Character Creation FAQ by Haeravon
Fallout: New Vegas on SuperCheats.com
This guide is set at a width of 72 characters. For ease of use, make
sure your browser is displaying all the numbers on the line below.

123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890123456789012
o======================================================================o
|								       |
|			    Fallout: New Vegas			       |
|			     					       |
o======================================================================o
Version 1.04
Written by: Nathan Garvin
Email: Theendbringer (at) Hotmail (dot) com.
If you're going to email me about this guide, make sure you put
"FALLOUT: NEW VEGAS" in the title, or I'll probably end up deleting it
as junk.

I have no affiliation with Bethesda, Obsidian, Fallout: New Vegas, or 
any other parties involved with this game. This is a not-for-profit fan-
made guide. If you wish to post, mirror, or quote this guide, feel free 
to do so. Credit would make me happy, an email would make me feel good. 
Let your conscience be your guide, just like all good people.

Now, I know this is a not-for-profit FAQ, but FAQ writing is time
consuming work. If you wanted to show your appreciation for this FAQ 
and/or support for future FAQs by donating to my PayPal account, that
would be an above-and-beyond gesture. If every person who downloaded
my FAQs donated a penny.. well, it would help out immensely. Now,
without any more PBS-style solicitation..

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_donations&business=delirious
devil%40hotmail%2ecom&lc=US&item_name=HaeravonFAQs¤cy_code=USD&bn
=PP%2dDonationsBF%3abtn_donateCC_LG%2egif%3aNonHosted

This FAQ was made in Notepad, and is best viewed in a simple text
editor. The default text is Lucida Console at size 10 font, but any
fixed-width font will work.. if not with the intended aesthetics intact.

			~HaeravonFAQS~
If you liked this FAQ, if you like talking about video games, if you
think sunshine was for people who were born before they had the good
sense to invent pixels, then you're not alone. Check out my Facebook
page at (www.facebook.com/HaeravonFAQs) for mindless video game
chatter, information about updates and upcoming FAQs, or for just a
more direct connection to yours truly, so you can tell me in person
about all the mistakes, typos, and other imperfections you've found.

Table of Contents
o======================================================================o
I. Introduction				{INT001}
	1. Hardcore Mode		{INT002}
II. S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Attributes		{SPC001}
	1. Implants			{SPC002}	
	2. Why Get the Monocyte Breeder {SPC003}
	   Implant?	
	3. Strength			{SPC004}
	4. Perception			{SPC005}
	5. Endurance			{SPC006}
	6. Charisma			{SPC007}
	7. Intelligence			{SPC008}
	8. Agility			{SPC009}
	9. Luck				{SPC010}
	10. My Personal Build,		{SPC011}
	    Attributes
III. Skills				{SKL001}
	1. Base				{SKL002}	
	2. Tag!				{SKL003}
	3. Leveling			{SKL004}
	4. Books			{SKL005}
	5. Magazines			{SKL006}
	6. Breakdown of Skill Points	{SKL007}
	7. Apparel and Skill Points	{SKL008{
	8. Barter			{SKL009}
	9. Energy Weapons		{SKL010}
	10. Explosives			{SKL011}
	11. Guns			{SKL012}
	12. Lockpick			{SKL013}
	13. Medicine			{SKL014}
	14. Melee Weapons		{SKL015}
	15. Repair			{SKL016}
	16. Science			{SKL017}
	17. Sneak			{SKL018}
	18. Speech			{SKL019}
	19. Survival			{SKL020}
	20. Unarmed			{SKL021}
	21. Skills I Tag! (and why)	{SKL022}
	22. Skill Point Allocation 	{SKL023}
IV. Traits				{TRT001}
	1. Built to Destroy		{TRT002}
	2. Fast Shot			{TRT003}
	3. Four Eyes			{TRT004}
	4. Good Natured			{TRT005}
	5. Heavy Handed			{TRT006}
	6. Kamikaze			{TRT007}
	7. Loose Cannon			{TRT008}
	8. Small Frame			{TRT009}
	9. Trigger Discipline		{TRT010}
	10. Wild Wasteland		{TRT011}
V. Perks				{PRK001}
	Level 2 Perks			{PRK002}
	Level 4 Perks			{PRK003}
	Level 6 Perks			{PRK004}
	Level 8 Perks			{PRK005}
	Level 10 Perks			{PRK006}
	Level 12 Perks			{PRK007}
	Level 14 Perks			{PRK008}
	Level 16 Perks			{PRK009}
	Level 18 Perks			{PRK010}
	Level 20 Perks			{PRK011}
	Level 22 Perks			{PRK012}
	Level 24 Perks			{PRK013}
	Lever 26 Perks			{PRK014}
	Level 28 Perks			{PRK015}
	Additional Perks		{PRK016}
	My Personal Build, Perks	{PRK017}
VI. IssacFrost's Energy Weapons Build	{EWB001}
	1. Attributes			{EWB002}
	2. Perks			{EWB003}
	3. Skills/Traits		{EWB004}
	4. Weapon Selection		{EWB005}
	5. Companions			{EWB006}
	6. Getting Established 		{EWB007}
	   in the Mohave
VII. Getting Started in the Mohave 	{MOH001}
	1. The New Vegas 		{MOH002}
	   Medical Clinic Run
	2. Alternate Routes		{MOH003}
	3. Jackpot Winner!		{MOH004}
	4. Infinite Experience 		{MOH005}
	   Exploit #1
	5. Infinite Experience 		{MOH006}
	   Exploit #2
	6. Infinite Experience 		{MOH007}
	   Exploit #3
	7. "Free" Repairs		{MOH008}
	8. Early Combat Armor		{MOH009}
	9. Gobi Campaign Scout Rifle	{MOH010}
	10. Pew-Pew			{MOH011}
	11. Q-35 Matter Modulator	{MOH012}
	12. Remnant Power Armor		{MOH013}
	13. Remnant Power Helmet	{MOH014}
	14. This Machine		{MOH015}
	15. YCS/186 -or- Alien Blaster	{MOH016}
VIII. Hardcore Mode Blues		{HMB001}
	1. Survival of the Skilled	{HMB002}
	2. H20				{HMB003}
	3. Food				{HMB004}
	4. Sleep			{HMB005}
	5. 'Tis But a Flesh Wound..	{HMB006}
	6. Ammo Weight Hate		{HMB007}
	7. And Then There Was One..	{HMB008}
	8. First Do No Harm		{HMB009}
	9. Don't Mind the Grind		{HMB010}
IX. Books				{BOK001}
X. Updates/Thanks			{UPD001}
	Special Thanks/Credits		{UPD002}

o======================================================================o
|								       |
|			Introduction {INT001}			       |
|								       |
o======================================================================o
Hello, kiddies! Another Fallout game, another Fallout Character Creation
FAQ. If you read my previous FAQ for Fallout 3 you'll have a good
understanding of how this FAQ will be laid out, and what it'll try to
do. If not, then read on. This FAQ is designed to help you create a
characters with the best chances of surviving in the Wasteland, or at
least to give you an idea of how the SPECIAL stats, perks, and skills
work so you can make an informed decision on how to best build the
character you want. It's mostly informational, but I do have my own
opinion on the best way to do things and what works best. Follow it or
not, but most of all, I hope you come out with a better idea of how you
want to play the game. If that's the case, Whether you do things my way
or not is irrelevant. I'm fairly power-gamey, and I focus more on a
general build, rather than specialization.. or rather, I try to focus
on making the most powerful character I can. After all, a character who
is good at talking his way out of a fight is fine, and a gunslinger has
its uses.. but a character who can do both is obviously better. Right?

All that said, this is a FAQ written relatively close to the game 
launch, and I'm sure I haven't found everything the game has to offer,
so what I have proposed should all be viewed as tentative, and hence,
subject to change. Also, if you followed the previous Fallout FAQ I
wrote you'll notice that it gradually gained more and more information
that wasn't strictly character-build related until it evolved into a
full FAQ/Walkthrough. We'll see how that goes this time around.

This is for the vanilla version of the game. If you have any of the
DLCs or especially the Ultimate Edition of the game, see my Ultimate
Edition Character Creation FAQ, instead. The build for the vanilla game
is not really a great build for the Ultimate Edition.

Hardcore Mode							{INT002}
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
With New Vegas comes the addition of Hardcore mode, which adds
significant gameplay changes. These include weight for ammo, the need to
mind food (FOD), dehydration (H20), and sleep deprivation (SLP) meters,
as well as a host of other tweaks, like the need to use a Doctor's Bag
to heal crippled legs, or to go find an actual doctor. This makes the
game a much more tedious experience, and in my mind it exists more for
challenge and realism than for any sort of story benefit. On that note,
when I played Hardcore mode it made me rush through the story more, and
explore less. I ignored most sub-quests and side-areas, and I really
wouldn't recommend it for a first play-through. If you do, however, play
Hardcore mode, save before you go out exploring and when you find new
areas, assess their resources and decide whether it's worth your time to
run out there. If not, reload.

As far as Hardcore mode affects my build.. It mostly changes perk and
skill point allocation, rather than affecting SPECIAL stats. It also
means I have to be more picky when it comes to buying Implants. I would
rather have Sub-Dermal Armor and Monocyte Breeders than many of the
SPECIAL stats, and since I wasn't running out and killing Super Mutants
for gear, and by extension, Caps, I was a little more conservative with
my spending. If you're lucky enough, however, you can gamble at the
various casinos in the Strip to rake up some Caps without wasting time..
that's right, time doesn't flow in the gambling mini-games. Other than 
that, I stand by my general build as Hardcore friendly. The only thing 
I suggest changing are a handful of Perks, and the priority of skills. 
Obviously Survival as a skill is more important in Hardcore Mode.

o======================================================================o
|								       |
|		S.P.E.C.I.A.L Attributes {SPC001}		       |
|								       |
o======================================================================o
Your seven attributes are cleverly formed into the acronym 'SPECIAL',
which stands for Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, 
Intelligence, Agility, Luck.

Attributes do a number of things for you-depending on what the actual
attribute is, but they all give a 2 point bonus to their related skills
for each point in that attribute. For example, if your Strength was 5
your base Melee Weapons skill would get a 10 point bonus. Luck is the
exception, which gives a 1 point bonus for each two points in Luck to
all your skills. This also means that when determining your skill
points, each skill starts out with at least a +2 bonus (for your
minimum of 1 in each attribute.) But.. more on that later.

I will give you a brief description of each attribute, as well as list
what bonuses it gives. Below the chart listing the nuances of the
effects of that attribute will be my build choice when it comes to that
attribute, and a rating following it. The rating is somewhat arbitrary,
as it 'rates' the attribute in measure of importance. You can get a
feel for the rating an attribute will get just by looking at the number
of points my build requires.

Implants							{SPC002}
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Instead of Bobbleheads, in New Vegas you have Implants. Again, anybody
who played Fallout 1 or 2 shouldn't be surprised by the concept of
shelling out caps to have your character surgically augmented. You can
get one Implant per point of Endurance you have (not counting points
gained from gear worn or from getting an Endurance-boosting Implant).
Naturally, this means you shouldn't use Endurance as a dump stat, at
least, and at most, if you're a power gamer, you should strive to have
a high Endurance to get as many Implants as possible. The Implants are
listed below, along with the Caps they cost, and the bonuses they give.
Note that buying an Implant rewards you with a perk corresponding to
that Implant, which is how I will identify the Implants listed below.
Also, to my knowledge there is no significant down-time associated with
these surgeries. You shouldn't starve to death or dehydrate from having
a surgery, even though it does fast-forward time by three hours.


	o====================o======o=====================o
	|      Implant       | Cost |       Effect        |
	o====================o======o=====================o
	|Agility Implant     | 4,000|     +1 Agility      |
	|--------------------|------|---------------------|
	|Charisma Implant    | 4,000|    +1 Charisma      |
	|--------------------|------|---------------------|
	|Endurance Implant   | 4,000|    +1 Endurance     |
	|--------------------|------|---------------------|
	|Intelligence Implant| 4,000|   +1 Intelligence   |
	|--------------------|------|---------------------|
	|Monocyte Breeder    |12,000|Regenerate Hit Points|
	|--------------------|------|---------------------|
	|Luck Implant	     | 4,000|      +1 Luck        |
	|--------------------|------|---------------------|
	|Perception Implant  | 4,000|   +1 Perception     |
	|--------------------|------|---------------------|
	|Strength Implant    | 4,000|    +1 Strength      |
	|--------------------|------|---------------------|
	|Sub-Dermal Armor    | 8,000| +4 Damage Threshold |
	o====================o======o=====================o

Obviously these Implants differ in potency.. the Sub-Dermal Armor 
Implant is better than a Toughness perk, and for Hardcore players, how
can life get much better than health regeneration? On the other hand,
for a build like mine that uses Charisma as a dump stat it might seem
mindless to bother getting enough Endurance in order to boost Charisma.

You can buy the Implants from Doctor Usanagi at the New Vegas Medical
Clinic. Check the {MOH002} section to see how to reach this area with a
new, low-level character.

Why Get the Monocyte Breeder Implant?				{SPC003}
<----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Monocyte Breeder is NOT a combat implant. It heals too slow to make
any difference in a fight. Why bother with it then? Well, two reasons,
one good, one bad. First the bad reason-save a few essential
considerations, such as meeting perk requirements, weapon requirements,
and having enough Intelligence (and hence skill points) to max out all
your skills, there are few good reasons to invest more or less into
many of the attributes. Simply put, the health and extra implant we can
get with a point of Endurance is worth more than what the other SPECIAL
attributes offer. Now for the good reason-in Hardcore mode, the Monocyte
Breeder is not a lackluster implant, as it will allow you to heal by
resting, waiting, or even fast travelling. Sure as hell beats having to
snarf food, constantly drink from a water source, or make yourself a
Stimpak pin-cusion.

Strength 							{SPC004}
o======================================================================o
Skills: Melee Weapons

Strength is a measure of your raw physical power. It affects how much
you can carry, the power of all melee attacks, and your effectiveness
with many heavy weapons.

"Strength'll 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 has a more important role in New Vegas than it previously had.
If you played Fallout 1 or 2, you'll remember that weapons in those 
games also had a minimum Strength requirement. So too, for New Vegas.
Strength also increases your melee damage, carrying capacity, and gives
a bonus to your Melee Weapons skill. In my mind, however, the most 
important thing it does is it effectively limits what weapons you can
use. If you don't have enough Strength to use a weapon, your aim will
wobble, and you'll have a laughable to hit rate in VATS. For melee
weapons, it may slow down your rate of attack. Now, as far as unarmed,
melee, and explosives are concerned this is only so much of a
handicap. Most of the time you don't need a great deal of accuracy
with, say, a Fat Man. The increased spread hurts, but with an 
explosive or Minigun, some inherent inaccuracy is built into the
weapon anyways. But with a Sniper Rifle, accuracy is a much greater
concern, and considering that higher damage weapons give a much
better damage return over high Damage Threshold than lower damage
weapons, you're going to want to use the bigger, badder guns. That said,
the 'bigger, badder' category really starts at a Strength of six, 
especially if you use ranged weapons. With the Weapon Handling perk you
can lower this requirement by two points, meaning that most characters
really only need four Strength.. or three, with the Implant.

o=====o============o=================o======o==========================o
|Score|Melee Damage|Carrying Capacity|Skills|       Description	       |
o=====o============o=================o======o==========================o
|  1  |      .5    |       160       |  +2  |Wet Noodle 	       |
|  2  |     1.0    |       170       |  +4  |Beached Jellyfish         |
|  3  |     1.5    |       180       |  +6  |Doughy Baby               |
|  4  |     2.0    |       190       |  +8  |Lightweight               |
|  5  |     2.5    |       200       | +10  |Average Joe               |
|  6  |     3.0    |       210       | +12  |Barrel Chested            |
|  7  |     3.5    |       220       | +14  |Beach Bully               |
|  8  |     4.0    |       230       | +16  |Circus Strongman          |
|  9  |     4.5    |       240       | +18  |Doomsday Pecs             |
| 10  |     5.0    |       250       | +20  |Hercules' Bigger Cousin   |
o=====o============o========================o==========================o

My Build: I put *THREE* points into Strength.. decidedly low, but hear
me out. With the Implant my Strength will raise to four, and with the
Weapon Handling perk I effectively have access to six point weapons,
which.. pretty much includes all the pistols and rifles in the game.
Considering that I don't have any Strength-dependent perks, I don't
care to specialize in Melee Weapons or Unarmed, so the damage doesn't
concern me one bit.

Rating: ***

Perception							{SPC005}
o======================================================================o
Skills: Explosives, Lockpick, and Energy Weapons

A high Perception grants a bonus to the Explosives, Lockpick and Energy
Weapons skills, and determines when red compass markings appear (which
indicate threats).

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

Perception's big draw is that it increases the distance as which you
notice threats-red marks on your compass. Granted this is only useful
for avoiding said threats, or ambushing/sneaking up on them. Still, if
you are a ranged fighter, this is useful for letting you know where your
enemies are before you engage. Yep, that's right out of the old FAQ, and
it holds true in New Vegas. There are, however, a few changes in New
Vegas that diminishes.. or rather, replaces.. the use of Perception in
New Vegas. First, you can just toggle VATS to spot enemies far outside
of your range to locate them, so long as you have a line of sight. With
one side kick you get a perk that highlights enemies when you aim, and
with another you get a perk that vastly increases your detection range.
Both of these perks make having a high personal Perception score rather
moot. Add into this the fact that with the new iron sights you can 
effectively snipe outside of VATS much easier.. you don't need a high
Perception to find-and kill-enemies. It still has its tactical uses to
be sure, and more importantly it is a requirement for some perks, but
you don't need nearly as much Perception this time around. In fact,
with the larger range of Perception you'll get from one companion, you
will see enemies on the compass much earlier than is useful. It doesn't
really do you much good to know that there are hostiles on the far side
of a mountain, does it? Especially not until you find a way to reach 
that side of the mountain, in any case. The best thing Perception does
is it allows you to get the Better Criticals perk. Without this you can
really use it as a dump stat. That said, I can't see why anybody would
ignore +50% critical damage. Keep your Perception up at six (or five
plus the Implant) to have access to this perk.

		o=====o======o====================o
		|Score|Skills|    Description     |
		o=====o======o====================o
		|  1  |  +2  |Deaf Bat		  |
		|  2  |  +4  |Senile Mole	  |
		|  3  |  +6  |Squinting Newt	  |
		|  4  |  +8  |Unsuspecting Trout  |
		|  5  | +10  |Wary Trout	  |
		|  6  | +12  |Alert Coyote	  |
		|  7  | +14  |Big-eyed Tiger	  |
		|  8  | +16  |Monocled Falcon	  |
		|  9  | +18  |Sniper Hawk	  |
		| 10  | +20  |Eagle with Telescope|
		o=====o======o====================o

My Build: I start out with a base of *FIVE* Perception.

Rating: **

Endurance 							{SPC006}
o======================================================================o
Skills: Survival and Unarmed

Endurance is a measure of your overall physical fitness. A high 
Endurance gives bonuses to health, environmental resistances, and the
Survival and Unarmed skills.

"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."

As the description says, Endurance increases your Health and some
resistances. Presumably your resistance to poison is the same as in
Fallout 3, as your radiation resistance remains unchanged. Since you
only receive five Hit Points per level in New Vegas (as opposed to 10
in Fallout 3) Endurance plays a more crucial role. Most importantly,
however, in New Vegas your Endurance determines how many stat-boosting
Implants you can receive. There are a total of nine Implants, and you
can get one for each point of Endurance you have.. not including an
extra Endurance you may get from an Implant. If you want as many 
Implants as possible, you're going to want a high starting Endurance.
Since this attribute also boosts your Survival, it's a good pick for 
people playing in Hardcore mode.

o=====o=========o=====================o======o================o
|Score|Hitpoints|Poison/Rad Resistance|Skills|  Description   |
o=====o=========o=====================o======o================o
|  1  |   120   |        0%/0%        |  +2  |Basically Dead  |
|  2  |   140   |        5%/2%        |  +4  |Crumbly         |
|  3  |   160   |       10%/4%        |  +6  |Do Not Bend     |
|  4  |   180   |       15%/6%        |  +8  |Handle with Care|
|  5  |   200   |       20%/8%        | +10  |Stain-resistant |
|  6  |   220   |       25%/10%       | +12  |Hardy           |
|  7  |   240   |       30%/12%       | +14  |Tough-as-nails  |
|  8  |   260   |       35%/14%       | +16  |Flame Retardant |
|  9  |   280   |       40%/16%       | +18  |Bulletproof     |
| 10  |   300   |       45%/18%       | +20  |Unstoppable     |
o=====o=========o=====================o======o================o

My Build: The more the merrier in Endurance, I start out with a whopping
*EIGHT* Endurance. This allows me to get all the Implants in the game,
save the Charisma Implant.

Rating: *****

Charisma 							{SPC007}
o======================================================================o
Skills: Barter and Speech

Having a high Charisma will improve people's disposition of you, and
give bonuses to both the Barter and Speech skills.

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

Charisma isn't any better in New Vegas than it was in any other Fallout
game, with the exception of the bonuses it gives to your companions'
nerve, which significantly increases their Damage Threshold and Damage.
Still, this is a character creation guide aimed at making the strongest
character for this game as possible.. not for making the strongest
companions. At the end of the day I'd rather have a strong main 
character than a strong side-kick. Keep the benefits in mind, sure, but
realize that a high Charisma is going to cost you in other areas. I use 
it as a dump stat and let Speech and Barter get me through the 
conversations in the game.

		o=====o======o==================o
		|Score|Skills|   Description    |
		o=====o======o==================o
		|  1  |  +2  |Misanthrope       |
		|  2  |  +4  |Old Hermit        |
		|  3  |  +6  |Creepy Undertaker |
		|  4  |  +8  |Peevish Librarian |
		|  5  | +10  |Substitute Teacher|
		|  6  | +12  |Cheery Salesman   |
		|  7  | +14  |Diplomat          |
		|  8  | +16  |Movie Star        |
		|  9  | +18  |Casanova          |
		| 10  | +20  |Cult Leader       |
		o=====o======o==================o

My Build: I start out with *ONE* point in Charisma. There's really no
great reason to start out with more. If you want to be a silver-tongued
devil, get a high Intelligence and just use Speech instead.

Rating: *

Intelligence 							{SPC008}
o======================================================================o
Skills: Science, Repair, and Medicine

Intelligence affects the Science, Repair and Medicine skills. The
higher your Intelligence, the more Skill Points you'll be able to
distribute when you level up.

