In “Fallout 4,” players can do just about anything from building settlements to duking it out with raiders and radiation-soaked inhabitants of the post-apocalypse wasteland. How well you do any of those things is affected by a series of character traits called SPECIAL.

At the start of the game, players are greeted with a dialog box which allows them distribute 21 points between the following traits: Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck. Players start with one point in each category and each one can have a maximum of 10 points. While it’s tempting to assign an equal amount of points to each section, it's more effective to delegate points traits based on playing style.

For example: if you prefer melee combat, strength will be an essential trait. If you like to use your talking skills to persuade non-player characters to do your bidding, charisma will be important. Indirectly, how the points are assigned also affects what perks players have access to as they level up and gain perk points -- unique abilities that modify weapon damage and how you can interact with the environment.

While it’s possible to level up individual trait categories using perk points, spending points wisely at the start will make it easier to get your character exactly where you want it. Here’s a look at what each SPECIAL trait contributes to your in-game character.


The game describes the category a “measure of raw physical strength.” How many points you put into the category directly affects two traits -- item carry capacity and melee damage. So if you want to pick up every piece of junk without running back to base to unload or deal massive melee damage, this is the trait for you.


In “Fallout 4,” Perception affects how well you can target enemies using with the slow-motion Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, or VATS.” Points put into the category will also affect how easy it is to steal items as well as pick door and safe locks. Perception also has an effect on access to several perks, including ones that enhance your non-automatic rifle and explosive weapon damage.


The Endurance directly affects total health hit points and how fast the action point meter drains while sprinting. Perks under the trait can affect a number of character elements, such as damage resistance, radiation resistance and health regeneration.


Each point put into Charisma in “Fallout 4” affects how successful your character is with persuading non-player characters to give your information or take a different course of action. It also directly affects prices while bartering and the chances of a character becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol in game. Perks in Charisma will also affect what you're able to build in your settlements strewn throughout the game world.


Points put into Intelligence don’t have any immediate impact on skills. But they do have a direct effect on how much experience points are gained while completing tasks and killing enemies throughout the nuclear wasteland. Perks under Intelligence affect your character’s ability to hack computer terminals, modify guns, extract parts while salvaging armor, access to advanced mods and improved radiation weapon damage.


In “Fallout 4,” Agility affects how many action points a character has while using VATS to target enemies and also affects the player’s ability to sneak around without being detected. The perks under the agility category can affect damage of automatic weapons, pistol damage, action point regeneration and reload speed.


Stacking points in the Luck category directly affects your chances of landing a critical hit with your weapon, which is particularly useful when you’re looking for that one shot to turn the tide of battle against a group of raiders and legendary super mutants. The category also has a number of perks which can affect combat, such as “Mysterious Stranger,” where a trench coat-draped character will appear on occasion to take out an enemy. Luck perks also have a significant impact on how well you’re able to find the in-game currency -- bottlecaps -- and ammunition for weapons.


While there are plenty of ways to build your "Fallout 4" character, here are a few examples to get you started.

This build is ideal for “Fallout 4” player that wants to quickly level up and readily find resources and ammunition, which can be used to build settlements and upgrade weapons. Bonus critical hit damage can help in a bind and the random triple experience multiplier from the “Idiot Savant” perk can help players quickly level up. But low health points means you’ll be using food and stimpaks more often to restore health and melee combat is mostly out of the question for anything larger than a radroach or low level ghoul.

For the player that prefers to dive straight in and smash and bash every enemy in sight, this is the build for you. Points stacked in strength and endurance give players plenty of power for melee attacks, as well as greater resistance to attacks and radiation damage. But picking and hacking advanced locks and computer terminals is not an option unless you put points into the intelligence or perception at later levels. Ranged combat accuracy also suffers with this build.

This build emphasizes picking off enemies from a distance. With nine points stacked in Perception, players will have access to perks with increased rifle damage and the ability to use VATS to target enemy body parts hidden behind objects and the points in agility will allow you to pop off more shots in the mode. However, melee and direct combat will mostly mean instant death early on and low charisma means you won’t easily tease out information from non-player characters.

Fallout 4 The SPECIAL stats in "Fallout 4" affects how players can interact with the game environment and how they fight against creatures and enemies. Photo: Mike Windle/Getty Images