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There are some of these skills I just never get around to trying.
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.)
Post edited April 06, 2011 by MackieStingray
Throwing. Does this require Strength, Agility and Perception? If so, such a character will probably not be your grand combat monster. What's more, you'll want to have a high Melee when you're down to your last spear.

If this is subject to the Sniper perk, it may also require high Luck in order to finally optimize it. However, if it's altered instead by the Slayer perk, a low luck may make up the difference in stat points one needs to optimize the other stats.

I think I shall experiment by creating a character with a very low Perception and a knack for Throwing. Perhaps I'll see whether Slayer affects spears and/or grenades. (Sniper's right out. Requires a high Perception.)

This does not merit its own reply post. Perception is a must with throwing knives. If you've selected Throwing as a Tag! skill, it seems a Fallout 1 character starts off with a couple, so... there ya go, eh?
Damn but that sure doesn't leave many stat points to throw around. So to speak.

At risk of stating the obvious, Bonus HtH Attacks doesn't improve your attack rate with thrown knives.

Killing Gizmo with a spear through the eye is goddamn hilarious. You do lose the spear until his body rots enough to allow you to approach the desk, mind you, but eventually you can get it back.
Post edited April 09, 2011 by MackieStingray
I'll probably edit this post in the next couple of days, but it should be known:
Throwing is not aided by Bonus Rate of Fire. And according to the above, I already tried using it with Bonus HtH Attacks. For the sake of completeness, I shall attempt to have both at Level 15 in Fallout 1 and see what happens. I'm almost certain the answer to that is "nothing."

So hey, I killed the Mother Deathclaw with grenades and spears. Not bad. Spendy, but kind of fun in a masochistic, "I've played this game too many times" way.
I suppose if you play as a law abiding pacifist, it'd be really handy to have barter and gambling tagged if you want to be able to afford anything, ever.

While I usually/always tag small guns, it's amongst the skills you can get decently high just by reading lots of guns&ammo issues (especially easy in FO1).

Big guns is semi-worthless, isn't it? Fun though. Rockets weigh and cost too much, most MG's are of low power, while miniguns are horrendously heavy, yet of little effect against armored targets. In FO3 tactics, both big guns and throwing are real handy, almost essential.

Fo2 has some plot advancing use for unarmed skills, but melee is really just an alternative for guns in both games. In Fo1 you'll have a pistol from the start, in FO2 there's just the temple to clear before getting a pipe rifle (and a pistol after handling a bunch of rats). Said that, I'm now at Den in FO2 and done great with spear, guess I'll move to combat knife (as a second weapon) once I get a hold of one.

Strength is maybe my favourite stat. Ample carry weight makes everything go smoother. I hate running back and forth for (or abandoning) loot.

Endurance is really just that simple, easier fights. Not worth it unless fights seem too hard.
Post edited April 11, 2011 by Jarmo
Sounds like a high Endurance is a must for deliberately difficult combat build.

Big Guns isn't useless. In Fallout 1 and 2, Big Guns is fun. Flame Throwers are nastier than any melee weapon; the only thing worse than a flame thrower to the face is a flame thrower followed by a Super Sledge. (A very nice combo in my opinion. The Mother Deathclaw never knew what hit her.) Rockets are a little heavy, but they will often eliminate an opponent in one shot, and a player who values strength probably won't have that much difficulty fitting a few rockets on a character. And miniguns? In Fallout 1, they're okay, especially against super mutants who wear rather little armor. In Fallout 2, the high-powered miniguns you can find are pretty nasty. The biggest disadvantage is that they chew through very expensive ammunition.
Addendum: Fast Shot is your friend.

You can beat the game without using Big Guns, but it's sure as heck fun to play through with 'em at least once or twice. They're a rather different experience.
Post edited April 11, 2011 by MackieStingray
Don't forget some perks are restricted to certain amount of stat skill (like "sniper" perks need high perception).

I usually play as "lawful neutral character", who cares about everything but mainly for himself. Hehe. I'm usually picking Speech & Steal (to get me anywhere and everything I want) and one weapon skill depending on tactics (melee, unarmed, small guns or energy).

It's usually pretty funny to play melee character with low strength and endurance, but high perception and luck + finese trait. Nothing is better than instant kill with critical punch to the opponent's eye :-)
I think I've used everything you just listed at one time or another, though. For me, this is all about an effort to step out of my comfort zone.
What's the most unorthodox character you've ever enjoyed playing?
I'm new to the game. I decided to try a slightly unorthodox build - I put all my SPECIAL points into Luck, and I selected Throwing Weapons, Speech, and Gambling as my Tag skills. I'll see how that goes.
My "go to" character is usually 6 strength, 5 Perception, 5-6 Charisma, 10 Intelligence, 10 Agility, and 5 Luck. (not sure it all adds up, off the topof my head).

I taked Gifted and Bloody Mess.

I tage Smal guns, Energy Weapons, and Speech.

I focus almost exclusively on Small Guns for the first half of the game, while making sure to get speech over 100 and throwing a few random points at lockpick, science, and repair (and reading any book I get my hands on).

Once I get my first sniff of energy weapons in the game, I start pouring points into that stat, so by the time I get the plasma rifle, my energy weapons has surpassed my small arms fire and I switch from the sniper rifle to the plasma rifle.

I tend to play a Chaotic-Good/Neutral character. i generally do the good quests, but that doesn't stop me from robbing people blind or going on massive killing sprees (as long as they're "bad people" like the various gangs of New Reno and Junktown).

I tend to talk my way through situations only to wipe everyone out after I'm sure I've got everything I needed (again, assuming they're "bad guys").