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

Intelligence is again a solid attribute.. and even though it has been 
reduced in potency, the fact remains that a character with higher 
Intelligence will have higher skills, which does all kinds of good 
things. Not only will you pass more [Intelligence] checks, but more
skills means you'll pass more skill checks, too, and in New Vegas,
there are alot of them. Simply put, a more Intelligent character is
a more versatile, stronger character. And yes, half-points do carry
over to next level, so with a 9 Intelligence, you'd get 16 skill
points to distribute on one level, and 17 on the next.

	o=====o=====================o======o=============o
	|Score|Skill Point per Level|Skills| Description |
	o=====o=====================o======o=============o
	|  1  |         10.5        |  +2  |Sub-brick    |
	|  2  |         11          |  +4  |Vegetable    |
	|  3  |         11.5        |  +6  |Cretin       |
	|  4  |         12          |  +8  |Knucklehead  |
	|  5  |         12.5        | +10  |Knowledgeable|
	|  6  |         13          | +12  |Gifted       |
	|  7  |         13.5        | +14  |Smartypants  |
	|  8  |         14          | +16  |Know-it-all  |
	|  9  |         14.5        | +18  |Genius       |
	| 10  |         15          | +20  |Omniscient   |
	o=====o=====================o======o=============o

My Build: I start out with *NINE* Intelligence. My first priority, as
in Fallout 3, is to bring this nine up to a ten.. and this involves 
heading to the Emergency Service Railyard, through Primm Pass (if
possible), and north until I find the New Vegas Medical Clinic. The 
lower my level when I do this, the better my character will end up over 
all, so I take pains to avoid getting experience until I have the 
Intelligence Implant, after which I play the game more or less 
normally.. Normal for me, anyways.

Rating: ****

Agility 							{SPC009}
o======================================================================o
Skills: Guns and Sneak

Agility affects your Small Guns and Sneak skills, and the number of
Action Points available for V.A.T.S.

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

Agility is more of a mixed bag in New Vegas than it was in Fallout 3.
Action Points are still good and all, but since VATS doesn't make you
more-or-less invincible anymore, it can be a liability. It's often
better to use VATS sparingly, when you have time to pull off some safe
shots, rather than spam VATS relentlessly. Being able to use VATS more
often is better than taking more shots in VATS. Also with the new iron
sights, you can kill enemies more effectively at a distance.. again,
lessening the need for VATS this time around. Still, you should keep a
minimum of six points (or five plus the Implant) if you intend to get
the Silent Running perk.

	o=====o=============o======o================o
	|Score|Action Points|Skills|  Description   |
	o=====o=============o======o================o
	|  1  |      67     |  +2  |Walking Disaster|
	|  2  |      69     |  +4  |Accident Prone  |
	|  3  |      71     |  +6  |Oaf             |
	|  4  |      73     |  +8  |Butterfingers   |
	|  5  |      75     | +10  |Under Control   |
	|  6  |      77     | +12  |Catlike         |
	|  7  |      79     | +14  |Knife Thrower   |
	|  8  |      81     | +16  |Knife Catcher   |
	|  9  |      83     | +18  |Acrobatic Marvel|
	| 10  |      85     | +20  |Walks on Water  |
	o=====o=============o======o================o

My Build: I grab *SIX* point of Agility to start with, raising it to
seven with the Small Frame trait. It will eventually reach eight when
I get the Implant, which is plenty as far as Action Points and reload
speed is concerned.

Rating: ***

Luck								{SPC010}
o======================================================================o
Skills: All skills

"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 great skill, especially with poor Intelligence suffering.
From Luck you will get a half-point bonus to all your skills (rounded
up), which tops out at +5 once you have nine Luck, making nine really
the terminal score for Luck. Considering this, Luck can potentially
give you the highest skill bonus of any attribute, and the fact that
each point also translates to your critical hit chance makes it a very 
nice attribute indeed.

	o====o===============o======o====================o
	|Luck|Critical Chance|Skills|    Description     |
	o====o===============o======o====================o
	|  1 |       1%      |  +1  |13 Pitch-black Coats|
	|  2 |       2%      |  +1  |Broken Gypsy Mirror |
	|  3 |       3%      |  +2  |Sickly Albatross    |
	|  4 |       4%      |  +2  |Spilled Salt        |
	|  5 |       5%      |  +3  |Coin Flip           |
	|  6 |       6%      |  +3  |Stacked Deck        |
	|  7 |       7%      |  +4  |Lucky 7             |
	|  8 |       8%      |  +4  |Leprechaun's Foot   |
	|  9 |       9%      |  +5  |21-Leaf Clover      |
	| 10 |	     10%     |  +5  |Two-headed Coin Flip|
	o====o===============o======o====================o

My Build: I start out with *EIGHT* Luck, and with the Implant I bring
it up to nine, which is as high as it needs to be. Even the critical-
hit happy builds should be satisfied with this, and I really canít see 
stripping a point from another S.P.E.C.I.A.L. state for one measly 
point of critical hit percentage.

Rating: *****

My Personal Build, Attributes					{SPC011}
o======================================================================o
I will purchase all the Implants save Charisma, and focus on Guns..
but I'll have enough skill points that I can bring Energy Weapons and
Explosives up to snuff, too. In fact, on a typical build I get all
my skills as high as I want them save Melee Weapons, Survival, and
Unarmed, which is pretty good, if you ask me. Also, I have recently
decided to disdain Power Armor, as it.. well, it's just too heavy and
I rarely needed that much protection. Instead I typically go with
Vault Security Armor, which has a Damage Threshold of 16 and a repair
cost of 100-200 caps. It's also light armor, which is handy.

Overall the build can be described as a Gun-using skill-junkie. I will
have the skills to handle many different situations in the game, but
this character will excel in direct confrontations. The plain number is
my starting score, the number in parentheses is my ending score, with
Implants and traits considered.

Strength	3 (4)
Perception	5 (6)
Endurance	8 (9)
Charisma	1
Intelligence	9 (10)
Agility		6 (8)
Luck		8 (9)

For characters who want to play through the game in Hardcore mode-not
merely run through, it might be a good idea to grab Perks such as
Strong Back and Pack Rat. The following adjustments can be made without
the overall building suffering much, if any.

Strength	4 (5)
Perception	5 (6)
Endurance	8 (9)
Charisam	1
Intelligence	9 (10)
Agility		5 (7)
Luck		8 (9)	

o======================================================================o
|								       |
|			    Skills {SKL001}			       |
|								       |
o======================================================================o
Skills determine how good you are at various activities, anything from
picking locks, hacking computers, attacking with various weapons,
sneaking, interacting with NPCs and so forth. Your skills are every bit
as important as your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes and your perks.

Base 								{SKL002}
o======================================================================o
You start out with two points in each skill, and get an additional two
points per S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attribute in related skills with the
exception of Luck, which gives .5 point for each point of Luck
(rounded up).

Tag! 								{SKL003}
o======================================================================o
You select three skills to tag after being tested early in the game.
Unlike the first two Fallout games, this doesn't double your rate of 
skill point increase, it merely adds a 15 point bonus to those skills.

Leveling 							{SKL004}
o======================================================================o
You gain 10 skill points per level plus half your Intelligence score.
The sooner you get to the New Vegas Medical Center and buy yourself a
shiny new Intelligence Implant, the more skill points you'll have in
the long run.

Books								{SKL005}
o======================================================================o
In addition to perks, leveling, and intelligence, you can get skill 
bonuses from books throughout the game. Unlike in Fallout 3, you no 
longer gain one point for each book, you now get three (or four, with
Comprehension). Of course, with bonuses like this you can't expect to
find quite as many of them.. but even if you find three or four, that's
a significant number of skill points.

Magazines							{SKL006}
o======================================================================o
Magazines, like books, exist only to boost your skill points, albeit
temporarily. Magazines normally boost your skill points by +10, but with
the Comprehension perk this bonus increases to +20. For most skill this
is not a huge deal, although the benefits of popping a Milsurp Review
to boost your Guns before a big fight is obvious enough. For some 
'checked' skills, however, a temporary boost can be just as good as a
permanent one. For example, the Speech skill is really only used in
conversation. If you reach certain benchmarks you can succeed at Speech
checks, which greatly helps with questing, improves rewards, etc. 
However, you don't ALWAYS need a 100 Speech. In fact, most of the time
you're not even using that skill. This is where magazines shine, as with
Comprehension you can leave Speech at 80 and just read a magazine before
you need to make a check. The Barter, Lockpick, and Science skills all
fall into this category as well.

Breakdown of Skills Points					{SKL007}
o======================================================================o
There are 13 skills in the game, each of which can be raised to a score
of 100, for a grand total of 1300 possible points in the game. Because
of several factors, namely the lack of Bobbleheads and a reduction in
the number of skill points per level, you will likely not reach 100 in
all of your skills.. but you can certainly reach 100 in many of them.
Here's a breakdown of where our skills stand with this build at level
one. Note that these numbers do not include any trait bonuses.
	
		Base	SPECIAL	Total	Implants	Total
			(+Luck)		(+Luck)		
Barter		2	2  +4	8	1		9
Energy Weapons	2	10 +4	16	3		19
Explosives	2	10 +4	16	3		19	
Guns		2	12 +4	18	3		21
Lockpick	2	10 +4	16	3		19
Medicine	2	18 +4	24	3		27
Melee Weapons	2	6  +4	12	3		15
Repair		2	18 +4	24	3		27
Science		2	18 +4	24	3		27
Sneak		2	12 +4	18	3		21
Speech		2	2  +4	8	1		9
Survival	4	16 +4	24	3		27		
Unarmed		2	16 +4	22	3		25	

Now that we've got that, lets figure out how many points we can expect
to get from leveling and Tag! skills, and see where that leaves us.

		265 Base Skill Points
	       + 45 Tag!
	       +435 15 Skill Points/29 Levels (w/ 10 Intelligence)
	       + 52 2 Skill Points/26 Levels (w/Educated)
              ------         
		797 Skill Points to spend by level 30

With 797 skill points we can get an average of 61~ in each skill..
Simply put, that doesn't really cut it. Fortunately, that's not all
there is to it. The previously mentioned books weigh in at three skill
points per copy (or four, with the Comprehension perk). Since there are
four of each type of book (save Big Books of Science, which has five
copies floating about).. that adds up to a lot of potential skill 
points. Four books per skill, thirteen skills, with an extra Big Book
equals 212 skill points that can be obtained from books.. provided you
find them all, which can be a major chore in and of itself. Still, if
you are dedicated to power gaming, if we add in all the skill points
we would receive from books to our base build, this is what we'd end up
with:

		Base	w/Skill	Total	Points	Real
			 Books		to Max	Req.
Barter		9	+16	25	+75	+55
Energy Weapons	19	+16	35	+65	+65
Explosives	19	+16	35	+65	+65	
Guns		21	+16	37	+63	+63
Lockpick	19	+16	35	+65	+45
Medicine	27	+16	43	+57	+57
Melee Weapons	15	+16	31	+65	+65
Repair		27	+16	43	+57	+57
Science		27	+20	47	+53	+33
Sneak		21	+16	37	+63	+63
Speech		9	+16	25	+75	+55
Survival	27	+16	43	+57	+57		
Unarmed		25	+16	41	+59	+59
	      ------  ------  ------  ------  ------
Breakdown	265  +  212  =  477     819	739

		739 Skill Points (Real Requirements)
	       - 45 Tag!
	       -435 15 Skill Points/29 Levels (w/10 Intelligence)	
	       - 52 2 Skill Points/26 Levels (w/Educated)
	      ------  
		207 Number of Skill Points Required to Max all Skills

Keep in mind that by 'base' I mean what our scores will be after 
getting all the Implants, and an Intensive Training perk in Luck to
bring our Luck score up to nine. Comprehension is counted into the book
skill point total, to bring us to our potential skill results without
spending a single point from leveling. This might be an unrealistically
ambitious goal (certainly in Hardcore mode), but it does give those
perfectionists out there something to shoot for. The 'Real Req.' column
gives the amount of skill points you should spend into a skill at most
before spending more becomes redundant. For example, I view it wasteful
to bother spending more than 80 points into Barter, Lockpick, Science,
and Speech, since these are mostly 'checked' skills that can be raised
by reading a magazine prior to a check in order to succeed (see my
description of the Comprehension perk for more about this.)

As you can see by the math above, with this build we will be able to get
about 1095 Skill Points in total, where we would need 1300 to max all
the skills at 100. Even getting as many skill points as humanly possible
you're going to have to let some things go.. which amounts to roughly 
three skills that you can't put any points into.

Apparel								{SKL008}
o======================================================================o
In addition, if you really want to be a skill point hoarder, some
types of Apparel increase your skill points. While not as handy as a
magazine (or as rewarding, typically) this doesn't change the fact that
if you carry around a Vault Utility Jumpsuit, you really only need 75
Repair, for example, to reach 100. When you find a Very Hard lock pop on 
the Jumpsuit and read a magazine and get to work. It can be unwieldy to 
carry around several outfits for the purpose of skill point boosting.. 
but you can potentially save a good bit of skill points this way.. skill 
points you can then put into other skills that need a boost on a more 
permanent basis. Also keep in mind that certain Apparel increases 
SPECIAL stats, which in turn boost skills.. but it's rather tedious to 
keep on hand hats for the two point boost you'd get to Lockpick. Where 
you draw the line at convenience and min/maxing is up to you, but below 
are some examples of stat-boosting gear, just in case.

Apparel				Boost		       Max Skill w/Boost
Followers Doctor Coat		+5 Science			75
Pre-War Businesswear		+5 Speech			75
Roving Trader Hat		+5 Barter			75
Vault Utility Jumpsuit		+5 Repair/	 		n/a
				+5 Lockpick			75
NCR Engineer Outfit		+5 Repair			n/a
Chinese Stealth Armor		+5 Sneak			n/a

Barter (Charisma)						{SKL009}
o======================================================================o
The Barter skill affects the prices you get for buying and selling
items. In general, the higher your Barter skill, the lower your prices
on purchased items.

The higher your Barter, the more Caps you'll get when you sell things,
and the less Caps items will cost when you buy them. In addition to
this useful bonus, Barter often acts as a Speech substitute.. allowing
you to haggle for better deals and rewards. However, Barter may not be
worth picking for everyone. Barter will not cover all your Speech
checks (and vise versa), and Repair may actually do better at saving
you money. In Hardcore mode you typically have to find things to sell to
make Barter effective.. which means exploring or hunting/killing
enemies, which takes time, and hence, resources. It's a fine skill if
you have the points to spend, and if you plan on hunting down all the
skill books in the game, there's really no reason not to bring Barter up
to 80. Unless you absolutely need to have three or four weapon skills..
and good luck getting the perks to make that work.

Rating: ****
Suggested Score: 80

Energy Weapons (Perception)					{SKL010}
o======================================================================o
The Energy Weapons skill determines your effectiveness with any weapon
that uses Small Energy Cells, Micro Fusion Cells, EC Packs, or Flamer
Fuel as ammunition.

A bit of a weapon shakeup here, Flamers now belong to Energy Weapons,
and not to the now-defunct Big Guns category. Still, Energy Weapons are
in direct competition with Guns as a primary arms. Explosives might 
have their own niche, but if you're using a ranged weapon, it's either
Guns or Energy Weapons. The most conventional Energy Weapons are either
Laser Pistols, Laser Rifles, Plasma Pistols, or Plasma Rifles, which
are by default short to mid-ranged weapons. There are weapons that
function like shotguns, the Gauss Rifle takes the place of a Sniper
Rifle, and there's even a cannon-type weapon. There are fewer types of
ammo.. which is a blessing and a curse. You won't get Armor-Piercing
ammo, and more powerful weapons tend to burn through their ammo quickly
(the Gauss Rifle, for example, takes five 'rounds' of ammunition per
shot.) Overall I prefer to go with Guns, which just seem to have a
better selection of ammo and higher relative damage. Not to mention
the fact that they are more readily available. Still, I can't argue with
the fact that YCS/186 is a superior long-ranged weapon, outperforming
the Gauss Rifle in both damage, weight, proficiency requirements, and
ammo consumption, and a Multiplas Rifle kills enemies with satisfying
speed. Seriously, take a Multiplas Rifle out with Maximum Charge ammo
and go shoot up some Deathclaws. It's effective, I'll give it that.

Rating: ****
Suggested Score: 100 (for Energy Weapons users, base for everyone else)

Explosives (Perception)						{SKL009}
o======================================================================o
The Explosives skill determines the ease of disarming any hostile mines
and the effectiveness of any explosive weapon (all mines, all grenades,
Missile Launcher, Fat Man, etc.)

You will certainly notice the delay you get when it comes to disarming
mines, but that's not a reason to raise a skill, right? No, it's the
fact that Explosives now govern all weapons that.. you know.. cause
explosions? Now it's a skill worth considering, since Explosives are a
wide and often powerful variety of weapons, easily able to overcome the
Damage Thresholds of enemies. Of course, it is still a limited-use and
often expensive collection of weapons.. and certainly not one for use
against most enemies. Frankly, I'd rather shoot a Deathclaw with an
Sniper Rifle, rather than stock up on heavy and expensive Explosives. 
In fact, I'd rather use Guns to do everything Explosives can do, which 
is why I have no inclination to endorse it as an essential skill. If you
have points left over after focusing on Energy Weapons or Guns, and you
a taste for destruction, it makes an interesting-not essential-secondary
weapon skill.

Rating: ***
Suggested Score: 100 (for Explosives users, base for everyone else)

Guns (Agility)							{SKL010}
o======================================================================o
Guns determines your effectiveness with any weapon that uses
conventional ammunition (.22 LR, .357 Magnum, 5mm, 10mm, 5.56mm, .308,
.45-70 Gov't etc.).

The Guns skill consists of a stupidly wide variety of weapons with an
equally stupidly wide variety of ammunition. Including such mainstays 
as the 9mm Pistol, Hunting Rifle, Assault Carbine, Light Machine Gun, 
Riot Shotgun, Sniper Rifle and.. Anti-Material Rifle?.. It is a truly
diverse and powerful weapon skill set. It is in direct competition with
Energy Weapons for your primary ranged arms, and in my mind, Guns win
out. Guns typically deal more damage (especially with Hand Loader) and
settle at a comfortable Strength requirement of six.. even for the
Sniper Rifle. If anything, Guns might suffer from having too many
options. Do you go with the Brush Gun for its low Action Point costs,
get the Cowboy perk, and get your Repair skill up to 90 in order to 
make 45-70 Gov't Hand Load ammo, or stick with the Sniper Rifle, Gobi 
Rifle, or The Machine and use .308 Hand Load ammo? Or do you do both? 
Heck, you can even decide to play with revolvers and stick with the 
Ranger Sequoia. No matter what you decide to do, you can expect to deal 
a lot of damage with Guns, at close range, long range or from even 
beyond the Perception range of your enemy. It's a lot of power and 
versatility for one skill, and in my mind everybody who really wants to
kill things, and kill them well, should get at least 75 points in Guns.
An exception can be made for devoted Energy Weapons users.

Rating: *****
Suggested Score: 75 (Everybody can benefit from getting Guns up to 75.)

Lockpick (Perception)						{SKL011}
o======================================================================o
The Lockpick skill is used to open locked doors and containers.

It's a brief description for a rather straight-forward skill. You'll
find locked boxes, doors, crates, etc. of various degrees of difficulty.
Obviously you're going to want to get into them, and this requires 
your Lockpick skill to be at different levels. This is a pretty useful,
if not obligatory skill for everybody to have. Thankfully, however, if
you get Comprehension you can just get your score up to 80 and just
use a Locksmith's Reader Magazine for when you encounter a [Very Hard]
lock.

o==============o===============o
|Lockpick SKill|Lock Difficulty|
o==============o===============o
|       0      |   Very Easy   |
|      25      |      Easy     |
|      50      |     Average   |
|      75      |      Hard     |
|     100      |   Very Hard   |
o==============o===============o

Rating: *****
Suggested Score: 80

Medicine (Intelligence)						{SKL012}
o======================================================================o
The Medicine skill determines how many Hit Points you'll replenish upon
using a Stimpak, and the effectiveness of Rad-X and RadAway.

This skill, for all its apparent worth, can be ignored. There is always
another way of handling a situation, from donning an Environmental Suit,
to visiting a doctor, to just using more Caps. It's more useful in
Hardcore mode to be able to ignore these inconveniences, but in a normal
game you don't really need a high Medicine score. That said, there are
a good number of Medicine challenges in this game, so from a story
aspect it's not entirely bad to splurge a little extra.. especially if
you've got the skill points to spare.

Rating: **
Suggested Score: base

Melee Weapons (Strength)					{SKL013}
o======================================================================o
The Melee Weapons skill determines your effectiveness with any melee
weapon, from the simple lead pipe all the way up to the high-tech Super
Sledge.

Melee Weapons is again in competition with Unarmed, and it again loses.
Paralyzing Palm might not be as awesome in New Vegas as it was in 
Fallout 3, but it does give Unarmed an edge. Also, many of the better
perks the two share (Piercing Strike, Slayer) require you to have a
large number of points in Unarmed. To its credit, Melee Weapons does
control the Ninja, Unstoppable Force, and Super Slam perks, but it does
seem to be the loser in this competition, nonetheless. It's also hard
to compare a Super Sledge to a Displacer Glove or Ballistic Fist. Your
natural inclination is to specialize in one or the other, but
unfortunately New Vegas requires you to pay attention to both, whereas
with Guns and Energy Weapons you can get by just fine with one or the
other.

Rating: **
Suggested Score: 45 (for people who want the Cowboy Perk.) 
		100 (for Melee Weapons users, base for every one else.)
		  
Repair (Intelligence)						{SKL014}
o======================================================================o
The Repair skill allows you to maintain any weapons and apparel. In
addition, Repair allows you to create items and Guns ammunition at
reloading benches.

Repair is still good in New Vegas, for many of the same reasons. There
has, however, been one significant change to how the skill works. You
no longer need to get your Repair skill up to 100 to repair an items
condition to 100.. the higher your skill the more you repair when you
combine an item, but if you have enough of them you'll be able to fix
an item to your hearts' content. Also, some weapons and armor are
prohibitively rare, making fixes with Repair difficult. In fact, most
armors are easier to simply repair by going to an NPC and paying them
to do it, rather than hunting down some armor with which to repair your
own. That brings us to weapons. The best way to repair weapons in my
opinion is to simply make Weapon Repair Kits, which is much cheaper and
simpler than other methods. This makes the terminal skill level for
Repair 50, as far as I'm concerned.. unless you use Guns, then you
should get a score of 70 for Hand Loader.

Rating: ***
Suggested Score: 50
		 70 (for Guns users who use .308 ammo.)
		 90 (for Guns users who use 45-70 Gov't ammo.)
		100 (for Guns users who use 50mg ammo.)

Science (Intelligence)						{SKL015}
o======================================================================o
The Science skill represents your combined scientific knowledge, and is
primarily used to hack restricted computer terminals. It can also be
used to recycle Energy Weapons and ammunition at workbenches.

Again, like Lockpick, you'll encounter terminals with varying 
difficulties which you'll typically want to hack. Also like Lockpick
you will be able to get your Science skill up to 80 and just fill in
the last 20 points with a Programmer's Digest for the [Very Hard] hacks.
The crafting is somewhat moot, as Stimpaks require a score of 70 and
components that are more annoying to find than simply paying the Caps
for the Stimpak. Everything else that's useful, like ammo recycling or
Doctor's Bags, typically have a much lower requirement.

o=============o===============o
|Science SKill|Hack Difficulty|
o=============o===============o
|       0     |   Very Easy   |
|      25     |      Easy     |
|      50     |     Average   |
|      75     |      Hard     |
|     100     |   Very Hard   |
o=============o===============o

Rating: *****
Suggested Score: 80

Sneak (Agility)							{SKL016}
o======================================================================o
The higher your Sneak skill, the easier it is to remain undetected,
steal and item, or pick someone's pocket. Successfully attack while
undetected grants an automatic critical hit.

