energy Weapons/Explosives/Lockpick +10
6 Alert Coyote Energy Weapons/Explosives/Lockpick +12
7 Big-eyed Tiger Energy Weapons/Explosives/Lockpick +14
8 Monocled Falcon Energy Weapons/Explosives/Lockpick +16
9 Sniper Hawk Energy Weapons/Explosives/Lockpick +18
10 Eagle with Telescope Energy Weapons/Explosives/Lockpick +20
Perks related to Perception
Name Req Per Req Level
Four Eyes (Trait) < 10 Char Gen
Friend of the night 6 2
Sniper 6 12
Light Step 6 14
Better Criticals 6 16
Infiltrator 7 18
Perception Implant < 10 N/A


You can't keep a good cowboy down, not if he's the endurin' type... and not if he's got a six-shooter the size of all tarnation.

Endurance affects the skills Survival and Unarmed. It is also the attribute that assigns your health points. If you are going to be a hand to hand expert you will consider this an extremely important attribute to have. If however you want to focus more on killing things from afar or social skills, then you can skimp on this attribute some. There is a hidden attribute of fatigue that is also governed by your endurance. Some weapons and poisons inflict fatigue damage instead of lethal, and if you are fatigued enough you will fall unconscious. A higher endurance affects how long you can get hit before you fall down.

Endurance levels
Endurance Initial Health Skill Modifiers(%)
1 Basically Dead 120 Survival/Unarmed +2
2 Crumbly 140 Survival/Unarmed +4
3 Do Not Bend 160 Survival/Unarmed +6
4 Handle With Care 180 Survival/Unarmed +8
5 Stain-resistant 200 Survival/Unarmed +10
6 Hardy 220 Survival/Unarmed +12
7 Tough-as-nails 240 Survival/Unarmed +14
8 Flame Retardant 260 Survival/Unarmed +16
9 Bulletproof 280 Survival/Unarmed +18
10 Unstoppable 300 Survival/Unarmed +20
Perks related to Endurance
Name Req End Req Level
Lead Belly 5 6
Rad Resistance 5 8
Stonewall 6 8
Strong Back 5 8
Life Giver 6 12
Long Haul 6 12
Solar Powered 7 20
Rad Absorption 7 28
Endurance Implant < 10 N/A


You'll find there are some smooth-talkin' cowboys out there that got themselves a voice sounds like an angel's harmonica.

Charisma affects the skills Barter and Speech. It also affects how others react to you in conversation. If you want to be a smooth talker and try to avoid combat through conversation, then this skill will be extremely important to have. It also provides a percentage bonus to the armor and damage of your companions.

Charisma levels
Charisma Companion Modifier(%) Skill Modifiers(%)
1 Misanthrope 5 Barter/Speech +2
2 Old Hermit 10 Barter/Speech +4
3 Creepy Undertaker 15 Barter/Speech +6
4 Peevish Librarian 20 Barter/Speech +8
5 Substitute Teacher 25 Barter/Speech +10
6 Cheery Salesman 30 Barter/Speech +12
7 Diplomat 35 Barter/Speech +14
8 Movie Star 40 Barter/Speech +16
9 Casanova 45 Barter/Speech +18
10 Cult Leader 50 Barter/Speech +20
Perks related to Charisma
Name Req Cha Req Level
Ferocious Loyalty 6 6
Animal Friend 6 10
Charisma Implant < 10 N/A


A smart cowboy is good at most anything, from suckin' the poison out of your rattler bite to fixin' your broken wagon axle.

Intelligence affects the skills of Medicine, Repair and Science. It also affects the amount of skill points you receive at each level, with the .5 of odd intelligence scores holding over until the next level. This can be an extremely important skill for a number of reasons: keeping yourself healed, keeping your equipment in good condition and being able to hack computers or do other science related challenges easier. The drawbacks of an extremely low intelligence score is that your character will barely be able to converse in monosyllabic grunts. This can make some quests very difficult if not downright impossible.

