The skills in Fallouts 1 and 2 are as follows:
Small Guns · Big Guns · Energy Weapons · Unarmed · Melee Weapons · Throwing · First Aid · Doctor · Sneak · Lockpick · Steal · Traps · Science · Repair · Speech · Barter · Gambling · Outdoorsman
Many of these skills have very obvious uses, even as Tag skills. Small Guns has high-powered or useful weapons in both games. Melee starts you well with a knife or spear and ends well for you with a nasty hammer. Sneak must be increased to beat ever higher difficulties against special opponents, and so too must rise. Steal is just FUN to have high, for any number of reasons. Speech will occasionally require checks well over 100%, and is therefore economical to Tag. Gambling is a serious money-maker if it's high, thus making it amusing for that alone. Outdoorsmanship is important in Fallout 1, and crucial in Fallout 2.
Then there are those which are much more useful later than at the beginning. Big Guns and Energy Weapons, for example, won't serve you at the game's start, but will open up access to some of the deadliest weapons in the game. Big Guns, in particular, is fun. No two ways about it. Unarmed is semi-useful in Fallout 1, and hilarious in Fallout 2.
Some skills can be raised a little, then left be. Lockpicks, for example, are seldom required for the very high difficulty locks if you're willing to play in some other fashion. Even relying on them, I've never had to take the skill above about 80%. With a great deal of beer, Stealing can be very effective at less than 100% without save-load tricks. And Science! Mein gott, both games require quite a lot of it for a good many feats of hacking and conversation. Yet I managed to get it to 130% in Fallout 2 by spamming it with money (books and drugs).
And then there are those which can probably be used at the level they're at, if you're willing. First Aid and Doctor can usually do their jobs if you've the time to keep trying. (Doctor may fall into the above category in Fallout 2; if raised to about 90%, Vault City has some nice things for you.) If you're willing to wait out a bomb, you're usually willing to wait out a bomb set with a poor Traps skill, too. And will you ever need a high Barter skill when the equipment flows to you like candy in the late game?
What of these forgotten skills, these skills I never use? I'm so set in my ways!
I don't pick a lot of locks, to be honest. Am I missing something grand by not bringing it above 100% and picking everything in sight?
Throwing! Eventually at its most useful for grenades, I imagine. Is this skill fun? Does it bring folks joy? I suppose its misses are less likely to be irritating than missing with a rocket launcher, but the main question really is its value as a source of fun. I've never tried it!
The one character I had who Gambled was of very low intelligence. To gamble, she had to take Mentats. Is this skill actually fun, or at high levels does it just feel like spamming the dice?
Bartering. Same question. I've never built a character with a Barter skill so high that he can sell for more than he bought something. Is it fun playing a merchant? I imagine there's only so many caps to be had, most places. Does it make a difference if it's Fallout 1 or 2?
Likewise, there's the stats.
Strength · Perception · Endurance · Charisma · Intelligence · Agility · Luck
Strength? Usually possible to play through the game until you get a +3 or better, so there's seldom cause to make it very high.
Perception. Always medium (4 to 6, sometimes 7 with increases later) or low (1 or 2) for me, depending on the range at which I'll be fighting. Do you find that a very high Perception changes the game for you? I know it will result in the occasional meaningful difference on some in-game messages, and that those with very low Perception will never get Awareness. (Short of exploits, anyway.)
Endurance. To be honest, I often drop it to a 4. What's it like to plow through the game with hideous numbers of hit points, compared to few? Does this make otherwise suboptimal or experimental builds more playable, or are the odds roughly the same?
Charisma. Again, often medium boring in my hands. Where is this most useful or hilarious? I noticed that Synthia in Junktown, for example, won't always 'reward' female characters, favoring those who are attractive.
Intelligence, Luck and Agility are all easily high for me, depending on the character. Luck 1 and Luck 10 are nearly indistinguishable in terms of how much fun they can be; high Agility is almost necessary. Intelligence will almost always be either very high or very low for me, lest I go made at being merely average.
That does bring me to an interesting question, though. What's it like to play with a low Agility? (Obviously, if you do this, don't take Bruiser.) Many skills are low, I know this, and you'll never win any AP or rate-of-fire contests. None of my characters have ever been clumsy. Thoughts?
Might be worth bearing in mind what perks I'm missing out on here.
If I wanted to try out a couple of these skills or stats at very high values, are there any interactions I should know about? For example, Gambling is impossible without an intelligence of at least 4, so that links either Intelligence and Luck, or Intelligence and the Gambling skill, depending on your methods (and, to a lesser extent, the different ways Fallouts 1 and 2 derive their skill values.)