Sneak is a nice skill that allows you to steal loot, score sneak attack
criticals, and move past enemies when you'd rather avoid (or at least
delay) a fight. Most items can be stolen by being patient and waiting
for potential witnesses to leave, and sneak attack criticals are more
easily to score than ever, now that you have iron sights and don't need
to approach as close. Both of these factors mean you really don't need
a Sneak score that's terribly high, although if you want to sneak
anywhere near an enemy, much less past one, you're going to want the 
Silent Running perk.. which requires an obligatory minimum investment of
50 Sneak. To be fair, however, you will need a Sneak score of 70+ to
really be any good at sneaking, and since enemies are typically more
mobile in New Vegas, you probably won't often be sneaking up to a
hostile foe in order to get a melee or unarmed sneak attack.

Rating: ***
Suggested Score: base (for Melee Weapons and Unarmed characters.)
		50 (for Silent Running.)
		70+ (for dedicated snipers.)

Speech (Charisma)						{SKL017}
o======================================================================o
The Speech skill governs how much you can influence someone through
dialogue, and gain access to information they might otherwise not want
to share.

There are many quests that can only be solved-or that can be more easily
solved-through Speech. This skill largely eliminates the need for
Charisma, so long as you're willing to invest points into it. Your 
ability to get alternative solutions to quests is priceless and 
frequent, and a character build that doesn't include at least 80 points
of Speech is really missing the point of a Fallout game, in my opinion.
Once at 80 you can supplement your score with magazines for when you
need a higher Speech check.

Rating: *****
Suggested Score: 80

Survival (Endurance)						{SKL018}
o======================================================================o
The Survival skill increases the Hit Points you receive from food and
drink. It also helps you created consumable items at campfires.

The usefulness of this skill depends wholly on one thing; are you 
playing in Hardcore mode? If so, you might want this skill, as it will 
increase the usefulness of consumables and allow you to create better, 
more wholesome consumables at campfires. If you don't play on Hardcore 
mode, you don't need to eat or drink anyhow and might as well just use a
Stimpak to heal. Seriously, 15 points of Survival makes Purified Water 
restore 15 more H20, so 100 points of Survival.. well, it makes you need
half as much food and water, which is a good thing indeed. On the other 
hand, if you're a veteran and make the New Vegas run, chances are you'll
get yourself enough Caps to just buy all the food and water you need. 
It's not essential, even in Hardcore mode, but it is nice. I suggest
at least getting it up to 50 so you can make Bighorner Steaks, which
are a staple healing/food item. The fact that it also allows you to
make.. nearly every other recipe you're likely to find plenty of
ingredients for is just a bonus.

Rating: *
Rating: **** (Hardcore Mode)
Suggested Score: base (normal gamers) or 50 (hardcore players)

Unarmed (Endurance)						{SKL019}
o======================================================================o
The Unarmed skill is used for fighting without a weapon, or with weapons
designed for hand-to-hand combat, like Brass Knuckles, Power Fists, and
Displacer Gloves.

The other melee skill, Unarmed has a bit more going for it than Melee
Weapons. For one, a high Unarmed skill is required for both the Slayer
and Piercing Strike perks, both of which are obligatory for melee-type
characters. Power Fists can be found pretty readily at Camp Golf, and
even Spiked Knuckles tend to out-perform low-end Melee Weapons. Also,
the fact that most builds call for high Endurance plays into the
Unarmed skill right from the start. On the other hand, New Vegas 
requires you to have both skills high in order to get the full range 
of useful perks, so you'll either have to suck it up and waste a good
number of skill points for Ninja, or go without. Still, if push comes
to shove, I'd rather have Unarmed than Melee Weapons.. not to mention
that Unarmed Weapons typically weigh less helps, too.

Rating: ***
Suggested Score: 100 (for Unarmed characters, base for everyone else.)
		  90 (for any melee character, most of the good perks
		     (require a high Unarmed skill.)

Skills I Tag! (and why)						{SKL020}
o======================================================================o
Now that Repair isn't as vital, I generally decide to Tag! Science,
Lockpick, and Speech to start out, which allows me to complete quest
and explore places right from the get-go. 

Skill Point Allocation						{SKL021}
o======================================================================o
I prefer to start out with Lockpick and Science in the early levels,
just so I have access to more areas and have to do as little back-
tracking as possible. Companions can, for the meantime, pick up the
combat slack. I typically get Lockpick and Science up to 50 before
switching off to Speech, Sneak, and whatever weapon I am specializing
in. Once those are up to 50, I generally put another level into all of
the previously-mentioned skills to bring them up to 64 or so. Then I
let books do the rest of the work for Science, Lockpick, and Speech
while continuing to build on my specialty weapon. Below I've listed
several sample builds, all using the same SPECIAL stats, but with
differing skills to reflect different focuses.

		  (Normal Build)	(With Books)
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Barter:			80		64 + 16 = 80   
Energy Weapons:		19		19 + 16	= 35
Explosives:		19		19 + 16 = 35
Guns:			100		84 + 16 = 100
Lockpick:		80		64 + 16 = 80
Medicine:		27		27 + 16 = 43
Melee Weapons:		17		17 + 16 = 33
Repair:			75		59 + 16 = 75
Science:		80		60 + 20	= 80
Sneak:			50		54 + 16 = 70
Speech:			80		64 + 16 = 80
Survival:		27		27 + 16 = 43
Unarmed:		25		25 + 16	= 41		
		      ------	       ---------------	
Total			602             578
Skill Points Remaining:	118             220

With the inclusion of the skill books and further play-testing, I can
offer a more powerful 'general' build. Although it might accurately be
called a general 'Guns' build, that's more because of the fact that
Guns are just the strongest and most versatile weapons out there. If
you feel otherwise.. well, that's fine, but multiple plays with
different builds really points to Guns. That's not the say that's all
this build can do.. there are more than enough skill points left over
to focus on any other secondary weapon skill.. granted, you might not
have the perks to make Melee Weapons and Unarmed too useful and get
all out of Guns that you want, but you can certainly splurge on role-
play related perks (like Black Widow/Lady Killer), or focus on a 
niche of weapons and get the Cowboy perk to beef up the Brush Gun or
Ranger Sequoia, or heck, even grab the Laser Commander perk if you
really like lasers. As long as you keep Guns, however, you should be
able to survive any encounter with some ease, whether you like to
fight at close range with a revolver or shotgun, medium range with a
Brush Gun, or at long range with a Sniper Rifle. Most importantly,
this build has the skills available to do pretty much anything and
everything in the game. You'll be able to pick any lock, hack any
computer, and succeed at every Speech and Barter check in the game,
with plenty of points to spare.

"Guns"
If you really dedicate your builds to Guns, you might also want to 
consider getting yourself a Repair score high enough to make the Hand
Load ammo (90), and a Melee Weapons skill high enough for Cowboy (45).
On the other hand, if you want to be conservative with Guns you
really only need a Guns skill of 75 for a Sniper Rifle, and a Repair
skill of 70 for .308 JSP ammo.

"Unarmed"
With Unarmed you're obviously going to want to get up to 90 in 
Unarmed to get Slayer, but beyond that, there's nothing to prevent
you from playing hybrid. Use Guns to take out hordes of Deathclaws,
and use Unarmed to kill everything else. Note that the Unarmed
build is probably going to be less reliant on Sneak. Also keep in
mind that as a fisticuffs character you're going to want all the
Damage Threshold you can get, so keep an eye out for Power Armor.

"Energy Weapons"
If you played conservative with Guns, you can still be pretty damn
proficient at them while focusing on Energy Weapons. Energy Weapons
doesn't have too many great perks dedicated solely to it, but there
is nothing to stop you from relying on Energy Weapons in place of
Guns. However, I don't really think that the Gauss Rifle is worth its
requirements.. especially since a Sniper Rifle does a better job
anyways. The one saving grace of Energy Weapons is the unique Gauss
Rifle YCS/186, which has a lower strength requirement and deals 
downright stupid damage. At the short-to-mid range, however, nothing
stops you from going around with a Multiplas Rifle and decimating 
enemies, either.

o======================================================================o
|								       |
|			    Traits {TRT001}			       |
|								       |
o======================================================================o
Traits are back in Fallout: New Vegas after a brief absence in the last
Fallout title. They are essentially bonus perks that have both
positive and negative effects on your character. You may choose up to
two when you create your character, but you can choose to pick less if
you prefer.

Built to Destroy						{TRT002}
o======================================================================o
Req: --
Ranks: 1

The Flamer that burns twice as bright burns half as long. All weapons
have +3% chance to Critically Hit, but equipment condition decays 15%
faster.

Three percent critical rate doesn't sound that great at first, but it
is equal to three points of Luck, and over the course of the game you
will be scoring lots of hits.. On the other hand, 15% weapon 
degradation kind of sucks. Here's the rub, however. Early weapons will
be relatively plentiful, allowing you to just recombine them and fix
them at will. More expensive weapons, like the Riot Shotgun, Brush Gun,
Sniper Rifle, etc., could end up costing several thousand Caps to fix.. 
which is not a good thing. You can, however, create Weapon Repair Kits 
at a Workbench, allowing you to repair weapons for a handful of Caps 
using a variety of items that can be purchased from most any merchant. 
This will save you thousands of Caps, and makes the downside of this 
trait negligible.

Rating: ****

Fast Shot							{TRT003}
o======================================================================o
Req: --
Ranks: 1

While using Guns and Energy Weapons, you fire 20% more quickly but your
shots are 20% less accurate.

Accuracy and shooting speed are both important factors, and I canít see
myself happily sacrificing either. There are better traits out there.

Rating: **

Four Eyes							{TRT004}
o======================================================================o
Req: PER < 10
Ranks: 1

While wearing any type of glasses, you have +1 PER. Without glasses you
have -1 PER.

Glasses are plentiful and cheap.. but the fact that you can also just
wear a hat for the same bonus makes this trait less useful. Oh, and the
fact that Perception isn't terribly useful in this game. Also note that
this is an equipment bonus to your Perception-not a permanent one. For
leveling purposes your Perception is always considered one point LOWER,
glasses or not. So if you think you're going to be clever by picking
Four Eyes, just make sure you have enough base Perception to get all
the perks you want.

Rating: **

Good Natured							{TRT005}
o======================================================================o
Req: --
Ranks: 1

You're Good Natured at heart, more prone to solving problems with your
mind than violence. You gain +5 to Barter, Medicine, Repair, Science,
and Speech, but have -5 to Energy Weapons, Explosives, Guns, Melee 
Weapons, and Unarmed.

If you really want to play a pacifist, this is for you. Overall, it's
bonuses equal its penalties, but that's not the whole story. Think about
it. How many weapons will you use? Chances are, you're not going to get
more than one or two weapon skills.. three at most. On the other hand,
all the skills that gain bonuses are pretty good skills. If you went
with a solo-weapon build (Guns or Energy Weapons, for example), the -5
skill check on the one skill you'll spend points in is offset by the +5
bonuses you'll receive. It's worth considering, at least.

Rating: ***

Heavy Handed							{TRT006}
o======================================================================o
Req: --
Ranks: 1

Your melee and unarmed attacks do more damage, but less critical hit
damage.

If you want to use this trait.. well, you have to get Unarmed and 
Melee Weapons, which seems bad enough to me. You also have to choose
between damage per hit, and critical hit damage. It seems pretty simple
to me that you're going to score more normal hits than critical hits,
so that's probably not a bad option. However, if you then go ahead and
get Finesse, Better Criticals, and Ninja, you're just gimping yourself.

Rating: **

Kamikaze							{TRT007}
o======================================================================o
Req: --
Ranks: 1

In the grand scheme of things, two points of Damage Threshold isn't a
huge deal. With Power Armor and Toughness you'll easily gloss over this
deficiency. On the surface it might seem like it's saying you're taking
two more points of damage per hit.. but if your Damage Threshold is
still higher than the enemies' damage with Kamikaze slowing you down,
you're really not suffering at all. That said, many enemies like 
Cazadors and Deathclaws will easily surpass your Damage Threshold. At
the end of the day the two-point penalty is fairly unnoticeable later on
in the game, but the ten point bonus to your Action Points boosts a
VATS system that is nowhere near as strong as it was in Fallout 3.

Rating: ***

Loose Cannon							{TRT008}
o======================================================================o
Req: --
Ranks: 1

From Frag Grenades to Throwing Spears, you can throw weapons 30% faster
at the cost of 25% less range.

What do Frag Grenades and Throwing Spears have in common? They're not
decisively powerful. This trait allows you to waste more of them, while
sacrificing range. Granted, you'll still lob thrown weapons pretty far,
but this whole trait just stinks of who-gives-a-crap.

Rating: *

Small Frame							{TRT009}
o======================================================================o
Req: AGL < 10
Ranks: 1

Due to your small size, you have +1 AGL but your limbs are more easily
crippled.

First letís look at the bonus. Agility is a fairly useful attribute,
governing two skills and influencing your Action Points, draw speed,
and reload speed. And what is the downside? More frequently crippled
limbs? If you're not playing in Hardcore mode, this is a no-brainer.
Who cares about crippled limbs? Beds and Stimpaks are plentiful. If
you're playing in Hardcore mode.. who cares about crippled limbs? You
can buy Doctor's Bags at every doctor in the game. It seems like a
small price to pay for a better SPECIAL stat.

Rating: *****

Trigger Discipline						{TRT010}
o======================================================================o
Req: --
Ranks: 1

While using Guns and Energy Weapons, you fire 20% more slowly but are
20% more accurate.

Accuracy and shooting speed are both important factors, and I canít see
myself happily sacrificing either. There are better traits out there.

Rating: **

Wild Wasteland							{TRT011}
o======================================================================o
Req: --
Ranks: 1

Wild Wasteland unleashes the most bizarre and silly elements of post-
apocalyptic America. Not for the faint of heart or the serious of 
temperament.

Seriously. What good fallout game doesn't have abundant references to
Monty Python and alien encounters? This perk might not do anything for
your build, but it should read "Remember the old Fallout games? Pick
this trait to make New Vegas more like them." Nostalgia makes this an
interesting choice, indeed.

Rating: ***

o======================================================================o
|								       |
|				Perks {PRK001}			       |
|								       |
o======================================================================o
In Fallout: New Vegas you gain a perk every even level (starting at 
level 2). Perks are separated by their level prerequisite, with every 
even level opening up more perks. Prerequisites for perks may also 
include S.P.E.C.I.A.L attributes or skill points. (For example, the 
Entomologist perk requires that you be level 4, have Intelligence 4, and 
Survival 45.) Since there are fewer perks you can pick in New Vegas,
you should probably be more conscious of what Perks you pick. I have
retained my rating system from the old FAQ for this one, although there
are less useless perks in New Vegas (getting rid of all the skill
perks will do that). Your perk choices should follow your build, and
should help you specialize in certain areas depending on your skills.
I will note where the rating of a perk varies from normal mode to 
Hardcore mode.

Note that some perks are also rated by availability.. for example, 
Lady Killer isn't a very good perk. But the fact that it's one of the
very few perks that actually do anything worth mentioning at level 2,
it is rated a bit higher than it otherwise would be. And yes, if the
same values applied to perks in Fallout 3 that apply to them in New
Vegas, I copied the description right from my old FAQ. Some perks,
like Night Person, are just as horrible and for the same reasons, 
there's really no need for me to restate the information arbitrarily.

*	Horrible	Nobody should pick this perk.
**	Bad		Generally this is a low-end perk. Sometimes
			they provide just enough of a benefit specific
			to a character to be worth it, but most
			characters will not find this perk useful.
***	Average		This perk is good simply because of the
			lack of competition, or there is a good, but
			not overwhelmingly good reason to pick it. It
			might look good on its own merit, but compared
			to truly great perks, it doesn't measure up.
****	Good		A good perk for anybody to pick, or a perk
			that is absolutely essential to a specific
			build.
*****	Great		A perk everybody should get. Period.


Level 2 Perks 							{PRK002}
o======================================================================o
Black Widow/Cherchez La Femme/Lady Killer
Req: Level 2
Ranks: 1

In combat you do +10% damage against male/female opponents. Outside of
combat, you'll sometimes have access to unique dialogue options when
dealing with the opposite sex.

You wonít use this perk much in dialogue.. it just doesn't have all that
many uses. And what few it has, you can get the same results from other
methods. Still, the +10% damage to the opposite gender is.. well,
something, which is more than can be said for the other level 2 perks.
Note that only 'human' enemies have a gender. This does not include 
Feral Ghouls, Animals, Insects, Robots, or Abominations. Since most of
the affected enemies are either NCR Troopers, Caesar's Legion Soldiers,
Raiders, or Gang Members, it should be noted that there is a clear
plurality of male-gender enemies that will be affected by this.

Rating: ** (vs. females) 
Rating: *** (vs. males)
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Friend of the Night
Req: Level 2, Perception 6, Sneak 30
Ranks: 1

You are a true friend of the night. Your eyes adapt quickly to low-
light conditions indoors and when darkness falls across the wasteland.

First, you can use Cateye to duplicate this effect. Second, you have a
Pip-Boy light. Third, it never gets too dark to really need night 
vision, three, you have allies that can illuminate enemies for you. 
Useless perk.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Heave, Ho!
Req: Level 2, Explosives 30, Strength 5
Ranks: 1

Quite an arm you've got there. All thrown weapons fly farther and
faster for you.

Or you could just use a Grenade Gun or Missile Launcher. Seriously.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Hunter
Req: Level 2, Survival 30
Ranks: 1

In combat, you do +75% Critical Damage against animals and mutated
animals.

Note that this category doesn't include Ghouls, Insects, or 
Abominations. But if Big Hornerís and Geckos are kicking your ass.. well,
quit playing. Once you get decent guns you'll pop off Golden Geckos
before they get anywhere near you, +75% critical damage or not.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Intense Training
Req: Level 2
Ranks: 10

With the Intense Training perk, you can put a single point into any of
your S.P.E.C.I.A.L attributes.

Beyond equipment and Implants, this is the only way to raise an
attribute, and it is arguably a worthy choice for a level 2 perk. If 
you don't care for a gender-perk, get this instead.

Rating: ***
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Rapid Reload
Req: Level 2, Guns 30, Agility 5
Ranks: 1

Rapid Reload makes all of your weapon reloads 25% faster than normal.

This.. well, it's mostly junk, but weapon reloads can be a problem.
The faster you reload, the faster you're firing, and it might be a
consideration if your Agility is a flat 5. If you have a higher Agility,
like, say you were actually following my build advice, you'll reload
fast enough.

Rating: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Retention
Req: Level 2, Intelligence 5
Ranks: 1

With the Retention perk, the bonuses granted by skill magazines last
three times as long.

As far as I'm concerned, skill magazines are meant to be used in order
to pick a lock, hack a computer, or succeed at a skill check. This can
typically be done just before interacting with the object or character
that requires the check. There is absolutely no reason to require your
skill magazines to last three times longer. They weigh nothing, and they
are pretty cheap to buy, too. You don't need this perk.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Swift Learner
Req: Level 2, Intelligence 4
Ranks: 3

With each rank in the Swift Learner perk, you gain an additional 10% to
total Experience Points whenever Experience Points are earned.

In New Vegas there are tons of quests, and many enemies give 50 XP,
which was reasonably rare in Fallout 3. Add in the challenges, which
give you bundles of experience, and you'll find that you're leveling up
even faster in New Vegas than you were in Fallout 3! You don't need to
speed up the process and in so doing waste one of your precious perks.

Rating: *

Level 4 Perks 							{PRK003}
o======================================================================o
Cannibal
Req: Level 4
Ranks: 1

With the Cannibal perk, when you're in Sneak mode, you gain the option
to eat a corpse to regain Health. But every time you feed, you lose
Karma, and if the act is witnessed, it is considered a crime against
nature.

If you want to be truly despicable, you can go ahead and get this
perk. I would deride this perk more.. but in Hardcore mode it just 
might come in handy. You'll apparently heal points of [FOD] for every 
corpse you eat.. which isn't much, but if you kill a batch of Viper 
Gang Members, you can get a good bit of.. you know what, this perk 
still sucks, even in Hardcore mode.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Comprehension
Req: Level 4, Intelligence 4
Ranks: 1

With the Comprehension perk, you gain double the bonus from reading
magazines and one additional skill point  whenever a skill book is read.

I was hesitant about this perk at first, and put it off for a long time
on my first character. With skill books giving three points per book,
Comprehension's one point increase wasn't as outstanding as it was in
Fallout 3. Later into the game, when I had found perhaps a dozen books,
I decided that Comprehension was indeed worthy of selection. But more
than just the skill points from books.. the magazine bonus is what
really makes this perk worthwhile. Very Hard terminals and locks are
fairly rare in this game.. rare enough that you can just keep a
magazine on hand for when you really need to pop a lock, or pass a
Speech check. With the Comprehension perk, you only need to be within
twenty points of 100 to pass such rare checks. This led me to the
conclusion that checked skills like Barter, Speech, Lockpick, and
Science could just be left at 80. Most of their benefit is there all
the time, but when you REALLY need more than 80 to pass a check, you
can just pop open a magazine. This effectively saves you scores of 
skill points that you can put into skills that need to be high all the
time.. like Sneak, or Guns. Oh, and since there are-as far as I have
seen-four of each type of book (except Big Book of Science, of which
there are five) this perk also effectively can give you 53 extra skill
point.. one more per book. Provided you bother to find all the books,
that is.

Rating: *****
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Educated
Req: Level 4, Intelligence 4
Ranks: 1

With the Educated perk, you gain two more skill points every time you 
advance in level. This perk is best taken early on, to maximize its
effectiveness.

Sure, it's not as good as it was in the last game, but now that there
are less skill points to go around, it actually becomes more important.
I look at it this way. If you get it at level four, you will have 26
levels to reap the benefits. That's 52 skill points.. enough to bring
up a single skill. That's one more thing your character can do well,
whether it's Barter, Energy Weapons, Guns, Explosives, Lockpick,
Science, Sneak, Repair, or what have you. I don't know about you, but I
like my character being able to do things.

Rating: *****
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Entomologist
Req: Level 4, Survival 45, Intelligence 4
Ranks: 1

With the Entomologist perk, you do an extra 50% damage every time you
attack a mutated insect, like the Radroach, Giant Mantis, or 
Radscorpian.

Giant Radscorpians suck in this game, but not enough that I can really
suggest picking this perk. Later on you'll have weapons that can handle
their Damage Threshold, and they're just never become the same level of
threat that Deathclaws become, although the extra damage against 
Cazadors is somewhat welcome. It doesn't come high on my list of
potential perks, but if you're just getting wasted by bugs later in the
game.. and you have good weapons and armor, maybe it's worth a look.

Rating: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Rad Child
Req: Level 4, Survival 70
Ranks: 1

You truly are a rad child. As you go through the increasingly 
devastating stages of radiation sickness, you will regenerate more and
more health.

Yeah, there's an Implant for that now, and frankly, it's better to
avoid becoming heavily irradiated.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Run 'n Gun
Req: Level 4, Guns 45 OR Energy Weapons 45
Ranks: 1

The Run 'n Gun perk reduces accuracy penalties with one-handed Guns and
Energy Weapons while walking or running.