Intelligence levels
Intelligence Skill Points Skill Modifiers(%)
1 Sub-Brick 10.5 Medicine/Repair/Science +2
2 Vegetable 11 Medicine/Repair/Science +4
3 Cretin 11.5 Medicine/Repair/Science +6
4 Knucklehead 12 Medicine/Repair/Science +8
5 Knowledgeable 12.5 Medicine/Repair/Science +10
6 Gifted 13 Medicine/Repair/Science +12
7 Smartypants 13.5 Medicine/Repair/Science +14
8 Know-it-all 14 Medicine/Repair/Science +16
9 Genius 14.5 Medicine/Repair/Science +18
10 Omniscient 15 Medicine/Repair/Science +20
Perks related to Intelligence
Name Req Int Req Level
Retention 5 2
Swift Learner 4 2
Comprehension 4 4
Educated 4 4
Entomologist 4 4
Pack Rat 5 8
Nerd Rage! 5 10
Computer Whiz 7 18
Intelligence Implant < 10 N/A


When a fella's in a gunfight and shoots the other guy six times before they can get off a shot, it's because that fella is agile.

Agility affects the skills of Guns and Sneak. It also affects how fast you run, draw/reload your weapon, how many action points you have and how fast they regenerate. There is no real way to measure your speed, however the higher agility the faster you will move. If you have a two-handed weapon out, it will slow you down as well, so if you are in a hurry holster it or carry a one-handed weapon. If you intend on using VATS a great deal, you will want a higher agility to reap higher action points. You will also want it for sneaking potential.

Agility levels
Agility Action Points Skill Modifiers(%)
1 Walking Disaster 68 Guns/Sneak +2
2 Accident Prone 71 Guns/Sneak +4
3 Oaf 74 Guns/Sneak +6
4 Butterfingers 77 Guns/Sneak +8
5 Under Control 80 Guns/Sneak +10
6 Catlike 83 Guns/Sneak +12
7 Knife Thrower 86 Guns/Sneak +14
8 Knife Catcher 89 Guns/Sneak +16
9 Acrobatic Marvel 92 Guns/Sneak +18
10 Walks on Water 95 Guns/Sneak +20
Perks related to Agility
Name Req Agi Req Level
Small Frame (Trait) < 10 N/A
Rapid Reload 5 2
Quick Draw 5 8
Silent Running 6 12
Sniper 6 12
Light Step 6 14
Action Boy/Girl 6 16
Slayer 7 24
Nerves of Steel 7 26
Agility Implant < 10 N/A


Some folks claim not to believe in luck, but when they lose in a duel you'll hear them say "That lucky son-of-a-gun!".

Luck is a very difficult attribute to completely quantify. It affects all skills to a lesser degree than the other attributes. Your critical chance is improved with a higher luck score, enemies may have more mishaps and if you are gambling, you will find that the cards/wheel/slots seem to fall in your favor more often. If you are something of a generalist, want a broader range of more equal skills and want to clean house at gambling with a minimal amount of actual skill, then luck will be your favored attribute.

Luck levels
Luck Crit Chance(%) Skill Modifiers(%)
1 13 Pitch Black Cats 1 All Skills +1
2 Broken Gypsy Mirror 1 All Skills +1
3 Sickly Albatross 2 All Skills +2
4 Spilled Salt 2 All Skills +2
5 Coin Flip 3 All Skills +3
6 Stacked Deck 3 All Skills +3
7 Lucky 7 4 All Skills +4
8 Leprechaun's Foot 4 All Skills +4
9 21-Leaf Clover 5 All Skills +5
10 Two-Headed Coin Flip 5 All Skills +5
Perks related to Luck
Name Req Lck Req Level
Fortune Finder 5 6
Scrounger 5 8
Miss Fortune 6 10
Mysterious Stranger 6 10
Better Criticals 6 16
Luck Implant < 10 N/A