Letís think about this critically, shall we? Most one-handed guns aren't
very strong, at least not against armor, and certainly not compared to
rifle-grip guns. And there's another way we can negate this penalty..
by stopping and aiming. Yeah, that defeats the purpose of the whole
thing, but if you are running around shooting wildly at an enemy with a
one-handed gun, then there's something you did wrong at some point in
the encounter.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Travel Light
Req: Level 4, Survival 45
Ranks: 1

While wearing light armor or no armor, you run 10% faster.

Light armor or 'no armor' is not very good armor, and 10% isn't a huge
speed boost. I gotta say, even for Hardcore mode folks, I wouldn't
pick this perk.

Rating: *

Level 6 Perks 							{PRK004}
o======================================================================o
Bloody Mess
Req: Level 6
Ranks: 1

With the Bloody Mess perk, characters and creatures you kill will often 
explode into a red, gut-ridden, eyeball-strewn paste. Fun! Oh, and
you'll do 5% extra damage with all weapons.

Okay, the aesthetics are cool, but that's no reason to get a perk. 5%
damage against everything is nice, though. Considering the fact that
other damage increasing perks only affect certain weapon types, or
certain enemies, a pure, honest, damage boost is special. There's also
the nostalgia factor, for us old school Fallout players.

Rating: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Demolition Expert
Req: Level 6, Explosives 50
Ranks: 3

With each rank of this perk, all of your explosive weapons do an
additional 20% damage.

Guess what? This perk isn't so useless anymore. Explosives now 
encompasses all the weapon types it originally should have, and 20% is a
huge damage bonus, that goes a long way. Make your Explosives even more
spectacular or.. if I may.. get more bang for your buck with the
Demolition Expert perk. That said, if you don't consider Explosives a
big part of your build, you shouldn't consider this perk a priority.

Rating: ***
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Ferocious Loyalty
Req: Level 6, Charisma 6
Ranks: 1

The power of your personality inspires die-hard loyalty from your 
followers. When you drop below 50% Health, your companions temporarily
gain much greater resistance to damage.

Three problems with this, well, four, really. First, you have to rely
on your companions to make the most of this perk. Second, if you drop
below 50% of your health, the enemies are clearly attacking you, and
not your companions. Third, it's a duration effect, so you can't even
strategically keep your health below 50% so your allies reap the
benefits. Fourth, it requires six points of Charisma, which is just
about a waste of five S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points, as far as I'm concerned.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Fortune Finder
Req: Level 6, Luck 5
Ranks: 1

With the Fortune Finder perk, you'll find considerably more Nuka-Cola
caps in containers than you normally would.

More caps. Yay. You'll get plenty of caps killing things and selling
their loot.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Gunslinger
Req: Level 6
Ranks: 1

While using a pistol (or similar one-handed weapon), your accuracy in
V.A.T.S. is significantly increased.

If you plan to use one-handed ranged weapons-and V.A.T.S.-you should
definitely pick up this perk. Now that V.A.T.S. is less useful and
perks are more precious, I just can't bring myself to buy this perk.

Rating: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Hand Loader
Req: Level 6, Repair 70
Ranks: 1

You know your way around a reloading bench and don't let good brass and
hulls go to waste. When you use guns you are more likely to recover
cases and hulls. You also have all hand load recipes unlocked at the
Reloading Bench.

Okay, I can admit when I was wrong.. grudgingly. This perk allows you to
recover ammo cases in hulls, which in and of itself isn't worth much. It
does, however, unlock all the ammo recipes for guns, which includes the
hand load ammo recipes. These, in turn, do wonderful things, typically
giving a damage boost as well as altering the ammo in some other
wonderful way. For instance, the 50mg rounds you can build with this
perk deal x1.2 damage and increase spread. Now, if you buy plenty of 
ammo and break it down, and convert it to the better, hand load ammo
recipes you'll reap the benefits. It sounds like a lot of work, and you
tend to take a loss on the ammo in the process (breaking down 100 rounds
of ammo will not allow you to rebuild 100 rounds of ammo), but how can
you really argue with a damage bonus on EVERY shot? If you specialize
with Guns, you can't. Note that to actually make some of the ammo this
perk gives you access to, you may need a significantly higher Repair
score. For example, .45-70 Gov't, SWC Hand Load ammo requires a Repair
score of 90, and .50MG, Match Hand Load ammo requires a whopping 100
Repair score. Getting up to 75 and using magazines and wearing a Utility
Jumpsuit comes highly recommended, in this case. Also note that most
Guns don't have Hand Load ammo recipes.. and some of the few that do
aren't really worth making. You're really looking at three types of ammo
when it comes to the Hand Load recipes; .308 rounds, 50mg rounds, and
45-50 Gov't rounds, all of which have excellent Hand Load recipes.
Fortunately, they are the ammo used by pretty much all the good Guns in
the game.

Rating: ****
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Lead Belly
Req: Level 6, Survival 40 OR Endurance 5
Ranks: 1

With the Lead Belly perk, you take 50% less radiation every time you
drink from an irradiated water source.

*Sigh* Okay, if you're not playing Hardcore mode, this perk is safely
useless. If you are playing Hardcore mode.. there has to be a better
way to reach water, right? I mean, you can create quantities of 
Purified Water? Heck, there are plenty of perfectly clean water sources
sitting out in the wastes just waiting to be discovered. Still, I can
admit that there might be the need to do this once in a while.. but
even so, you can surely get to a doctor before you die of radiation
poisoning and just pay the 100 damn caps. In fact, it's cheaper to
drink irradiated water and just pay a doctor to fix you than it is
to buy purified water! You'll never need this perk, Hardcore mode or
not.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Shotgun Surgeon
Req: Level 6, Guns 45
Ranks: 1

Your precision with a scattergun is something to behold. When using
shotguns, regardless of ammunition used, you ignore an additional 10
points of a target's Damage Threshold.

If you use Shotguns, you need this perk, period. Shotguns function
something like automatic weapons, firing numerous, low-damage shots
at a time. This makes the Damage Threshold reduction absolutely
crucial for Shotguns, and the fact that SMGs and Assault Rifles 
don't have a perk like this really argues for the supremacy of the
Shotgun. Combine this with Slugs, and you've got a good combination.
I've managed to kill a Deathclaw in three shots with this perk and a
Riot Shotgun, which is a pretty nice feat. That said, you can probably
just use a Brush Rifle or an Anti-Material Rifle, which, although they
don't have any perks designed for them, do enough damage to negate an
enemies Damage Threshold anyways.

Rating: ****
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
The Professional
Req: Level 6, Sneak 70
Ranks: 1

Up close and personal, that's how you like it. Your Sneak Attack 
Criticals with pistols, revolvers, and submachine guns, whether Guns or
Energy Weapons, all inflict an additional 20% damage.

The high Sneak requirement on this is somewhat accounted for by the fact
that you'd need a decent Sneak to get within range for these weapons. I
have to be honest, this isn't a great perk. It's a 20% damage bonus that
only applies to sneak attack criticals, and only to a variety of guns
that aren't really suited for sniping (or for doling out huge amounts of
damage, in any event). Surely perks like Finesse and Better Criticals
put this to shame.

Rating: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Toughness
Req: Level 6, Endurance 5
Ranks: 2

With the Toughness perk, you gain +3 to overall Damage Threshold. This
perk may be taken twice, with the second rank granting an additional +3.

Here's how Damage Threshold works. If an enemies weapon can't overcome
your Damage Threshold, you only take a small fraction of that weapons'
damage. Many enemies use fairly typical weapons and thus do fairly low
damage. A suit of Power Armor (typically granting you 20 some Damage
Threshold) is about the best you can shoot for. With two of these perks,
the Implant, and Remnant Power Armor and Helmet, you can aspire to the
upper 30's. Many enemies, however, will do much more damage than this.
A Deathclaw, Cazador, Giant Radscorpian, or an enemy with a high-end
gun will still do plenty of damage to you, regardless of your Damage
Threshold. This perk will help you mitigate a bit of damage from 
every attack, but three points off a 50 damage attack is less impressive
than Fallout 3's base 10% damage resistance.

Rating: ***
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Vigilant Recycler
Req: Level 6, Science 70
Ranks: 1

Waste not, want not. When you use Energy Weapons, you are more likely to
recover drained ammunition. You also have more efficient recycling
recipes available at the Workbench.

Just like the Hand Loader perk, but for Energy Weapons. Eh. There's a
quest you can do which will net you a good bit of free Energy Weapon
ammunition that respawns over time. Also, there are fewer types of
Energy Weapon ammunition, and less need to convert such ammo. I don't
suggest picking this perk, even if you love Energy Weapons. You can
create Maximum Charge ammo just fine without this perk, which makes me
why bother with this perk? If you're an adamantly die-hard Energy
Weapons user, perhaps, but this perk mostly just saves you money.. if
that's your goal, why not pick Jury Rigging instead?

Rating: *
Rating: *** (Energy Weapon nuts)

Level 8 Perks 							{PRK005}
o======================================================================o
Commando
Req: Level 8
Ranks: 1

While using a rifle (or similar one-handed weapon), your accuracy in
V.A.T.S. is significantly increased.

V.A.T.S. might not be the prime-and-only combat solution in this game, 
in fact, as often as it's a godsend it's a liability, but it does have
its uses. In New Vegas, rifle-grip guns are by far the dominant branch
of weapons. One-handed weapons typically lose the damage battle by a
wide margin. While this was excusable to some extent in Fallout 3, you
really need that damage this time around, and no, being able to run
faster with a one-handed gun doesn't make up for their lack of power
(especially not with the Agility this build calls for.) The bottom line,
V.A.T.S. may not be king, but it has its uses, and if you use V.A.T.S.,
and use two-handed weapons, this perk is calling to you. It's better 
than Gunslinger, in any event.

Rating: ***
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Cowboy
Req: Level 8, Guns 45, Melee Weapons 45
Ranks: 1

You do 25% more damage when using any revolver, lever-action firearm,
dynamite, knife, or hatchet.

Promising on paper, as 25% is a big chunk of damage, there's just one
catch. Most of the weapons this applies to are rather weak, with the
exception of the Brush Gun and Ranger Sequoia. The Brush Gun is good at 
short to mid range combat, and is easily a better choice for close 
encounters than the AM Rifle or Sniper Rifle. If you've got a good 
handle on sniping (especially when it comes to the stronger enemies, 
like Deathclaws), you may not even give this perk a second glance. On 
the other hand, the Brush Gun has some excellent utility it when comes 
to slaying Cazadors, or swarms of moderately powerful enemies (many 
human enemies come to mind). In fact, if something isn't far enough away
to bother shooting at with a Sniper Rifle, you might as well be using
a Brush Gun, and this gives a hefty 25% damage bonus to that weapon, 
making it a useful-although not vital-addition to any Guns build.

Rating: ***
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Living Anatomy
Req: Level 8, Medicine 70
Ranks: 1

Living Anatomy allows you to see the Health and Damage Threshold of any
target. It also gives you a +5% bonus to damage against Humans and non-
Feral Ghouls.

Ah, another pre-Fallout 3 perk that makes its return in New Vegas. First
lets discuss the damage. 5% isn't much, and the fact that it applies only
to humans and non-feral Ghouls means you can safely ignore it, as it's
only as effective as, say, Black Widow. On the other hand, being able to
see an enemies Health and, more importantly, their Damage Threshold is a
huge advantage, especially on your first playthrough. When you see a
that a Super Mutant Master has a 20 Damage Threshold, or a Giant 
Radscorpian has a 36, you begin to understand why your Cowboy Repeater
wasn't hurting it. Once you've played the game a bit, however, you start
to understand this intuitively, especially after playing with this perk.
Anybody knows that a Deathclaw is going to have a high Damage Threshold,
and even without knowing the exact number of hit points, you can always
see an enemies health bar in V.A.T.S. For veteran players, this perk 
becomes much less useful, although anomalies exist, and once you have 
played the game more you'll realize that getting a bigger, stronger gun
is always the answer.

Rating: ***
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Pack Rat
Req: Level 8, Intelligence 5, Barter 70
Ranks: 1

You have learned the value of careful packing. Items with a weight of 2
or less weigh half as much for you.

At first this perk almost seems silly, and it does have some flaws. For
one, if you're not playing in Hardcore mode, it's a complete waste of a
perk. If you are playing in Hardcore mode, however, it still requires 
what can be a brutal and potentially wasteful amount of points in 
Barter. On the other hand, anything that weighs less than a pound will
weigh, well, half as much. This comes with an important implication for
Hardcore mode players; most of your vital food, ammo, and crafting
components will weigh half as much, allowing you to stock up and carry
around twice as many, which is worth its weight in gold. Worth more,
really, gold isn't very good for drinking. Right Crassus? With this
benefit you have to weigh it against the Strong Back perk.. if you're
not going to carry more than fifty pounds of supplies, you might as 
well get that perk instead. Also if you have some allies, you can just
load them up full of gear. So, this perk does have its issues, but if
you just want to be sure you are carrying as much gear as possible..

Rating: *
Rating: *** (Hardcore Mode)
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Quick Draw
Req: Level 8, Agility 5
Ranks: 1

Quick Draw makes all of your weapon equipping and holstering 50% faster.

With the base of five Agility this perk calls for.. maybe.. but with
anything higher you're going to be doing just fine on your own. And,
since this game allows you to be the sniper more successfully and from
a safer distance, chances are you'll have your gun out before the enemy
anyways. Don't waste your perk.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Rad Resistance
Req: Level 8, Survival 40, Endurance 5
Ranks: 1

Rad Resistance allows you to -- what else? -- resist radiation. This
perk grants an additional 25% to Radiation Resistance.

25% is a fairly large amount of radiation resistance, but there are
plenty of environmental suits in the game, and of course.. Rad-X. You can
take a perk to permanently gain resistance, or take a pill to get the
resistance when you need it. Even if you get irradiated, it only costs 
100 Caps or some RadAway to fix you up. If you're the Hardcore mode
survival type, just wait for Rad Absorption.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Scrounger
Req: Level 8, Luck 5
Ranks: 1

With the Scrounger perk, you'll find considerably more ammunition in
containers than you normally would.

Buy your ammo, instead. Problem solved.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Stonewall
Req: Level 8, Endurance 6, Strength 6
Ranks: 1

You gain +5 Damage Threshold against all Melee Weapons and Unarmed 
attacks and cannot be knocked down in combat.

Sure, +5 isn't a big deal when it applies to only melee attacks.. but
honestly most of the enemies that will blast through your Damage 
Threshold are things like Cazadors, Deathclaws, Radscorpians, and to
some extent Nightstalkers and Geckos, all of which use.. you guessed it.
On the other hand, five damage probably won't slow most of them down
much (especially the poisonous ones), and I've yet to be knocked down
in combat.. save from an explosive.

Rating: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Strong Back
Req: Strength 5, Endurance 5
Ranks: 1

With the Strong Back perk, you can carry 50 more pounds of equipment.

It was in my build for Fallout 3, but with half the perks there's no way
this one is getting back in. Sure, carrying extra stuff is nice (perhaps
even vital, in Hardcore mode), but otherwise it's not a big deal. If you
are playing Hardcore mode and having the ammo-weight blues, give this
and Pack Rat some consideration. 50 pounds of equipment can go a long
way.

Rating: *
Rating: ** (Hardcore Mode)
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Super Slam
Req: Level 8, Strength 6, Melee Weapons 45
Ranks: 1

All Melee Weapons (except thrown) and Unarmed attacks have a chance of
knocking your target down.

This is pretty simple, knocking enemies down will buy you some breathing
room and allow you to score more hits.. and the biggest issue of melee
in New Vegas is easily the fact that enemies can retaliate more 
successfully (especially compared to a sniper-build). If you are making
an Unarmed, or especially a Melee Weapons build, you should consider
this perk.

Rating: ***
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Terrifying Presence
Req: Level 8, Speech 70
Ranks: 1

In some conversations, you gain the ability to initiate combat while
terrifying a mob of opponents, sending them fleeing for safety.

Seriously? Do I even have to discuss this one? Ah, I guess there are..
uh.. some second generation mutants out there who might not understand
when suck rears its ugly head. Okay, how often will this help you 
against Cazadors, Super Mutants, and Deathclaws? What's that? Never?
Okay then. You don't need to scare off NPCs, they tend to be weak
enough.

Rating: *

Level 10 Perks 							{PRK006}
o======================================================================o
Animal Friend
Req: Level 10, Charisma 6, Survival 45
Ranks 2

At the first rank of this perk, animals simply won't attack. At the
second rank, they will eventually come to your aid in combat, but never
against another animal.

This perk was useless in Fallout 3, and it's useless in New Vegas.
There is simply no animal that is dangerous enough to need sanctuary
from it, much less aid.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Finesse
Req: Level 10
Ranks: 1

With the Finesse perk you have a higher chance to score a critical hit
on an opponent in combat, equivalent to 5 extra points of Luck.

An extra 5% chance to critically hit sure fits into my game plan. 
Actually, I can't imagine anybody not having a use for an extra 5%
chance to critical. I'd rather take a sure damage increase any day, but
this is still a good perk. Think of it this way, taking Strong Back is
good because it gives you the best part of having five points of
Strength. Finesse does pretty much the same thing, but with Luck, a far
superior attribute. Again, if you get perks like Better Criticals, this
perk becomes that much more useful.

Rating: *****
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Here and Now
Req: Level 10
Ranks: 1

The Here and Now perk immediately grants an additional experience level,
complete with all the advantages that brings.

Or you could just level up like normal. If you're like me, you hit level
30 well before you finished the game. This is a waste of a perk.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Math Wrath
Req: Level 10, Science 70
Ranks: 1

You are able to optimize your Pip-Boy's V.A.T.S. logic, reducing all AP
costs by 10%

In Fallout 3 this would have been a killer perk. In New Vegas, V.A.T.S.
is less important. In any event, using more V.A.T.S. at once is risky.
I would shoot for perks that replenish or regenerate your AP, rather
than perks that reduce AP costs or raise your AP total. Sure, using
VATS in short bursts works just as well (for example, taking two or
three shots instead of five or six) but with more powerful, Damage
Threshold defeating weapons, you wonít' get many shots off at once
anyways. Also, think about this. Most characters will have around 100
AP. In fact, the only way you'll get much more is by picking perks like
Action Boy/Girl or the Kamikaze trait. TO that end, having -10% AP costs
from 100 AP is like having 10 more AP.. which is patently inferior to
the Action Boy/Girl perk.

Rating: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Miss Fortune
Req: Level 10, Luck 6
Ranks: 1

Just when your enemies think they have the upper hand, Miss Fortune
appears to turn their world upside down. Appearing only in V.A.T.S., she
has the ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Two things about this, and it applies to Mysterious Stranger; the only
'luck' I want to rely on in this game is critical hits. And the fact that
this perk only works in V.A.T.S., and then, unpredictably at that, makes
me pass on it for something more certain.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Mister Sandman
Req: Level 10, Sneak 60%
Ranks: 1

With the Mister Sandman perk, when you're in Sneak mode, you gain the
option to silently kill any human or Ghoul while they're sleeping. And,
all Mister Sandman kills earn bonus XP.

First, if they're sleeping, you can probably just shoot them from a 
distance anyways. Second, when enemies are sleeping, they seem to have 
a greater ability to detect you. Hell, half the time I get detected it's
by sleeping characters. Third, most enemies you'll want to kill wonít be
caught sleeping, so this is mostly useful for assassinating NPCs. And
finally-how much XP are you really going to be getting from this in the
long run? Don't waste your perks.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Mysterious Stranger
Req: Level 10, Luck 6
Ranks: 1

You've gained your own personal guardian angel... armed with a fully
loaded .44 Magnum. With this perk, the Mysterious Stranger will appear
occasionally in V.A.T.S. mode to lend a hand, with deadly efficiency.

For the same reason that I won't use Miss Fortune, I won't use 
Mysterious Stranger. Sure, the extra damage in V.A.T.S. might be nice,
but it can be done other, more reliable ways.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Nerd Rage!
Req: Level 10, Science 50, Intelligence 5
Ranks: 1

You've been pushed around long enough! With the Nerd Rage! perk, your
Strength is raised to 10 and you gain +15 Damage Threshold whenever
your Health drops to 20% or below.

I've actually used this perk before in New Vegas.. more for novelties'
sake than for any good reason. It was fun to mess around with a 
character who stuck to mid-strength weapons, but once they got injured
whipped out a Minigun. It wasn't horribly effective, mind you, just
amusing for a spell. +15 Damage Threshold is pretty nice, but falling
under 20% of your health is cutting it awful close.. I wouldn't bother
with this perk.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Night Person
Req: Level 10
Ranks: 1

When the sun is down, a Night Person gains +2 to both Intelligence and
Perception (up to a maximum of 10). This perk directly affects your
"internal clock" and remains active both inside and outside.

The best part of this perk is the skill bonuses you'd receive from the
stat increases. If you get the extra skill points from the Intelligence
when you level up at night.. maybe. But still, having a bonus half of
the time.. eh. I mean, it's not like it adds to your combat abilities,
it lets you see threats further (at night) and gives you some extra
skill points. There's better out there.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Plasma Spaz
Req: Level 10, Energy Weapons 70

You're just so excited about plasma that you can't (magnetically)
contain yourself! The AP costs for all plasma weapons (including Plasma
Grenades) are reduced by 10%.

You remember Math Wrath? Yeah, it worked for all weapons, and still 
wasn't that good. How is a perk that only works for plasma weapons
going to fare? Not so well.

Rating: *

Level 12 Perks 							{PRK007}
o======================================================================o
Fast Metabolism
Req: Level 12
Ranks: 1

With the Fast Metabolism perk, you gain a 20% Health bonus when using
Stimpaks.

Stimpaks are cheap enough to buy, you don't need this perk. If it
increased the healing and other drug benefits, (perhaps H20 recovery),
then it might be good for Hardcore players, but as it stands, it
sucks. Heh.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Ghastly Scavenger
Req: Level 12, Cannibal
Ranks: 1

With Ghastly Scavenger, when you're in Sneak mode, you gain the option
to eat a Super Mutant or Feral Ghoul corpse to regain Health. Every time
you feed, you lose Karma, and if the act is witnessed, it is considered
a crime against nature.

Much like the Cannibal perk, this perk is only remotely useful if you're
playing in Hardcore mode. Even then, this perk requires you to have
Cannibal-a perk with arguable value as it is-and only works on Super
Mutants and Feral Ghouls. Humans are more plentiful, and unless you're
just starving away on Black Mountain, Camp Searchlight, or Vault 34,
there's not really any widespread use for this perk.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Hit the Deck
Req: Level 12, Explosives 70
Ranks: 1

Your extensive familiarity with Explosives allows you to ignore a
portion of their damage. Your Damage Threshold is increased by 50% 
against any and all Explosives--even your own.

I don't suppose this applies to the explosive corona caused by the
Meltdown perk? Ah well. I can actually see this perk having its uses,
albeit dependent upon your love of Explosives and your base Damage
Threshold. If you use nothing but Explosives, and wear enough armor to
give you.. about 30 Damage Threshold, then the frequency of friendly
fire and the Damage Threshold bonus may well be worth the perk. If not,
you can ignore this perk.

Rating: ***
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Life Giver
Req: Level 12, Endurance 6
Ranks: 1

With the Life Giver perk, you gain an additional 30 Hit Points.

Considering that you gain 20 hit points for a point of Endurance, this
perk is pretty much on the same level as an Intensive Training perk
spent on Endurance-minus the bonuses to resistances and the skills, and
the ability to grab another Implant. The fact that Implants call for us
to have such a high starting Endurance makes 30 extra hit points
dispensable, and although it's nice, I can't see it fitting into most
builds.

Rating: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Long Haul
Req: Level 12, Barter 70, Endurance 6
Ranks: 1

You have learned how to pack mountains of gear for the Long Haul. Being
over-encumbered no longer prevents you from using Fast Travel.

Sure, you might think this is nifty. After all, how wonderful would it
be to just grab up all the loot you can carry and fast travel back to
town? What about the implications for Hardcore mode? Hogwash. Crawling
around scavenging the last few items in a room or on some corpses and
then having to inch your way outside to fast travel is not a time 
saver. Just drop the excess and come back. Or store it on a companion.
This is an illusory time saver, and unless you stored an ungodly amount
of loot in a container, picked it all up, and then waddled outside to
fast travel, you wouldn't be doing anything. This isn't a good perk,
it's just procrastination disguised as convenience.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Piercing Strike
Req: Level 12, Unarmed 70
Ranks: 1

Piercing Strike makes all of your Unarmed and Melee Weapons (including
thrown) negate 15 points of Damage Threshold on the target.

Ignoring 15 points of Damage Threshold is huge, even ridiculous,
especially considering that many Unarmed and Melee Weapons already do
good damage. Combine this with the Purifier perk and you will be able
to deal with Deathclaws and Super Mutants as well as any weapon-bearing
character in the game. Frankly, however, against those enemies I'd 
rather keep my distance. If you go melee, however, you're going to want
this perk.

Rating: ****
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Pyromaniac
Req: Level 12, Explosives 60
Ranks: 1

With the Pyromaniac perk, you do +50% damage with fire-based weapons,
like the Flamer and Shishkebab.

This is a huge damage boost that effects a small variety of weapons.
Still, the Heavy Incinerator can be fun. If you use Energy Weapons, and
really have the desire to use a fire-based weapon.. well, you might as
well get this perk. If you don't fall into this narrow niche, ignore it.
This perk is especially useful for boosting the Shiskebab melee weapon.
With this perk it becomes a viable weapon for late game use.. well, as
much as any melee weapon becomes, anyways. It might not be as powerful
as the Super Sledge, but it is much faster. Or you could just go Unarmed
and use a Displacer Glove or something. Either way.

Rating: ***
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Robotics Expert
Req: Level 12, Science 50
Ranks: 1

With the Robotics perk, you do an additional 25% damage to any robot.
But, even better, sneaking up on a hostile robot undetected and
activating it will put that robot into a permanent shutdown state.

This is still as good of a perk in Fallout: New Vegas as it was in
Fallout 3, but with a few notes on the gameplay. First, it's much
harder to sneak to within melee range of enemies in New Vegas. Second,
there aren't nearly as many robots in the Mohave as there were in D.C.,
which makes this a less useful perk. Oh, also there's the Pulse Gun,
which pretty much wastes robots on its own.

Rating: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Silent Running
Req: Level 12, Agility 6, Sneak 50
Ranks: 1

With the Silent Running perk, running no longer factors into a 
successful sneak attempt.

Alright, letís be honest here. In order to Sneak effectively, you need
a fairly high Sneak score. However, in Fallout: New Vegas, you don't
need to get within most enemies' perception range to snipe them, making
Sneak less obligatory. However, if you want to sneak near an enemy,
much less sneak up to them, you're going to need to be quick about it,
as enemies wander around more regularly. To this end, you'll want
Silent Running. If all you want Sneak for is to get within the generous
sniping range, or to grab an item off a shelf, you probably don't need
this perk. If you want to get closer to enemies, or to sneak past them
at any decent speed, you need this perk.

Rating: ***
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Sniper
Req: Level 12, Perception 6, Agility 6
Ranks: 1

With the Sniper perk, your chance to hit an opponent's head in V.A.T.s.
is significantly increased.

If it has a head, you probably want to shoot it there for the bonus 
damage. If you only stick to melee attacks, or never use V.A.T.S., you
can ignore this perk. If you play realistically however, this is a 
pretty good perk. Mind you it doesn't just cover 'sniping'. Popping a
Super Mutant in the face with a few rounds of Shotgun Shells at mid
range is also a good use of the Sniper perk.

Rating: ****
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Splash Damage
Req: Level 12, Explosives 70
Ranks: 1

When you're deep in enemy territory, you just start chucking grenades
and hope for the best. All Explosives have a 25% larger area of effect.

I'm rather skeptical of all these area of effect perks.. first, it seems
just as likely to hurt you as not, and second, just how many enemies are
going to find clustered together? Three, or four at the most? I don't
know, I'd rather just take Demolition Expert instead.

Rating: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Unstoppable Force
Req: Level 12, Strength 7, Melee Weapons 90
Ranks: 1

Your martial might is truly legendary. You do a large amount of 
additional damage through enemy blocks with all Melee Weapons and
Unarmed attacks.

Just how many enemies actually block in this game? Human enemies that
use melee weapons, which are, as a rule of thumb, usually easy to kill.
Super Mutants, Cazadors, and Deathclaws won't be blocking your attacks,
so what use is this perk? And 90 Melee Weapons? Even a dedicated melee
fighter can ignore this perk.

Rating: *

Level 14 Perks 							{PRK008}
o======================================================================o
Adamantium Skeleton
Req: Level 14
Ranks: 1

With the Adamantium Skeleton perk, your limbs only receive 50% of the
damage they normally would.

Your limbs don't take much damage throughout the game, unless you step
on a mine or take a glancing blow from a missile launcher. You wonít see
much in the way of hit point preservation with this perk, if anything,
you'll just get crippled less. Sure, it can be handy in Hardcore mode,
but doctors and Doctors Bags are not rare enough that this should be
an ever-present concern for you. The fact that I still perk the Small
Frame trait for Hardcore mode characters should say a lot about how I
will rate this perk.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Center of Mass
Req: Level 16, Guns 70
Ranks: 1

You don't fool around with fancy trick shots. Straight to the midsection
and down they go. In V.A.T.S., you do an extra 15% damage with attacks
targeting the torso.

15% is nice and all, but note the 'in V.A.T.S.' line. Also keep in mind
that headshots tend to deal more damage.. if you're close enough to
pull off a V.A.T.S. shot with some expectation of success, you're 
probably close enough to go for the head.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Chemist
Req: Level 14, Medicine 60
Ranks: 1

With the Chemist perk, any chems you take last twice as long.

There are few instances in the game when you will need to take chems,
in fact, the most useful chemical in the game is Rad-x. You'll find
plenty of chems in your travels, enough that you can just take two
instead of having this perk.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Jury Rigging
Req: Level 14, Repair 90

You possess the amazing ability to repair any item using a roughly 
similar item. Fix a Trail Carbine with a Hunting Rifle, a Plasma 
Defender with a Laser Pistol, or even Power Armor with Metal Armor. How
does it work? Nobody knows... except you.

This can be an incredibly useful, Cap-and-bother saving perk. First off,
however, letís just say with a high enough Repair you can just make
Weapon Repair Kits with fairly common components that can be purchased
from most vendors (Duct Tape, Scrap Electronics, Scrap Metal, 
Wonderglue, and Wrenches), which, again with a good Repair skill, should
restore about 25% of a weapons' condition. This means you really don't
need this perk for any weapons in the game. Armor, however, has no easy
fix, and you'll really feel it when you want to repair your Remnant
Power Armor, or your Combat Armor, Reinforced Mark II. Still, if you're
not in Hardcore mode you can just kill some Super Mutants and sell their
guns for the Caps you need, and even if you are in Hardcore mode.. wear
less expensive armor (humble Vault Security Armor has a respectable
16 Damage Threshold, is light armor, and costs under 200 Caps to fix.)
That said, there is probably no better 'legitimate' way to earn Caps
than by repairing high-end weapons with lower-end counterparts. Energy
Weapons is by far more expensive per shot than Guns, making that build a
great candidate for this perk on one hand. On the other hand, Energy
Weapons requires a much lower Repair score than Guns, so you'll have to
waste more points to meet the requirements for this perk. Then again,
if you're a die-hard Energy Weapons' user, what have you got to lose?

Rating: ***
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Light Step
Req: Level 14, Perception 6, Agility 6
Ranks: 1

With the Light Step perk, you'll never set off an enemy's mines or
floor-based traps.

Land mines are pretty common. Fortunately, they're also obvious, they
don't do a huge amount of damage-in the grand scheme of things, and you
can disarm them with a simple button click. Not only that, you get
experience and the mine itself when you do! Be observant, and you wont
need this perk.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Purifier
Req: Level 14
Ranks: 1

As a purifier of the wasteland, you do +50% damage with Melee and 
Unarmed weapons against Centaurs, Nightstalkers, Spore Plants, Spore
Carriers, Deathclaws, Super Mutants, and Feral Ghouls.

If you are going to be using Melee Weapons or Unarmed, you MUST get this
perk. Deathclaws are bad enough, but capitulating and going toe-to-claw
with them in melee combat is insane. This perk helps even the odds.
Also, bonuses against Feral Ghouls and Super Mutants shouldn't be 
overlooked, especially not a damage boost of 50%, which can really add
up big with a Ballistic Fist, Displacer Glove, or Super Sledge. If you
are a hybrid character and have access to a decent gun, you can ignore
this perk, but for melee-specialized builds, this is gold.

Rating: ****

Level 16 Perks 							{PRK009}
o======================================================================o
Action Boy/Girl
Req: Level 16, Agility 6
Ranks: 2

With the Action Boy/Girl perk, you gain an additional 15 Action Points 
to use in V.A.T.S.

Action Boy/Girl has been split into two ranks, radically diminishing
the effectiveness of this perk. On top of that, you have LESS perks
with which to choose from, further exacerbating the situation. If that
wasn't enough, having a high Action Point total isn't as useful in New
Vegas. All of these conditions add up to one conclusion: you can look
elsewhere for your V.A.T.S. perks.

Rating: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Better Criticals
Req: Level 16, Perception 6, Luck 6
Ranks: 1

With the Better Criticals perk, you gain a 50% damage bonus every time
a critical hit is scored on an opponent.

Your critical chance is determined by your Luck-1 point of Luck equals
a 1% chance of landing a critical hit. This doesn't increase your chance
of landing a critical hit, instead Better Criticals improves the
damage you deal when you do land a critical hit. Therefore the
usefulness of this perk is directly related to how high your luck is.
With sneak attack criticals, the Sniper perk, or the Finesse perk,
Better Criticals becomes greatly useful, but it really depends on your 
build. No character is hurt by having high luck however, so it stands 
to suggest that most characters could benefit greatly from this perk.. 
And since you need a Luck score of 6 for this perk, if you can get it, 
you might as well. This perk is especially useful for players who have
the Laser Commander perk, for obvious reasons.

Rating: *****
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Chem Resistant
Req: Level 16, Medicine 60
Ranks: 1

Having the Chem Resistant perk means you're 50% less likely to
develop an addiction to chems, like Psycho or Jet.

First, why you would ever need to use Psycho or Jet is beyond me.
Secondly, addiction isn't a big deal. You can always get your
addiction cured at a hospital, or you could just reload. If doubling
the duration of chems didn't appeal to you, this shouldn't either.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Meltdown
Req: Level 16, Energy Weapon 90
Ranks: 1

Meltdown causes foes killed by your Energy Weapons to give off a corona
of harmful energy. Note: this can cause a chain reaction. 

Another Energy Weapons perk, this one is more of a general perk, as it
applies to all Energy Weapons, rather than either lasers or plasma
weapons. I can't question the power of Energy Weapons, but I can and
will question the usefulness of this perk. Seeing enemies explode into
a corona of energy when they die is awful fun, but the explosion has a
fairly short radius, although it can do good damage. The bad part is
that you can catch yourself in this blast, making it a hassle any time
an enemy gets close to you in combat. Sure "Don't let them get close",
yeah, whatever. In any event, blowing yourself up is not fun, and this
perk doesn't make energy weapons exceptionally more powerful. On top of
that, there's not all that many situations in which you'll find enough
enemies close together to cause a useful explosion, much less a chain
reaction. It's slight usefulness is offset by the hassle of having to
keep away from enemies to avoid catching yourself in the blast.

Rating: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Tag!
Req: Level 16
Ranks: 1

The Tag! perk allows you to select a fourth Skill to be a Tag skill,
which instantly raises it by 15 points.

Skill points are good, I think we can all agree with that. But there is
a limit. A 15 point skill perk is arguably less useful than 
Comprehension.. even if you don't find 15 skill books, and it is
certainly less useful than Educated, which can give up to 52 skill
points. Sure, I like skill points, but I won't sacrifice a perk for
such a small return.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Weapon Handling
Req: Level 16, Strength < 10
Ranks: 1

Weapon Strength Requirements are now 2 points lower than normal for you.

Strength isn't a great attribute.. in fact, the only reason I both with
it is because you NEED to have Strength to use weapons effectively. This
perk gives you, essentially, two points of Strength. Or at least the
better benefits of having two Strength. This perk allows me to start 
out with four Strength, and let Power Armor and an Implant get me to
the equivalent of eight.. which allows me to wield all the weapons I
care to wield anyways.

Rating: ****

Level 18 Perks 							{PRK010}
o======================================================================o
Computer Whiz
Req: Level 18, Intelligence 7, Science 70
Ranks: 1

Fail a hack attempt and get locked out of a computer? Not if you're a
Computer Whiz! With this perk, you can attempt to re-hack any computer
you were previously locked out of.

Words can hardly describe how useless this perk is. Okay, yes they can.
This perk is damn near worthless. A 10 skill point perk seems fantastic
by comparison. Here's a way to get the benefits of this perk without
wasting your perk pick on it: before you hack a computer, save. If you
get locked out, reload. Bam, no need for this perk. And considering
90% of the computers you encounter in this game lock a door (which you
can pick) or disable turrets (which you can destroy) there's no great
fear of getting locked out of a terminal in any case. Donít waste your
perk.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Concentrated Fire
Req: Level 18, Energy Weapons 60, Guns 60
Ranks: 1

With Concentrated Fire, your accuracy to hit any body part in V.A.T.S.
increases slightly with each subsequent hit on that body part.

If you've been paying attention, you'll know that most of the time
taking more shots in V.A.T.S. at one time is a bad thing. You know, the
sitting duck thing? This isn't an issue if you're up on a ledge sniping,
but then again, you don't really need that much accuracy in that case.
Point is, you won't be taking as many consecutive shots in V.A.T.S. in
this game, meaning you don't need this perk, even if you use a fast
weapon.

Rating: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Infiltrator
Req: Level 18, Perception 7, Lockpick 70
Ranks: 1

With Infiltrator, if a lock is broken, and can't normally be picked
again, you can attempt to pick it again one more time. This includes
locks previously broken by a "Force Lock" attempt.

This perk sucks for the same reason Computer Whiz sucks. Why anybody
would be forcing locks in the first place is a mystery, and if you
are going to bother forcing locks, why wouldn't you save first? Save
and reload, and save a perk.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Paralyzing Palm
Req: Level 18, Unarmed 70

With Paralyzing Palm, you will sometimes perform a S.P.E.C.I.A.L.
V.A.T.S. palm strike for 30 seconds. Note that in order to perform the
Paralyzing Palm, you must be completely unarmed.

Paralyzing Palm was the great unequalizer in Fallout 3.. but that was
back when V.A.T.S. kept you safe from reprisal. In Fallout: New Vegas,
running into a pack of Deathclaws and hoping for a Paralyzing Palm to
even the odds is tantamount to committing suicide.. but against one or
two enemies, it can eliminate one threat and let you concentrate on 
another, or put down an enemy quick-like for a coup-de-gras. It will
keep an enemy down longer than a knockdown attack, and it remains
useful.. unless you don't use Unarmed attacks.

Rating: ****

Level 20 Perks 							{PRK011}
o======================================================================o
Explorer
Req: Level 20
Ranks: 1

When you choose the Explorer perk, every location in the world is
revealed on your map. So get out there and explore!

You can find all the areas on the map by yourself. You even get little 
icons that will guide you to them when you're close. Along the way, 
you'll get to explore the wasteland, which is the meat of the game. 
You'll find skill books, get experience, and find loot. Also, it must 
be noted that this perk doesn't make your character stronger in any way. 
Download a world map and search for places yourself, save yourself a 
perk.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Grim Reaper's Sprint
Req: Level 20
Ranks: 1

If you kill a target in V.A.T.S., 20 Action Points are restored upon 
exiting V.A.T.S.

V.A.T.S. has been reduced in this game, and so has Grim Reaper's Sprint.
Still, it's not abysmal. In the grand scheme of things it's better to
take fewer, safer, smarter shots in V.A.T.S. With this perk you can
finish off an enemy in V.A.T.S. and recharge your AP a bit. You'll do
most of your fighting outside of V.A.T.S., certainly, but popping an
enemy in the head with a Brush Gun at the right time can be a very 
effective way to exterminate threats and thin the crowd.. and with
Grim Reaper's Sprint you can manage to do this somewhat often.

Rating: ***
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Ninja
Req: Level 20, Sneak 80, Melee Weapons 80
Ranks: 1

The Ninja perk grants you the power of the fabled shadow warriors. When
attacking with either Melee or Unarmed, you gain a +15% critical chance
on every strike. Sneak attack criticals do 25% more damage than normal.

This perk seems like it's golden if you look at what it promises.. 
However, it only really shines if you're a melee character, whether
Unarmed or Melee Weapons. A +15% critical rate is huge, and with a high
Luck, Finesse, the 1st Recon Beret, and this perk your critical hit rate
can aspire to 35%. Of course, a gun-using character will almost 
certainly get more use out of the sneak attack critical damage, as.. 
frankly.. they can just pull them off easier. Which brings us to Ninja's
glaring problem.. it's skill requirements are outrageous. Sneak is a 
fair skill, but 80 points is a huge investment, and Melee Weapons.. 
well, they just kind of suck. Your chances of sneaking up on many 
enemies in order to gain one of this perks' benefits isn't very high, 
and certainly not against enemies against which it would actually be 
useful to do so. This perk promises a lot, but in the end it just isn't
worth it.

Rating: **
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Solar Powered
Req: Level 20, Endurance 7
Ranks: 1

With the Solar Powered perk, you gain an additional 2 points to 
Strength when in direct sunlight, and slowly regenerate lost Health.

As tempting as two points of Strength are, I'd rather have two points
all the time from Weapon Handling, and just buy the regeneration 
Implant.

Rating: **

Level 22 Perks 							{PRK012}
o======================================================================o
Laser Commander
Req: Level 22, Energy Weapons 90

From the humble Laser Pistol to the might Gatling Laser, you do 15% more
damage and have +10% chance to critically hit with any laser weapon.

If you decided to use Energy Weapons, you might want this perk. Lasers
are generally weaker than plasma weapons, but the bonuses from this perk 
do a good bit to close the gap. Turn your Tri-Beam Laser Rifle into a 
destructive force! Okay, seriously, no laser weapon will become so 
strong from this perk that it will easily overcome the Damage Thresholds
of stronger enemies, but the bonuses are nice, nonetheless. Especially
with Gatling Lasers, which do little damage per hit, but fire fast..
the more chances you have of each little laser dealing critical damage,
the better off you're going to be. Still, seriously think about the
damage that most laser weapons are doing before getting this perk. At
15%, you're looking at an increase of a couple of points, at best. Pick
it for the crits, not for the damage boost.

Rating: ***
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Nuka Chemist
Req: Level 22, Science 90

You have unraveled some of the greatest mysteries of Pre-War masters:
formulas for developing special Nuka-Colas! This perk unlocks special
Nuka-Cola recipes at the Workbench.

I've not been impressed by workbench-related perks yet, so why would I
be impressed by this? Simply put, I wouldn't. You can make Nuka-Cola
Quartz, Nuka-Cola Victory, and Ice-Cold Nuka-Cola.. all of which are
novelties, but not great items in their own right. There simply aren't
enough perks for this kind of profligacy.

Rating: *
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Spray and Pray
Req: Level 22

Your attacks do much less damage to companions, allowing you to 
liberally spray an area with reckless abandon.

I've frankly never had a problem with killing my own companions. Maybe
I'm just more careful? Or maybe I use long-ranged weapons that call for
precision, and not reckless abandon? Or best of all, just leave those
worthless bastards behind. They're nothing but mules, anyawys.

Rating: *

Level 24 Perks 							{PRK013}
o======================================================================o
Slayer
Req: Level 24, Unarmed 90, Agility 7

The slayer walks the earth! The speed of all Melee Weapons and Unarmed
attacks is increased by 30%.

Ah.. Good old Slayer, returned to us in a different form in New Vegas.
If you use Melee Weapons or Unarmed, you must pick this perk. It
increases your damage output by 30%. What more is there to say? If you
don't use Melee Weapons or Unarmed attacks, ignore this perk.

Rating: ****

Level 26 Perks 							{PRK014}
o======================================================================o
Nerves of Steel
Req: Level 26, Agility 7

With the Nerves of Steel perk, you regenerate Action Points much more
quickly than you normally would.

As I've already stated, the best defense in New Vegas is a good offense.
Or failing that, high ground the enemy can't reach and a superior ranged
weapon. When using V.A.T.S. it's often better to take fewer shots as the
situation presents itself. To this end, regenerating more Action Point
is better than having more to spend at once, which makes Nerves of 
Steel a better perk choice than, say, Action Boy.

Rating: ***

Level 28 Perks 							{PRK015}
o======================================================================o
Rad Absorption
Req: Level 28, Endurance 7

With the Rad Absorption perk, your radiation level slowly decreases on
its own over time.

In normal mode, you have doctors who will clear up any Rad problems you
might have for a measly 100 Caps. In Hardcore mode, this saves you the
resource-wasting trip back to town. Even better, it allows you to 
safely eat any type of irradiated food and drink from any water source
you want. You'll simply heal over time. This opens up many options for
eating and drinking on-the-go, and makes the run a good bit simpler.
Too bad you have to wait until level 28 to pick it.. by then, you 
should have already beaten the game or you should have plenty of 
resources that starvation and dehydration aren't imminent dangers.

Rating: *
Rating: *** (Hardcore Mode)

Additional Perks						{PRK016}
o======================================================================o
Additional perks are quest-based or challenge-base perks that you get
for completing specific quests and challenges. Some quest-based perks
may be missable, and obviously if you don't buy a certain Implant, you
won't get the related perk. Challenge-based perks unlock automatically
when you meet the conditions.. usually killing so many of a certain
type of enemy, or inflicting a certain amount of damage with a certain
weapon.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Abominable

Kill enough Abominations (Deathclaws, Centaurs, etc.) and you'll get 
this perk, which increases your damage against this class of enemy.
There are multiple ranks of this perk.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Agility Implant

Buy the Agility Implant from the New Vegas Medical Clinic to get a +1 
bonus to your Agility (4,000 Caps).
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Animal Control

Kill enough Animals (Bighorners, Coyotes, Geckos, etc.) and you'll get 
this perk, which increases your damage against this class of enemy.
There are multiple ranks of this perk.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Beautiful Beatdown

Inflict 10,000 damage with Unarmed weapons to obtain this perk, which
reduces the AP Cost of Unarmed attacks in V.A.T.S.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Better Healing

While Arcade is a companion, the players gains more health from all
sources.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Bug Stomper

Kill enough Animals (Giant Ants, Radscorpians, etc.) and you'll get 
this perk, which increases your damage against this class of enemy.
There are multiple ranks of this perk.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Charisma Implant

Buy the Charisma Implant from the New Vegas Medical Clinic to get a +1 
bonus to your Charisma (4,000 Caps).
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Endurance Implant

Buy the Endurance Implant from the New Vegas Medical Clinic to get a +1 
bonus to your Endurance (4,000 Caps).
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Enhanced Sensors

While ED-E is a companion, the player can detect enemies at an increased
range. Additionally, enemies will appear on the player's compass and can
be targeted in V.A.T.S. even when cloaked.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Intelligence Implant

Buy the Intelligence Implant from the New Vegas Medical Clinic to get a 
+1 bonus to your Intelligence (4,000 Caps).
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Lord Death

Kill anything. Alot of anything. You'll get a damage bonus against
everything. There are multiple ranks of this perk.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Luck Implant

Buy the Luck Implant from the New Vegas Medical Clinic to get a +1 bonus
to your Luck (4,000 Caps).
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Mutant Massacrer

Kill enough Super Mutants and you'll get this perk, which increases your 
damage against them. There are multiple ranks of this perk.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Monocyte Breeder

Buy the Health Regeneration Implant from the New Vegas Medical Clinic to
get this perk (12,000 Caps).
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Perception Implant

Buy the Perception Implant from the New Vegas Medical Clinic to get a +1 
bonus to your Perception (4,000 Caps).
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Ranger Takedown

In Novac you can find Ranger Andy, a retired NCR Ranger who is a down
on himself. Succeed at a Speech challenge and convince him he doesnít
suck and he'll teach you this perk.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Regular Maintenance

While Raul is a companion, the Condition of weapons and armor decays
more slowly.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Scribe Assistant

While Veronica is a companion, the player can craft Workbench items 
through Veronica's dialogue.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Spotter

While Boone is a companion, hostile targets are highlighted whenever the
player is actively aiming.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Stealth Girl

While Lily is a companion, the duration of Stealth Boys is increased by
200% and all Sneak Attack Critical Hits do an additional 10% damage.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Strength Implant

Buy the Strength Implant from the New Vegas Medical Clinic to get a +1 
bonus to your Strength (4,000 Caps).
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Sub-Dermal Armor

Buy the Sub-Dermal Armor Implant from the New Vegas Medical Clinic to 
get a +4 bonus to your Damage Threshold (8,000 Caps).
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Tough Guy

I got this perk while messing around, trying to get achievements.
Jumping off cliffs and using Stimpaks is fun! Anyways, you'll get this
for injuring limbs, which is paradoxically easier to do with Small
Frame. That's right, Small Frame, which makes it easier to injure limbs,
make it easier to get Tough Guy, which makes it more difficult to injure
limbs.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Whiskey Rose

While Cass is a companion, she and the player gain Damage Threshold when
they drink Whiskey. Additionally, the player does not suffer 
Intelligence loss from consuming alcohol and ignores the negative 
effects of alcohol addiction.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->

My Personal Build, Perks					{PRK017}
o======================================================================o
These are the perks I choose for my character.. hence the name of the
section. Note that most of the perks don't really require a specific
order save the first two. Intensive Training is taken at level 2 
because.. well, there's little else worth taking at that level, and 
Educated is taken at level four to maximize its usefulness. If I'm
playing a female character, I find it worth my while to pick Black
Widow, since there are some interesting dialogue options for it, and
since there are a lot of male enemies in the game (for example, all of
Caesar's Legion?) After that, it's really just preference and how you've
allocated skill points that should determine your perk picks. Note that 
my build is considered the 'base build' for this FAQ, to which extra 
skill/perk choices are added at your discretion to make your own ideal 
character. Some sample builds are included after the text for the base 
build.

<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Level
2	Black Widow/Intensive Training			
4	Educated					
6	Comprehension					
8	Hand Loader					
10	Finesse						
12	Silent Running						
14	Toughness (1)					
16	Weapon Handling					
18	Better Criticals				
20	Toughness (2)			
22	--
24	--		
26	--
28	--		
30	--				

This build makes for a pretty proficient Guns-user, who is also adept
at sneaking. This can arguably be called the 'sniper' build, as it is
mostly designed to take advantage of the good range of Guns weapons, and
the ability to make shots from stealth. Note that while this build 
isn't specifically married to Guns, they've got a low Strength 
requirement and do great damage, and I really see no good reason to not
use guns.. just like I don't see why this build can't spend skill points
to be able to use Energy Weapons and Explosives, as well.

"Guns" 
If you want to make a more 'rangery' version of this build, consider 
getting Melee Weapons up to 45, Repair to within striking range of 90, 
and pick the Cowboy perk to take advantage of the benefits it'll give 
the Brush Gun. With the Brush Gun, using V.A.T.S. to pick off enemies at 
close to mid range becomes a more rewarding option, meaning that in 
addition you can consider the Grim Reaper's Sprint and Nerves of Steel 
Perks. Also, for any ranged fighter Commando and Sniper are fair perks, 
especially considering that many of the better weapons in the game are 
two-handed 'rifles', and shooting enemies in the head is almost always 
better than shooting them somewhere else.

"Unarmed"
There are also enough free perks to pick up some essential Unarmed
perks, although you'll have to settle for a Displacer Glove, as this
build has nowhere near enough Strength for a Ballistic Fist. Purifier,
Piercing Strike, and Slayer come to mind as perk choices for the really
dedicated melee characters.

"Energy Weapons"
The only changes that really have to be considered in this build for
Energy Weapons is with the Laser Commander perk. Frankly, however, most
of the weapons that are good in the Energy Weapons category either
require too much Strength for this build, or aren't even lasers. In my
mind, there's no real reason to specialize in Energy Weapons-related
perks at all. Even a diehard Energy Weapons supporter would be hard-
pressed to say that there are a great number of useful perks for the
skill set. At least, honestly. Frankly, perks like Nerves of Steel,
Grim Reapers Sprint, Commando, and Sniper affect all weapons (or at
least all ranged weapon) enough to make them recommendable, whatever
your favorite weapon type. If you're a die-hard Energy Weapons fanatic,
go for Vigilant Recycler to save some Caps (and perhaps Jury Rigging).
The biggest difference between Energy Weapons and Guns is cost per
caps.

o======================================================================o
|								       |
|		Getting Started in the Mohave {MOH001}		       |
|								       |
o======================================================================o
This little section of the FAQ is less character creation and more
character establishment. Since obtaining the Implants from the New
Vegas Medical Clinic greatly affects your character build, it is fairly
essential for a guide of this sort. The early loot locations, unique
weapons, and various exploits are thrown in just because I like you.

New Vegas Medical Clinic Run					{MOH002}
o======================================================================o
My first goal is to make it all the way to the New Vegas Medical Clinic
as quickly as possible. This is in every way reminiscent of the Rivet
City run from Fallout 3.. except this time around we can score our bonus
Intelligence before we hit level two. We'll do our best to do so, at
least, and since this is a fairly important part of the guide, I'll help 
you get there as best as I can. For Hardcore players, you may as well 
postpone this journey and try to reach the New Vegas area by questing 
your way there.

Save your game before you head off. You never know what might happen,
so play it safe and keep a save of your character before you go 
running out into the Mohave. 
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
1) First step, follow the road south east out of Goodsprings until you 
find Jean Sky Diving. From here head east along I-15 until you find 
some railroad tracks. You may want to get off I-15 sooner to avoid any 
hostile Powder Gangers you see. The Bloatflies in the desert will mostly 
leave you alone unless you get too close.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
2) Get on the railroad tracks and follow it south past the Powder Ganger
Cap South area until you reach the Emergency Service Railyard. You now 
have to follow the railroad south past Nipton until it connects with a 
road running east-west. Don't follow along the road, as there are Viper 
Gangers set up in ambush, instead head through the hills to the north of 
the road. This will let you bypass the enemies. Once you reach the road 
continue east until you find a road sign that directs you to turn north 
to find Novac. You now want to continue north up these roads for the 
foreseeable future.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
3) You SHOULD find a merchant caravan heading north here. They'll be
attacked by Caesar's Legion Recruits. Stay nearby but don't get
involved in the fight. Once the fight is over, loot the bodies. It
doesn't matter who wins, and none of this gear is going to be all
that useful, but it will sell for enough to earn you a handful of 
Caps with which you can gamble yourself a small fortune later. If
you want to play it safe, you can follow the caravan up to Novac,
letting them handle whatever baddies you may find. You will pass near
Ranger Station Charlie on your way north, which can (like all locations)
be avoided if you wish to forgo gaining experience.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
4) Either way, follow the road with the railroad tracks running next
to it to find Novac. North of here you can find the Gibson Scrap Yard
and the HELIOS One power plant. Cross the desert to the east of the 
HELIOS One plant and avoid any Fire Ants you find until you find another 
road running north-south.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
5) You'll find yourself on I-95, near the El Dorado Gas & Service
station. The road will will run north and connect to I-93 at a site 
wisely called the 188 Trading Post. Our journey is, surprisingly, mostly
over. Continue past the 188 Trading Post and follow I-95 west, then 
north into the outskirts of New Vegas. When you're getting close you'll 
pass under a few underpasses and start seeing billboard signs promoting 
the casinos on the strip.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
6) Once you start find numerous standing buildings.. well, you've
found the outskirts of New Vegas. Visual confirmation can be obtained
by checking to the west to locate the lights of New Vegas in the
not-so-distant distance. The New Vegas Medical Clinic is between the
Crimson Caravan Company to the west, and the Mole Rat Ranch to the
east. I managed to reach this area with a total of 60 experience.

Now that you're here you just need.. oh.. 4,000 Caps to get yourself
a shiny new Implant. There are two feasible ways of doing this.
Scavenging.. I mean, 'prospecting' and selling any and all loot you
find. This route seems the most sensible, but since you will most
likely have to discover new areas and/or kill things, it might be
somewhat counter-productive. The second way is to head west to
Freeside's East Gate. Enter Freeside and find the Atomic Wrangler.
If you are attacked by thugs, just run back to the entrance of 
Freeside and let the Bodyguards for Hire kill them. At the Atomic
Wrangler, save your game and play some slots, blackjack, or roulette
to get money.. what else? If you win, save, if you lose, reload. Is
there a better way to make money in a game called Fallout: New Vegas?
I didn't think so. Sure, there's a wait period for reloads.. 
anti-cheating measure indeed.. but it's a painless way to make money
without leveling up.. so long as you don't accidently complete too
many challenges, anyways. Within 20 minutes I was 4,200 Caps richer,
and off to get my Intelligence Implant.

Note: You can bypass the waiting period if you don't exit the game
in order to reload.

You can also visit Durable Dunn's Sacked Caravan and loot the dead
Van Graff guys there for some Combat Armor, which sells very well if 
you're tight on experience. Durable Dunn's is south west of New Vegas, 
and can easily be found during your trip there.

			***ALTERNATE ROUTES***			{MOH003}
o======================================================================o
Status: Tested/Dubious Results

My suggestion for how to reach New Vegas is certainly not the quickest
route, but it might just be the safest. I have received several other
route suggestions, which I have tried to duplicate myself with varying
degrees of success. First there's the option to head north of 
Goodsprings and run past the Radscorpians and Cazadors.. letís just say
that didn't end well. Between not being able to outpace Cazadors and
hitting invisible walls while trying to climb up rocks, it was just
more trouble than it was worth. Then there is Primm Pass, which was
previously mentioned in this FAQ but removed on the basis of the fact
that there's almost always a Deathclaw in the pass. Lastly there's the
suggestion to head to Hidden Valley, find Neil's Shack, and make your
way along the cliffs there to avoid both Super Mutants and Deathclaws 
while heading east, which is actually possible and a good bit quicker. 
My way, the worst you'll face are some Bark Scorpions, Coyotes, Mole 
Rats, and, if you fail to avoid them, some gangers, most of which aren't 
too aggressive and are territorial, so they can be fairly easily 
avoided.

			***JACKPOT WINNER***			{MOH004}
o======================================================================o
Status: Test/Confirmed (Xbox 360, unpatched)

It's also possible here to be greedy, especially if you have a lot of
luck (both you personally and your character.) Since you can't really 
win that much money at the Atomic Wrangler and stay under the cap.. why 
not just blow the winnings cap all to hell? Play Black Jack and win nine
times, saving after every win, and loading after every loss. After nine 
wins you should have at least 1800 Caps if you were betting max every 
time.

Now that you've got a windfall of Caps, be sure that you have NOT
completed the Black Jack  challenge, "Double Down", which will get you
100 unwanted experience points.. or just make sure you're not within
100 Experience of hitting level 2. If you haven't played ten games of
Black Jack, you should be fine.

You can also gamble on Roulette, if you're more the big-rewards big
risk kind of person. Save your game, then make a bet of 200 Caps on
whatever number you think is lucky. At 35:1 odds, a single win can
net you 7000 Caps, which is pretty good money.. good enough to get you
ready for the real money winner..

Leave the Black Jack tables and go over to the slot machines and save
your game. Now for the lengthy part.. bet max and play slots, reloading 
if you lose all your caps, or if your winnings exceed 4000 Caps (which 
will get you banned from the casino). If you're lucky you will win one 
of the higher payouts, which at 200 Caps a gamble, even a x30 payoff
can win you well more caps than the Atomic Wrangler would normally
allow you to win. If you're patient and lucky, you may just win the
jackpot of 32,000 Caps, which is enough to let you buy most of the
implants you'll want. Sure, it's time consuming, but it doesn't advance
game time any (for Hardcore mode players) and walking out of the
Atomic Wrangler with 10,000 to 30,000 Caps is much better than walking
out with 4,000. If you're super greedy, you can rob every casino in the
game this way.
			
		   ***INFINITE EXPERIENCE, VERSION 1****	{MOH005}
o======================================================================o
Status: Tested/Confirmed (Xbox 360, unpatched)

At the Aerotech Office Park (Aerotech Suite 200) you'll find a man in
a red jumpsuit named Keith. You can attempt a Barter challenge (Barter
45) with him right from the get-go, which, if successful prompts him
to sell you some Jet. Decline and the option to make a Barter attempt
with him will still-or should I say-always be available. Just keep
making the Barter check for endless experience.

		   ***INFINITE EXPERIENCE, VERSION 2****	{MOH006}
o======================================================================o
Status:	Tested/Confirmed (Xbox 360, unpatched)

Another infinite experience glitch, pretty much the same thing as the
one above, but more rewarding, simpler to accomplish, and easier to
reach. Find Deputy Beagle in the Bison Steve in Primm. Don't free him,
instead ask him about the man in the checkered suit who passed through 
town. He'll try to negotiate to get himself free. Succeed at a Speech
challenge [Speech 40] and he'll agree to tell you what he knows, without
actually doing so. You'll then get the option to ask him about the 
people who came through town again.. which will lead to the Speech
challenge again. Simply continue to succeed at the Speech challenge for
40 XP a pop to get as much experience as you wish.


		   ***INFINITE EXPERIENCE, VERSION 3****	{MOH007}
o======================================================================o
Status: Tested/Confirmed (Xbox 360, unpatched)

Here's yet another infinite experience glitch (Obsidian was lazy eh?
But we all knew this already.) In Vault 11 - Lower Level, after 
accessing the Overseer's terminal and opening the way to the sacrificial
chamber, kill all the robots that ambush you, then activate the Vault 11
Mainframe. Select the option 'Automated Response: Vault 11 Solution' 
and you'll be rewarded with a hefty 500 experience. Note that the option
will not go away after selected. Continue to select the option as many
times as your little heart desires. Each time you select it, you'll get
500 experience. If you exit the screen anytime after selecting the
response, it'll be gone when you mess with the Vault 11 Mainframe again,
so be sure to get all the experience you want in one go. The good thing
about this method is it's extrememly fast and mindless, just click until
you're as experienced as you want. The problem with this method is that
you've got to trek all the way through Vault 11, and then kill a handful
of robots and turrets before you can reap your ill-gotten gains. It's
really not for weak characters.

		          ***"FREE" REPAIRS***			{MOH008}
o======================================================================o
Status: Tested/Confirmed (Xbox 360, unpatched)

Get your gear repaired by Paladin Sato (Brotherhood Safehouse), Major 
Knight (Mohave Outpost), or your sidekick Raul (Black Mountain/Raul's
Shack), then pick-pocket your Caps back. Talk about a money saver-this
little trick makes perks like Vigilant Recycler and Jury Rigging even
more obsolete! It'll take a few tries-and hence some patience, even
with a fairly high Sneak score, but it is possible. I imagine this is
possible with most any character who will repair stuff for you, but I
have the uncanny knack of failing to pick-pocket people even with (or
I should say, especially with) a Sneak score of 100.

Early Combat Armor						{MOH009}
o======================================================================o
There are many ways to score yourself some Combat Armor early on in
the game, but these two methods require no fighting, and they can be
easily done during or immediately after your New Vegas run. First, 
simply search Durable Dunn's Sacked Caravan, where you'll find plenty
of corpses with Combat Armor just waiting for you to grab it. Also, you
can be rewarded with Combat Armor by winning enough at Gommorrah.

Gobi Campaign Scout Rifle					{MOH010}
o======================================================================o
This wonderful weapon is a must if you're a Guns user. To get it, just
head over to the Sniper's Nest area, where you'll find a locked
[Very Hard] footlocker. This gun is inside. sure, you need a 100
Lockpick skill to get it, but it's slightly more damaging than a normal
Sniper Rifle, carries an extra round per clip, weighs almost half as 
much, and has the same skill and strength requirements (75/6, 
respectively.)

Q-35 Matter Modulator						{MOH011}
o======================================================================o
A unique version of the Plasma Rifle, this weapon has the same damage
as a normal Plasma Rifle-but double the DPS. Why? It fires much faster.
Too bad it has half the ammo-but huzzah!-it uses half the ammo per shot.
The skinny? It's requirements for strength are lower and it pumps out
damage faster. To get your hands on it, you'll need to visit the 
REPCONN Headquarters. It's on the first level, behind a locked 
[Very Hard] door-but you can also use a [Very Hard] terminal! That, or
go up to the second level, then take another door down to the first
level, go through a hole in the floor and bypass all those nasty locks
entirely.

Pew-Pew								{MOH012}
o======================================================================o
At the Sunset Sarsaparilla Headquarters, cash in your Star Sunset
Sarsaparilla Caps to Festus, then make your way to the southern end of 
the level and loot the body of Allen Marks for this interesting little
gun. If you ever wanted to use a pistol Energy Weapon, but didn't want
to sacrifice the YCS/186.. well, this is as good as it gets. It deals
out a whopping 119 damage and has no real requirements. The catch? It
eats up a whopping 15 Energy Cells per shot, and only gets two shots
off per clip. You might not want to use it against groups of enemies,
and against singular foes.. make sure they die in two shots.

Remnant Power Armor						{MOH013}
o======================================================================o
One of the most interesting items in the game to find-in part because
it's the most protective armor in the game, but mostly because of the
fighting involved. Head east from the Techatticup Mine across the
Colorado River to find a beach with a slope leading up through the
cliffs. You'll find that this side of the river is infested with Death
Claws. Kill them and search to the south east. Once the first wave is
dead, another pack of Death Claws will spawn, including a Mother Death
Claw and an Alpha Male Death Claw. So long as you stay on cliffs, you
can simply snipe the Death Claws at will. Once they're dead, go search
near where they were walking to find two dead 

Remnant Power Helmet						{MOH014}
o======================================================================o
Enter the Silver Peak Mine and enter the actual mine through the mine
house. Inside you'll find swarms of Cazedors. Make your way through the
mine to find a tunnel leading up to a ledge in a large room. You'll find
plenty of loot here, including the Remant Power Helmet. Unfortunately,
once you're up on the ledge more Cazedors will spawn, including a
Legendary Cazedor. On the bright side, you just need to make it out 
alive to keep your prize.

This Machine							{MOH015}
o======================================================================o
To get ahold of this gun, do errands for Sgt. Daniel Contreras (found
at Camp McCarran Supply Shack). What you'll get us a weapon that does
more damage (per shot, at least) than Gobi. It uses the same .308 ammo,
and hence gets the same wonderful damage boosts from using JSP Hand
Load ammo. With the same strength and skill requirements, it seems like
a pretty obvious compliment for the Gobi, too. If that's not good 
enough, it's got an eight round clip and fires twice as fast in 
V.A.T.S., making it an ideal short to mid-ranged weapon for when trouble
gets too close. Sure, the Brush Gun out-performs it, but This Machine
is cheaper to use, and doesn't force you to hunt for 45-70 Gov't ammo.

YCS/186 -or- Alien Blaster					{MOH016}
o======================================================================o
Head over to Brooks Tumbleweed Ranch, which is north west of New Vegas.
From the Tumbleweed Ranch, head east over some hills. If you have the
Wild Wasteland Trait you'll find a group of Aliens just hanging around.
If you don't, you'll encounter some Mercenaries. Kill them and you'll
obtain the Alien Blaster (in the former case) or the YCS/186, a unique
version of the Gauss Rifle. Sure, the Alien Blaster has a ridiculous
critical hit rate, but since the YCS/186 is the best long-ranged Energy
Weapon in the game, and quite possibly the best sniper weapon overall
(certainly the most damaging), we'll consider it the real prize.

o======================================================================o
|								       |
|		IssacFrost's Energy Weapons Build {EWB001}	       |
|								       |
o======================================================================o
Note from Nathan: Who the hell is Nathan? The bum who wrote this FAQ.
IssacFrost has submitted this build to me, over much correspondance and
editing on his part. Since it's his build, I'll post his email here so
you can question the source directly. If you as me about this build
theendbringer (at) hotmail (dot) com, I'll just refer your email to him,
so you might as well cut out the middle man. Besides, this will let you 
tell IssacFrost directly how much you think his build is better than 
mine. So, to get in contact with IssacFrost and save me the trouble of 
forwarding your e-mail, contact him at: issacfrost (at) gmail (dot) com.

My buddy IssacFrost has gone through some considerable effort testing
out Energy Weapons.. it's a labor of love (love of Energy Weapons, that
is) that has driven him to suggest the following build. It's play
tested in Hardcore mode on the Very Hard difficulty setting (at least,
that's what he tells me) so if you need any credentials.. well, what
more can you ask for? Note that this description is a little.. long
winded and it jumps from subject to subject. Also note that it does
include some spoilers, so only use it if you're a veteran looking for
some solid hardcore Energy Weapon's advice that'll really hold your
hand until you're established in Hardcore mode, or if you don't mind a
few spoilers in exchange for some great advice. Here's his build in his 
own words:

Attributes							{EWB002}
o======================================================================o
This is the best an EW can be as this build is deadly and has the Caps 
to maintain it with ease (ie rich.) Any EW aficionado can try, if they 
can, to say otherwise but the results speak for themselves: this build 
is powerful, stupidly powerful. Specially since it's played on Very 
Hard: Hardcore from the very start to the very end. 

New Vegas Energy Weapons Build By IssacFrost This build is effective in 
Very Hard: 

Hardcore Initial 	After Implants
Strength	4	Strength	6 (+1 Implant, +1 T51-b PA)	
Perception	5	Perception	6 (+1 Implant)
Endurance	8	Endurance	9 (+1 Implant)
Charisma	1	Charisma	1 (+1 T51-b Power Helmet)
Intelligence	8	Intelligence	9 (+1 Implant)
Agility		6	Agility		8 (+1 Implant, +1 Small Frame)
Luck		8 	Luck		10 (+1 Implant, +1 Int. Train.)

Perks								{EWB003}
o======================================================================o
Level	Perk						
2 	Intensive Training (Luck) 
4 	Educated 
6 	Vigilant Recycler**
8 	Toughness (1)
10 	Finesse
12 	Bloody Mess
14 	Toughness (2)
16 	Weapon Handling
18 	Better Criticals
20 	Grim Reaper's Sprint*
22 	Jury Rigging**
24 	Sniper*
26 	Silent Running*
28 	Nerves of Steel*
30 	Laser Commander* 

** Optional but helps to considerably reduce costs of weapon maintenance 
and shots per cap.
* Optional 

Luck is very important in this build and an Intense Training (Luck) plus 
the Luck Implant are necessary for a 10% crit chance. Educated is just 
good for extra skill points. It gives you 2 points for every level when 
taken. That is +52 more skill points and that's a good thing. Level up 
your Science to 70 as fast as you can so you can get Vigilant Recycler 
at level 6. This will increase the efficiency of recycling your energy 
ammunition as well as make you recover consistently more drained ammo 
which will help with the cost efficiency of this build. With your first 
rank in Toughness you will benefit from a +3 DT. With the Sub Dermal 
Implant, +4DT, your total will be +7DT. Finesse adds +5% more to your 
natural crit and with the 10 LK that's a 15%. Add Built to Destroy and 
you have a natural critical rate of 18%. Bloody Mess synergizes very 
well with Lord Death R3 for an 8% damage boost with all weapons. This 
increases your EW damage output exponentially with all the other Damage 
Bonus Challenge Perks. You get your second rank of Toughness adding 
another +3 DT making the total with the first rank and the Sub Dermal 
Implant to +10 DT. By level 16 you should have 100 Energy Weapons skill. 
And with Weapon Handling you can start making use of the Plasma Caster. 
Try to get it's mod so it's fire rate becomes faster. You definitely 
want Better Criticals for it's additional +50% damage which will make 
ALL your EW weapons criticals truly devastating. Grim Reaper's Sprint 
recharges 20 AP every time you make a kill in VATS and with the 
efficiency of consistent crit kills it should be helping you to get back
some much needed AP for whenever you are using the Multiplas Rifle, Q-35
 or even the Pew Pew if you want. By level 22 you should have a Repair 
of 90. Jury Rigging is a handy perk to have as it increases repair 
options for your gear as well as, if used correctly, net you LOTS of 
Caps by repairing much more valuable and expensive items of a category 
with cheaper and common items of that same category. Sniper is probably 
the best VATS accuracy related Perk because frankly you will be aiming
 for the head most of the time. This gives some extra range in VATS for 
the Multiplas Rifle, Q-35 and Pew Pew. Silent Running is the best Sneak 
related perk you can get and since you are using Heavy PA it can help 
you a lot when you are moving in for the kill. Mostly so you can pull 
off sneak criticals with a Multiplas Rifle which are extremely deadly, 
more so if aimed to the head. Best used for enclosed areas where YCS is 
not that useful. Nerves of Steel was retooled from Fallout 3 to be more 
effective then it used to be. Now it increases AP regeneration by 20%. 
This is good because you don't want to stay in VATS you want to trigger 
VATS pull of a shot or two and move. Laser Commander is there mostly 
for Pew Pew and any other laser weapon that strikes your fancy as it 
increases damage by a +15% and critical chance by +10% making your 
laser weaponry crit more often then your plasma based ones. With Bloody 
Mess and Lord Death R3 your laser weapons do 23% more damage. Challenge 
Perks you want are Abominable R3 +10% damage to abominations, Animal 
Control R3 +10% damage to mutated animals, Bug Stomper R3 +10% damage 
versus mutated insects and Mutant Massacrer R3 +10% damage versus Super 
Mutants and Set Lasers for Fun R2 +4% critical chance with all energy 
weapons. You won't really need Machine Head as the Pulse Gun makes short
work of them. With the above perks mentioned Bloody Mess and Lord Death
R3 that's an 18% damage against bugs, animals, mutants and abominations.
If using laser based weaponry with, Laser Commander, that's a 33% damage
increase. 

Skills/Traits							{EWB004}
o======================================================================o
Tag Energy Weapons and two more skills then when approaching Jenny Sky 
Diving respec for Science, Lockpick, Speech TraitsSmall Frame for 
Agility +1. The tradeoff to this Trait is that you will take 25% more 
limb damage which translates to getting crippled much more easily. Since 
this build doesn't take Adamantium Skeleton your best option is to get 
into PA as quickly as possible and to stock up on Doctor's Bag. The good 
news is that with a Medicine of 40 and Forceps, Medical Braces, Scalpels 
and Surgical Tubing you can craft Doctor's Bags via Veronica. Also with 
the Tough Guy challenge perk this drawback is cut down to 5%. Built to 
Destroy for 3% critical chance with the tradeoff of having a 15% 
increased weapon degradation. Due to access to the "free" full repairs 
of people such as Paladin Sato, Mayor Knight and even Raul whom can fix 
your gear and then you can pickpocket your caps back this tradeoff is 
negligible. With a Repair of 50 you can craft and stock up on Weapon 
Repair Kits through Veronica and I suggest you save up on every Scrap 
Metal, Scrap Electronic, Wonderglue, Duct Tape and Wrench you can get a 
hold off. 

Skill Points
Barter 		78
Energy Weapons 	100
Lockpick 	78
Repair 		90
Science 	78
Speech 		78  

+12 to a skill if finding all 4 skill books
+20 to Science if finding all 5 skill books 

Weapon Selection						{EWB005}
o======================================================================o
What's the best EW weapon? Ken Egervari has done a lot of work on 
breaking down every weapon and shows you what weapons are the best. EW 
proponents beware that Guns trumps EW heavily in New Vegas but that's 
nothing new. A EW Specialist can be as deadly efficient as a Guns 
Specialist but it will require more cost then a Guns Specialist needs 
to produce the same effect of deadliness. Thus Guns are more powerful 
and varied then EW as it requires less costs to do exactly what an EW 
would even with lower crit rates. Thankfully you still have some pretty 
solid options. 
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Q-35 Matter Modulator (2) - This is the "best" Plasma Rifle you can get 
as it counts like a Plasma Rifle+ but only uses up one Microfusion Cell.
It is easily trumped by Multiplas Rifle and Plasma Caster+ but used 
against low tier DT enemies it's deadly and efficient, given it's ammo 
usage, slow degradation and the fact it crits consistently. When it 
crits it tends to do astounding damage even to high DT opponents. But I 
don't recommend it for high DT opponents; stick to Plasma Caster+, 
Multiplas or YCS. 
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Multiplas Rifle (1) - Even though it uses a lot of Microfusion Cells it 
is one of the best plasma weapon you can get for it's low strength. 
This is the closest an EW has to a VATS weapons. If this weapon 
performs a sneak critical to the head of a target the damage it does is 
astronomically high. 
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Plasma Caster+ (1) - A ST 8 and EW skill of 100 is needed to properly 
wield this weapon. When mod acts as the Turbo Plasma Rifle. This is 
probably the best EW Weapon you can have. It's fast rate of fire and 
high damage gives this weapon an incredibly high DPS. This weapon is 
bugged in third person and VATS and the blast hits an invisible wall but
you shouldn't use it in VATS anyway to benefit of it's DPS. 
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Pew Pew (2.5)- It uses 15 energy cells but the damage output and crit 
rate are astounding. Since this build becomes self sufficient and rich 
just stock up on lots of SEC MC and make sure you have Laser Commander 
and most things will die with one shot. The best pistol an EW 
Specialist has access too, but an expensive one to use.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
YCS/186 (2) This is the upgrade to the Gauss. Don't use in VATS as it is
bugged. Stick to sniping and whatever you snipe at dies, snipe something
else and it dies too as simple as that. Whenever you plan on using YCS, 
switch to the 1st Recon Beret and if possible use MFC MC.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
Pulse Gun - This is a great weapon for any build. It simply owns all 
robots and people in power armor. 
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
(Optional) Euclid C Finder (50) - Deals one shot every 28 hours and 
does massive damage and an insane range but quite a delay before the 
blast hits. I find this more of a fun novelty weapon. 
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
A person using 10 LK, Finesse, Built to Destroy, Set Lasers for Fun R2, 
1st Recon Beret, Laser Commander if using laser based weapon, VATS and 
boosted with True Police Stories would have a natural crit rate of 
37%/47%. Since this build doesn't use comprehension and preferably uses 
the T-51b set your natural critical rate will be 22/32 out of VATS, 
27/37 in VATS, 27/37 if wearing the Beret and 32/42 if using the Beret 
and VATS. 

Ammo charge options: Over ChargeDeals 25% more damage per shot and 
accelerates degradation by 50%. Max Charge Deals 75% more damage and 
accelerates degradation by 150%. 

Companions							{EWB006}
o======================================================================o
Veronica, E-DE I really love having these two as companions. E-DE is an 
amazing pack mule surprisingly being able to lug around with a lot of 
gear. For this reason I tend to have it storing all the equipment, ammo 
and miscellaneous based items. His Enhanced Sensors perk is great as it 
allows you to ambush your enemies via sniping. Veronica is an unarmed 
expert, breaking the limits at an Unarmed skill of 103 and with Bonds 
of Steel and Remnants Armor set she gains +40DT. Always make sure she is
armed with the Ballistic Fist, which is a non unique weapon, and she 
becomes a powerful ally despite the fact she is stuck at level 12. Also 
she can soak up more hits than you can despite the fact you are a higher
level with more health and more DT. Overall Veronica is your BEST 
melee/unarmed oriented character despite the bug. Her Scribe Assistant 
perk means you have access to a workbench 24/7 and this is quite useful. 

Getting Established in the Mohave				{EWB007}
o======================================================================o
This is where IssacFrost goes into quite a bit of detail about how to
get his Energy Weapons character started.. And honestly, mostly 
finished. Have your hand held as much as you wish, the first steps-the
New Vegas run-should be familiar to any player using this FAQ, the
others.. well, they mostly include quick ways to score top-notch loot.

(Note from Nathan: IssacFrost quotes the Fallout Wiki
[http://fallout.wikia.com] as his source for some of the following 
information he gives. I have no idea how much of this information he
pulled from the wiki, or even then, how much he paraphrased-if at all.) 
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Do the New Vegas Medical Clinic Run from Nathaniel Garvin's FAQ-During 
the run make sure you get Veronica at the 188 Trading Post.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Get banned from gambling in Atomic Wrangler. First max bet on BlackJack
and reaload if you lose. Rack up some wins at least nine. Then save the 
game and start playing the slots on max bet until you hit the jackpot of
three oranges. Reload if you see you have lost and repeat until you get 
it.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Go buy the following Implants: +1 IN Implant, +1 LK Implant, 
+1 AG Implant +4 DT Subdermal Armor, +1 Health/10 seconds Regeneration.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Return to Gun Runners. You should still have enough money to buy the 
Combat Armor Reinforced Mark II set if not then proceed to the next 
step and purchase it when you have the Caps.

(Note from Nathan: Don't bother buying Combat Armor Mark II. You can
find some Combat Armor at Durable Dunn's Sacked Caravan on one of the
ash piles. You'll also get some Combat Armor for being a high-roller at
Gommorrah.)
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Steal all weapons from Silver Rush by using the Left Trigger click and 
carrying them to the bathroom. Drop them there and repeat. When you have
everything close the door and pick everything up. Transfer as much as 
you can to Veronica.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Go to Gun Runners or Mick and Ralph's and sell some of the stuff you 
don't need. Keep the Plasma Caster and Multiplas Rifle and any other 
weapon that strikes your fancy. I personally sold everything except 
Plasma Caster, the Multiplas Rifle and a Plasma Rifle.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Accept the guard job and let the fourth man in without patting him 
down. Then wait for the explosion and Simon to rush in. Once Simon 
rushes in go inside and talk to Simon then kill him. Now loot all the 
Van Graff corpses and on your way out kill the Silver Rush Crier then 
sell all you can.

(Note from Nathan: This might affect some of the sidequests related to
the NPC Cassidy.)
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Show your 2000 credit and enter New Vegas, you may want to go to Lucky 
38 and 'accept' to work for House to get access to the Presidential 
Suite but this is purely optional. Although I recommend it to stash the 
Plasma Caster and anything else you don't need to carry at the moment. 
As well as take care of SLP and H2O by sleeping and drinking water from 
the bathroom sink.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Get banned from gambling at Gomorrah just as you did in Atomic Wrangler
by trying to win slowly until you build up for the jackpot that way you 
can reap the house rewards.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Get banned from gambling at Tops just as you did in Atomic Wrangler but
this time try to win slowly until you build up for the jackpot that way 
you can reap the house rewards.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Make sure you have Reinforced Combat Armor MK II Set and that Veronica
is wearing the Reinforced Combat Armor you won at Gomorrah. At the Tops
confront Benny and let him convince you to use the Suite. Go up there 
and he is going to tell you via intercom that he isn't showing up. Kill 
the thugs by using the pool cues. This should trigger Wild Card: Ace in 
the Hole. Go check Benny's room to find Yes Man.

(Note from Nathan: If your character is female and has the 'Black Widow'
perk, you can seduce Benny and kill him in his sleep. Now that's the
definition of a Black Widow!)
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Talk to Yes Man and use up all the dialogue. He should give you map 
markers to the minor factions and you should level up twice when you 
are done. Get up to Science 70 if you haven't to get Vigilant Recycler. 
Also one of the map markers is Hidden Valley.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Buy the remaining Implants: +1 ST Implant, +1 PE Implant, 
+1 EN Implant.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Make sure you have Multiplas Rifle and a Plasma Rifle, preferably 
modded, as well as MFC OC. Fast travel to Jean Sky Diving then go 
straight to Hidden Valley and start the quest for the Elder McNaran but
first help Hardin find the information he needs to overthrow the Elder. 
Alternatively you could keep doing some more quests for McNaran to build
your reputation with the Brotherhood.

(Note from Nathan: Do NOT try to play both sides. It might seem like a
sly idea to do McNamara's quests, then turn the holotapes into Hardin
after you report to McNamara, but this can cause the quest to 
permanently freeze. No follow up quests, no Power Armor Training. That's
not a good thing.)
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Perform the quest and then report the holotapes to Hardin. Wait three 
days then after that talk to him again and tell him you want to join 
the Brotherhood of Steel and he will accept and give you the task to 
kill the Van Graff. Wait a bit and talk to him again and an option 
appears where you let him know you took care of the Van Graff. He will 
give you a T-45d set and Power Armor Training. You will also would have 
gotten access to the Brotherhood Safehouse as a way of thanks for 
helping him become the elder.  
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
During the quest McNaran gives you, you have to go to Repconn. Make 
sure to get the Q-35 as it is a "better" upgrade to your Plasma Rifle+, 
firing at fast speeds, doing slightly more damage and using up only one 
Microfusion cells it isn't the best EW weapon but it will remain useful 
and reliable until you can wield Plasma Caster+. 

Accessing the weapon without 100 in Science or 100 Lockpick: 
Floor 1: Take the tour. The tour guide will open the room to the 
planetarium (average locked door if you do not like the Long tour or 
the robot is dead) and go to the room back in the left. Walk upstairs 
and there is a key card for the main floor. Go back to the entrance and 
enter the room at the right (4 dead fiends in front of it) and walk up 
the stairs. Go to Floor 2.

Floor 2: In the room on the left is an easy terminal to add facial data 
recognition (optional if you have the key card). At the southwest corner
of the 2nd floor is a staircase which will guide you to Floor 3.

Floor 3: There is a Mr. Handy who asks for the password, with luck 7 you
can say Ice Cream. Otherwise you have 30 seconds to find the next key 
card (see below) before an alarm sounds, all the Mr. Handys turn 
hostile, and hostile heavy combat bots appear from hidden compartments 
in the walls. Where the roof collapsed there are lying 2 Brotherhood 
Paladins (holotape for accessing Hidden Valley) and next to the 
collapsed roof at the other side (go all the way around) is a skeleton
with a briefcase with 200 Pre war money and key card for Floor 3.

Back to Floor 2: Get to floor 2 again and find the door for floor 1 
access (not the main door). Back to Floor 1Use the keycard on the door 
and in the next room (where the floor has collapsed) walk in to it and 
in the right corner you see the Q-35 matter modulator!If you can't find 
the correct door on the 2nd door, you can also unlock the very hard door
on the main floor now with the key card to enter the same room. If you 
do not meet some of the stat/skill requirements mentioned above, you 
can simply kill all the hostile robots.If the gun is not there make 
sure to check your companions inventory as they may have taken it 
before you get to it. 
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Go to the Quartermaster in Hidden Valley and buy the T-51b set, repair
with the Brotherhood T-51b armor you got from the Elder's quest. Do not 
use the Brotherhood T-51b as it makes NCR hostile to you. Give Veronica 
the T-45d set and buy her Ballistic Fist if available. Sell whatever you
don't need like the Plasma Rifle+ since the Q-35 is better.

(Note from Nathan: If you don't care about who gets what armor, 
Veronica can wear Brotherhood T51-b Power Armor just fine without 
arousing any hostility.)
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Go to Brooks Tumbleweed Ranch, which is close to a double road that 
heads northwest from the Strip. Once you arrive at the Ranch head east 
of it and go up the hill and you should find a mercenary camp. The 
leader is carrying the YCS so use the Multiplas for quick carnage and 
get the YCS. This is going to be your main sniping weapon. 

(Note from Nathan: If you have the Wild Wasteland trait, you will find
some aliens here instead of Mercenaries. Accordingly, you will recieve
the Alien Blaster instead of the YCS/186.)
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Head to the Brotherhood Safehouse but be careful as you may encounter 
some Young Deathclaws. Snipe them with the YCS. Once in the Safehouse 
talk to Paladin Sato so he can repair everything you can at 100% 
condition. Then steal the caps back from Paladin Sato, keep trying until
you get them back. Finish repairs and re steal the caps again. You might
have to wait a few days for him to appear. Use the cot to sleep and 
drink from the water fountain but make sure you have food with you.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Go back to Good Springs and do the quests you where supposed to do a 
long time ago. First do the full tutorial and then kill Cobbs and side 
with Good Springs during the Ringo storyline. Talking to Sunny or Trudy
will let you learn about Primm. Get the parts necessary to repair E-DE: 
3 Scrap Metals, 2 Sensor Module and 1 Scrap Electronics.

(Note from Nathan: If you have a high enough Repair score, or a high
Science and moderate Repair score, you can just repair him without
using up components.) 
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Once you have these items head over to Primm enter the Mojave Express 
at your right and look at E-DE then go to the Vicky and Vance Casino a
nd talk to John Nash about E-DE. Go repair E-DE and gain it's Enhanced 
Sensors perks which is invaluable to ambush enemies or snipe them. Also
E-DE is an excellent pack mule. Have him carry most of your weight 
affecting gear and miscellaneous but try not to give him any aid 
supplies as he may end up attacking non hostile NPC.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Since you are in Primm do any quests related to it. Once you can head 
over to the NCR Correctional Facility head there and kill all the 
convicts. Talk to Meyers but tell him you will think about his 
proposition. I suggest you reverse pickpocket a Combat Armor Reinforced 
then accept his deal.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Travel to the Mojave Outpost and kill all the creatures and enemies you
can to rack up experience. Then at the Mojave talk to Mayor Knight then
get your weapons and armor repaired. Pickpocket back the caps and go 
talk to Ranger Jackson and take his quest, then talk to Ranger Ghost 
and take her quest as this will help you gain some much needed 
experience.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-If you have a Speech of 50 travel to Black Mountain and talk to the 
friendly mutant Neil and convince him to join forces with you. Proceed 
up Black Mountain and kill Super Mutants. You will be coming here often 
to grind for Caps so know the layout of the area quickly.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Carry out the Caesar quest so you can have access to Fortification Hill 
on friendlier terms. Talk to Caesar and act as you are going to do what 
he wants and he will give you the Platinum Chip. Talk to Benny on your 
way out and learn all you can.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Go to the bunker area near Caesar's Tent: Weather Monitoring Station. 
You'll get your equipment. Head on inside and do what House tells you 
and upgrade the Securitrons. Return to Caesar then kill Benny and loot 
him. Talk to Caesar again and act as if you will do what he wants.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-By now Veronica should have triggered her quest and I suggest you go do
it. At its conclusion tell her to stay so she can gain Bonds of Steel if
she gets stuck go visit Gibson's Shack re download the information, 
talk to her use the option that you completed the quest then sneak. If 
you go into Sneak and she sneaks she is following you again.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Go for the Pulse Gun quest for Veronica as it is good experience and 
because it is a great weapon against robots and people wearing PA. 
Stock up on Radaway and Rad-X because the Vault you are headed to is 
irradiated.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-(Optional for Euclid C Finder) Do the Lucky Old Sun quest and route
power to Archimides II and buy the Euclid C Finder from Max at East 
Freeside.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Make sure you are stocked up on MFC OC/MC and you are at least level 18
with an EW skill of 100 and that you have Plasma Caster+, Multiplas
Rifle and YCS/186, the Q-35 is more of a cheap reliable "sidearm" for 
the weaker enemies. Head to Silver Pike Mine and obtain the Remnants 
Helmet, be wary as you will be going up against Cazadores. My advice is 
set up your partners on aggressive and to wait a little bit off where 
the Cazadores are then YCS snipe if you can when they start to approach 
let it rip with the Plasma Caster+ and once they are close switch to the
Multiplas Rifle and VATS while leading them towards your companion's 
ambush. Silver Pike Mine is home to the Legendary Cazador so take it 
slow, slow is smooth and smooth is fast. Go to the Safehouse and get 
the Remnant Helmet repaired and hold on to it.- For the next part make 
sure you are stocked up on a LOT of MFC OC and MC. You are going up a 
buttload of Deathclaws so my advice is that to be at least level 18 with
a 100 in EW, and you have brought Plasma Caster+, Multiplas Rifle and 
YCS/186.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Travel sort of north east from Cottonwood Cove until you find the 
Cliffside Prospector Camp then head east. From here make it to the 
water by hugging the cliff and cross to the other side. Be wary of 
Lakelurkers. 
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-At the other side, you should time wait to get your partners and have 
them stay in a safe area. Clear the first area of Deathclaw by YCS 
sniping and if they discover you let then meet your Plasma Caster+ if 
they make it close pull out the Multiplas and VATS, although the Plasma 
Caster+ should make short work of them. If they get close you can 
backtrack towards the water. The Deathclaws will not go into the water 
and you can clear the area by using this tactic.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Once the first area is clear, very slowly approach the southern 
eastern area making use of cliffs and cover to snipe at the Deathclaws 
from a safe range. A safe range being that when you sneak critical one 
and go into Caution they cannot detect you, reload if this doesn't 
happen and find a better sniping position. You can then proceed to 
snipe or wait until returning to hidden status to sneak critical. Once 
you have cleared ALL the Deathclaws (they don't respawn) search the 
south eastern area for two dead prospectors one of them has the Remnant 
Armor which is what you really came for. Loot the corpses, Deathclaws 
and get the eggs in the south eastern most areas.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Then, if overloaded, walk slowly back to your companions. Spread the 
loot so you can fast travel to the Safehouse and get the Remnants Armor 
repaired. Give the Remnant set to Veronica, which along with Bonds of
Steel should have 40 DT.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------->
-Proceed with the game as you wish.

o======================================================================o
|								       |
|		      Hardcore Mode Blues {HMB001}		       |
|								       |
o======================================================================o
When I picked up the Ultimate Edition for Fallout: New Vegas, I knew I
would have to start a whole new character to write an update to this
guide.. so I figured I'd just do the whole next playthrough in Hardcore
mode, instead of just dabbling in it like I did in the original versions
of the guide. This section will give some pointers to new players, or
old players who haven't tackled hardcore mode yet. But first, a word of
encouragement; Hardcore mode isn't very hardcore. Certainly having the
Ultimate Edition to give us the ability to max all our skill points
helps, but that's besides the point. The mere fact that I don't have any
real seperate build suggestions (save the odd, optional, convenience
perk or two) for Hardcore mode gamers and normal gamers should say
plenty. Despite being tested in the Ultimate Edition, all the advice
here works just fine for the vanilla version of the game, too... just
with the limitations of a lower level cap in mind.

Survival of the Skilled						{HMB002}
o======================================================================o
If you're playing in Hardcore mode, an obvious move to make is to boost
your Survival skill score. Tag! it, and boost it to 80 as soon as 
possible. This will make the restorative effects of food and water more
potent, as well as allowing you to make superior meals at campfires.

H20								{HMB003}
o======================================================================o
Water is a constant concern in Hardcore mode, as it's the status that
degrades the fastest. If you have the Ultimate Edition installed, then
you'll start out with a Vault 13 Canteen, which you'll automatically
drink from occassionally. This mitigates-but doesn't eliminate-the need
for water. Fortunately there exist plenty of sources of clean water you
can drink-for free! In pretty much every casino in New Vegas (even the
Atomic Wrangler in Freeside) has free water, as well as the troths at
Goodsprings Source, and.. well, the whole freaking Colorado River. I
never had to worry about dehydration, and neither will you.

Food								{HMB004}
o======================================================================o
Keeping yourself fed is a secondary concern in Hardcore mode, as you'll
need food less often than water. Fortunately, getting plentiful food is
quite easy to do. There are several locations where you can find herds
of Bighorners, which can be killed by even low-level characters wielding
melee weapons. Bighorner Meat can be turned into Bighorner Steak at any
campfire, which becomes a great source of food, and healing, in a pinch.
Places to find Bighorners include; along the railroad south-east of
Goodsprings, north of Bonnie Springs, in the mountains west of New
Vegas (around Ruby Hill Mine), and around the Wrecked Highwayman south
of Novac. These aren't the only places where they can be found, and
they aren't guaranteed to be free of risk (poke around the mountains
too much and you'll certainly find Cazadors, for example), but with a
little caution Bighorners will provide for all your food needs. A
Bighorner Bull gives 50 EXP, and will often drop 3-5 pieces of meat.

Sleep								{HMB005}
o======================================================================o
Sleep is the least of our concerns, and if you find that you're failing
in Hardcore mode because of sleep deprevation.. well, then you really
just need to quit now. There are beds all over the place. The only
concern with sleeping is that passing the time raises your other needs.
So.. sleep in a hotel, a safehouse, or near the Goodsprings Source,
somewhere near water.

'Tis But a Flesh Wound..					{HMB006}
o======================================================================o
Healing in Hardcore mode is another, more serious problem. You have
plenty of ways to get food, water, and kip, but healing takes time, and
resources. You'll have to use a variety of methods to keep your health
up. These methods aren't exclusive-you'll have to be a lot more careful
when you're lower level and have fewer resources, and over time
'graduate' to simpler methods. 

  -->	First, for low level characters, just drink from a clean water
    	source. Each sip will heal you.. a tiny amount. The downsides
	are obvious, it's annoying to sit there and click fifty times
	until you're healed, and most of the safe sources of clean water
	are in towns. Cutting short your exploration is a bother.

  --> 	As you accumulate resources and levels, Bighorner Steak becomes
	a decent source of healing, as well as food. Ignore your hunger
	until you get hurt, and chow down on some steak. It'll heal
	about 50 Hit Points per steak. Not great, but a hell of a lot
	more convenient than finding water, and cheaper than a Stimpak.

  --> 	Get the Monocyte Breeder Implant. This will cause you to slowly
    	regenerate. It won't save you in a fight, but it will allow you to
    	wait and heal a bit. Also, just fast-travelling from place to
    	place will heal you. It's great supplemental healing.. if you're
    	not shot up going into a fight, chances are you won't need
	healing to stay alive.

Ammo Weight Hate						{HMB007}
o======================================================================o
One of the biggest pains of Hardcore mode is ammo weight. This is
especially damning if you use Energy Weapons, as Energy Weapon ammo just
weighs too damn much (save Electron Charge Packs). Still, how many
ranged weapons do you tend to carry around at once? Personally, I only
tend to have one-the Gobi gets everything done. The fewer different
weapons you have, the less different types of ammo you need. Just be
frugal, only take one good ranged weapon, and a moderate supply of its
ammo. This works better with the Ultimate Edition build, since we can
now freely invest in Melee Weapons and Unarmed-they don't require ammo,
and they can deal with any enemy that gets too close, eliminating any
need for a short-to-mid range alternative. Then again, in the vanilla
game everything is much more tame, so I wouldn't worry about the lack of
melee prowess too much.

And Then There Was One..					{HMB008}
o======================================================================o
When your allies bite the dust, they die for good in Hardcore Mode.
Easily one of the most annoying aspects of Hardcore Mode, there are a
few ways to mitigate ally deaths.

--> Keep healing items on your allies. It's not always convenient in a
    gun fight to run up to your buddy and tell them to heal themselves.

--> Give them the best armor. Lets face it, Enclave Armor looks stupid,
    they'll be able to wear it before you will, and nobody wants to walk
    around that slowly. Plus, unless you have the worst gaming reflexes
    ever, you'll avoid damage better than any ally will.

--> Most importantly, if you're going into a fight where you just can't
    babysit them the whole time, make them wait somewhere out of the
    fire. Hordes of Cazadors and packs of Deathclaws are usually where
    I draw the line, especially since I tend to rely on long-range
    sniping to deal with them.. or at least thin the herd.

--> Use weapons that don't inflinct collateral damage. This should be
    pretty easy, since most dangerous auto-fire weapons are low-damage,
    high DPS affairs.. which is to say, they suck against anything that
    is armored and dangerous.

First Do No Harm						{HMB009}
o======================================================================o
Doctors are an obvious source of health in the wasteland. Do not be
afraid to visit a doctor to cure your Rads or heal you. Early on, it's
easier to just pay the 50 Caps for a full healing at Goodsprings (limbs
and all) than it is to use healing items. And if you wait until your
Rad count is high (600+) it'll probably be cheaper to just pay 100 Caps
to get rid of your Rads than it is to use RadAway.

Don't Mind the Grind						{HMB010}
o======================================================================o
The higher your level, the more resources you'll have to deal with your
needs. Get your Survival skill high, and you'll need to eat less. Get
your Lockpick score high and you'll be able to get the godly Gobi. Once
you can obliterate Super Mutants, you can scourge Black Mountain for
valuable weapons. It's all got to start somewhere. Don't be afraid to
take your time, visit familiar locales for water and rest, and grind
Bighorners for food and experience.

o======================================================================o
|								       |
|			      Books {BOK001}			       |
|								       |
o======================================================================o
In this section I will list the books I have found so far in this game.
If they're not listed here, it doesn't mean they don't exist, it just
mean I have not personally found them, and hence, have no business
commenting on their locations. As a rule of thumb there are about four
of each type of book in the game, save Big Books of Science.

Big Book of Science	
o======================================================================o
[ ]	Brewer's Beer Bootlegging
	In the cellar, in the back room. The book is on a table next to
	a chemistry set.

[ ]	Camp Forlorn Hope - Camp Forlorn Hope Command Center
	In the south eastern corner of the command tent, on a table.

[ ] 	HELIOS One - HELIOS One Power Plant
	In order to get this you'll need to side with Ignacio Rivas
	during the quest 'That Lucky Old Sun' and distribute power
	evenly to all the settlements. Since the alternatives-pissing
	off the NCR or helping Fantastic-are both unsavory, this isn't
	too terrible of an option, anyways.

[ ]	Nipton - Town Hall Steyn's Office
	This book is in Steyn's Office (the room, not just the level),
	on the desk near 'Mayor Steyn's Terminal.'

[ ] 	REPCONN Headquarters - REPCONN Offices Main Level
	In the first room of the REPCONN tour you'll find a door to the
	east that leads to the Gift Shop. Inside the Gift Shop there is
	a locked [Hard] door to the north. The book is inside, on a
	metal shelf.

Chinese Army: Spec. Ops. Training Manual
o======================================================================o
[ ]	Camp Searchlight - Searchlight Church Basement
	You can find this basement within a chapel on the eastern end of
	Searchlight. The book is on the floor near some metal shelves.

[ ]	Goodsprings - Goodsprings Home
	In the house east of the Goodsprings Schoolhouse, this book is
	in the living room (in the north east corner of the area map).
	It's on a bookshelf amongst a bunch of other, mundane, books.

[ ]	NCR Sharecropper Farms - Sharecropper Barracks
	This book is in the south eastern corner of the barracks, on
	the floor near a desk, on top of some papers.

[ ]	Vault 3 - Vault 3 Living Quarters
	When entering from the Vault	 3 Entrance you'll find a locked
	door [Average] at the bottom of the staircase. Get inside and
	you'll find this book on a bookshelf near the door.

D.C. Journal of Internal Medicine
o======================================================================o
[ ]	HELIOS One - HELIOS One Power Plant
	In the upstairs bedroom, on the bed.

[ ] 	Mesquite Mountains Crater - Hell's Motel
	In the first room, this book is on a counter along the northern
	wall, behind a globe, harmonica, and an ashtray.

[ ]	Novac - Ranger Andy's Bungalow
	This book is on the bed in Ranger Andy's house.

Dean's Electronics
o======================================================================o
[ ]	Abandoned BoS Bunker - Brotherhood of Steel Bunker
	Go down the stairs and head down the tunnel to the west, taking
	the first left (south). The book is in the room at the end of
	the hall, in a niche.

	(Note: The Abandoned BoS Bunker is part of the Dead Money
	expansion. You must have this expansion installed to be able
	to get this book, although technically you can get the book
	without really starting the Dead Money questline. Alternatively,
	if you have the unpatched version of the original Fallout: New
	Vegas you can get this book, as the developers apparently forgot
	to lock the Abandoned BoS Bunker. If you do not have the Dead
	Money expansion installed, and you are playing a patched version
	of the game, you cannot get this book.. legitimately, anyways.)

[ ]	Nellis Air Force Base - Loyal's House
	You can find this book on the table along the southern side of
	the room, near a broken computer.

[ ]	Sloan - Worker Barracks
	In the Worker Barracks, on a shelf in the eastern corner. The
	book is near a radio. There is also a Duck and Cover! in the
	same room.

[ ]	Southern Nevada Wind Farm - Wind Farm Maintenance Shack
	This book is on the tables in the middle of the room.

Duck and Cover!
o======================================================================o
[ ]	Mohave Outpost - Mohave Outpost Barracks
	You'll find this guy behind the bar in the first room. It's in
	a cupboard built into the bar counter facing the door, near the
	floor.

[ ]	Nellis Air Force Base - Pearl's Barracks
	In the room with two couches you'll find a bookshelf along the
	wall to the south, south-east. The book is standing between a
	bunch of Pre-War Books. Note that this is also the shelf with
	some 40mm Grenades and a Grenade Rifle on it.

[ ]	Ranger Station Foxtrot
	This book is in the tent, on the table next to the radio.

[ ]	Sloan - Worker Barracks
	On the metal locker to the left (the unlocked one), on a shelf
	near some ruined Pre-War Books.

Grognak the Barbarian
o======================================================================o
[ ]	Cannibal Johnson's Cave
	On the corner of the mattress near the fire.

[ ]	Cottonwood Cove - Office of Aurelius of Phoenix
	In the south western corner of the room, on a bedside table.

[ ]	Hidden Supply Cave
	On top of a crate south of the first aid box.

[ ]	Jacobstown - Jacobstown Bungalow
	In front of the Jacobstown Lodge is a lake, to the east of which
	lie several bungalows. In the southern-most bungalow you'll find
	this book. It's on the floor in front of the stove, 

Guns and Bullets
o======================================================================o
[ ]	Nevada Highway Patrol Station
	Inside the station, on top of the southwestern most desk in the
	first room.

[ ]	Raul's Home
	This book is inside a wooden crate on the floor near the 
	entrance.

[ ]	Vault 34 - Armory
	In the room with the couches and pool table in the north
	eastern corner of the level. The book is on a metal object.

Lying, Congressional Style
o======================================================================o
[ ]	Brooks Tumbleweed Ranch - Tumbleweed Ranch House
	On the second floor on the shelf of a locker. 

[ ]	Lucky Jim Mine - Lucky Jim Mine House
	You can find this book in the southern corner of the house, on
	a metal shelf near the floor.

[ ]	NCR Correctional Facility - NCRCF Administration
	On the second level, in the room across from the Warden's Office
	(the room in the north eastern corner of the level.) The book is
	on a desk near a broken computer terminal.

Nikola Tesla and You
o======================================================================o
[ ]	Hidden Valley - Hidden Valley Bunker L1
	In the Surgery room where Scribe Schuler spends most of her
	time, in a plastic bin next to the desk.

[ ]	Old Nuclear Test Site - Nuclear Test Shack
	This book is on a table along the south eastern wall of the 
	shack, under another book near a Hunting Shotgun.

[ ]	REPCONN Headquarters - REPCONN Office 2nd Floor
	In the north eastern corner of the level, on a desk next to a
	terminal [Very Easy] from which you can add your facial data to
	the database for the 2nd floor.

[ ]	REPCONN Headquarters - REPCONN Office Main Floor
	In the north western corner of the level, behind a locked door
	[Very Hard]. This book is on top of a safe, amidst numerous
	Microfusion Cells. Note that it's possible to reach this room
	by going through a locked door [Hard] on the REPCONN Office 2nd
	Floor.

Pugilism Illustrated
o======================================================================o
[ ]	Fisherman's Pride Shack
	This book is in the eastern corner of the shack, on a table near
	the bed.

[ ] 	Nipton Road Reststop - Nipton Road General Store
	This book is on a wooden shelf along the southern wall.

[ ]	The Tops Casino - The Tops Presidential Suite
	In the first room you enter after taking the elevator, on a
	table in the north western corner of the room. You can get 
	access to this room by being a high-roller (win 7500 or so
	Caps at casino games) or by hearing Benny out.

[ ]	Vault 11 - Vault 11 Living Quarters
	From the door leading to Vault 11, head down the stairs into
	the first room. Head through a door to the south and go down
	some more stairs. At the bottom turn west where you'll find four
	rooms. The book is in the second room on the right, on the floor
	near an overturned dresser.

Tales of a Junktown Jerky Vendor
o======================================================================o
[ ]	Allied Technologies Offices
	In the south west corner of the level, on the floor just north
	of the Nuka-Cola Vending Machines.

[ ]	Cap Counterfeiting Shack
	Enter the Cap Counterfeiting Shack and go through a cellar door
	to reach.. well, the cellar. Go down some stairs and search the
	suitcases near the bed along the south eastern wall. This book
	is on top of one of the suitcases.

[ ]	Primm - The Bison Steve Hotel
	In the north eastern corner of the level you'll find the Gift
	Shop. The book is behind the counter, on top of a lock safe 
	[Hard].

[ ]	Vault 22 - Pest Control
	Take the Elevator down from any level to Pest Control. From 
	where you arrive head east and take the first left, which will
	take you up two flights of stairs and ultimately into a lab.
	The book is inside the lab, on a counter near a chemistry set
	along the northern end of the room.

Tumblers Today
o======================================================================o
[ ]	Bitter Springs Recreation Area - Bitter Springs Recreation 
								Office
	In the room to the south, on a desk near a paperweight and a
	broken terminal. Note that Bitter Springs and Bonne Springs are
	not the same area, and that Bitter Springs Recreation Area is
	not a sub-area of Bitter Springs. It's got its own map marker
	and everything.

[ ]	Silver Peak Mine - Silver Peak Mine Shack
	Along the northeastern wall of the shack you'll find some
	lockers. This book is inside one of the bottom lockers, near
	the floor. Note that the Silver Peak Mine itself contains the
	Remnant Helmet, which is yours for the taking.. if you're up to
	fighting some Cazadors, that is.

[ ]	The Prospector's Den
	Inside the actual den, in the middle room. The book is on the
	floor by the bed in the north eastern corner of the room.

[ ]	Wolfhorn Ranch
	Inside the ranch you you'll find this book, on the floor near 
	the fridge.

Wasteland Survival Guide
o======================================================================o
[ ]	Lone Wolf Radio
	The books is on the floor near a metal box in the back of the
	trailer, by the bed.

[ ]	Matthews Animal Husbandry Farm
	In one of the barns, on the upper level. The book is on the 
	ground near some metal boxes and a crate.

[ ]	Mosquite Mountain Camp Site
	You'll find this book inside the southern most tent, on the
	ground behind a Toolbox.

[ ]	Scavenger Platform
	In one of the shacks there is are some fallen metal shelves.
	This book is on the floor in between some of the shelves.

o======================================================================o
|								       |
|			Updates/Thanks {UPD001}			       |
|								       |
o======================================================================o
Version 1.01 Information: Completed 11/13/2010, (139,306 bytes)

o======================================================================o
To all you crazy gamers who gave me such great advice and righteously
chastised me for being ignorant, this is where you get yours. Credit
where credit is due, right? I can't pretend that I found out everything
in this guide on my own-well, I could, but then I'd be some kind of
jerk.. Anyways, this is where I thank the people who helped bring this
FAQ up to snuff, and where I make notes of the changes over the versions
so we can all see just exactly how things have changed.

Version 1.02 Notes
o======================================================================o
Immediately after GameFAQs got off of its lazy ass and posted this FAQ
(seriously, how long does it take to add a 150kb FAQ?) I was met with a
swarm of E-mails. The sheer fact that this FAQ received 13,000 hits in
two days should say enough. Sure, it might not be a viral Youtube
video, but it's certainly a faster pace than the rest of my FAQs hit.
I guess it pays to post near the game launch, eh? Some were critical,
most were complimentary, and all containing a few things I missed, 
alternative ways of doing things, or simply contrary opinions. I have 
read and responded to all the E-Mails I received (at least, to my 
knowledge anyways) and made a host of changes depending on the input 
you guys gave me. After all, the point of this FAQ isn't to necessarily 
have my ideas and my builds pushed on everybody-it is, to a large 
extent-to be accurate. Mistakes have been changed, alternative 
viewpoints considered (and added to the FAQ when they seemed to have 
merit.) However, keep in mind that the goal of this FAQ is to create a
strong character, and even if you don't follow my advice, I hope to give
you enough facts that you can make your informed decisions. Builds and
play styles are pretty personal, and you can really make arguments for
most any build. I try to be fairly neutral, but there are just some
things this guide is tailored for-which is optimal efficiency. A 
character with a lot of skills, a strong combat presence and overall
the ability to solve nearly every quest and get into nearly every
area. For this reason I tend to exclude 'niche' builds that sacrifice
playability in exchange for role-playing, or higher SPECIAL stats, or 
something else that I just don't feel coincide with the goals of this
FAQ. If you wrote me a lovely E-mail and gave me a build idea or some
other advice, that's great. The more ideas thrown at me, the better
this guide will be. If I didn't put your ideas in here, that doesn't
mean they weren't valid.. they just might not have been a good fit for
this particular FAQ and the goals set out herein. Also, when multiple
people E-mailed me about a problem, I typically credited the first
person who pointed it out.. the rest of you will just have to be 
satisfied with the fact that you're in the (and many others) category.

version 1.03 Notes
o======================================================================o
Version 1.03 is less essential of a change than Version 1.02 was. 
Honestly, V1.01 was horrible in a lot of ways. Mostly, V1.03 was adding
IssacFrosts Energy Weapons build, putting in the locations of some of
the more useful loot in the game (or at least some of the more easily
obtained loot), and correcting some information. I had lots of school
between the V1.02 and V1.03 FAQs, (being one semester away from
graduating with a BA with two minors will do that) and there were lots
of changes and errors I just didn't have time to make.. that and the
fact that I hate releasing 'minor' updates, when possible. The V1.03
FAQ just contains a lot more information on how to get your character
off the ground, and few build 'revelations', something we can all be
thankful for, I think.

5/28/2011:

It's after school, and I finally went back to pay this FAQ some
attention. I found a few problems, changed the rating of Strong Back
and Pack Rat, and added the Tough Guy earnable Perk. It's not quite 
enough of a change to warrant V1.04 (I'm saving that for when I get
around to buying some of the DLCs), but it's not insignificant enough
to ignore.

o======================================================================o
Version 1.01 to 1.02 changes: Completed 11/27/2010 (170,216 bytes)

  o=o	Fixed some bad math in the skill point section.

  o=o	Added Book information to skill point builds.

  o=o	Added some text on the effects of Charisma on companion's
	Nerve.

  o=o 	Added some generic information regarding the use of skill
	point boosting apparel.

  o=o	Changed the description and/or ratings of the Good Natured
	trait, and the Hand Loader, Ninja, and Pyromaniac perks.

  o=o 	Fixed some typos and dinosaurs.

  o=o	Vastly increased the number of books found, improved vague
	directions to books, and edited the skills section by adding
	the possible number of skill points obtained by books into
	consideration.

o======================================================================o
Version 1.02 to 1.03 changes: Completed 3/15/2011 (216,764 bytes)

  o=o	Removed the Respec exploit.

  o=o	Confirmed various exploits and glitches, hoping to avoid posting
	false info (see above.)

  o=o	Added IssacFrost's exhaustive Energy Weapons build.

  o=o   Reorganised the "Implant" section (formerly {IMPxxx} and made 
	the "Getting Started in the Mohave" section {MOHxxx} in its 
	place.

  o=o	Added numerous weapon and armor locations, for those of you who
	hear of all the weapons the various builds talk about, but have
	no clue have to find them.

  o=o   Added the 'Tough Guy' Perk.

  o=o	Removed the Intensive Training (Luck) pick as the first Perk.
	I've long since been using Black Widow, instead. Also, with a
	starting Luck of 9, an implant, and Intensive Training, how do
	I end up with 10 Luck? That's right, the max is 10, and 9 + 2
	doesn't equal 10. (Note: Intensive Training is still a decent
	Perk pick at level 2, but with a starting Luck of 9, it's not
	what I'm looking for.)

  o=o	Re-rated the Strong Back and Pack Rat perks, due to their
	helpfulness in Hardcore mode games where the goal is to actually
	play-not just beat-the game.

  o=o	Edited the 'Four Eyes' trait, due to user feedback revealing 
	that it is really not a good idea to pick with this build.

o======================================================================o
Version 1.03 to 1.04 changes: Completed 11/22/2012 (229,080 bytes)

  o=o	Fixed a few typos/over margin sentences.. you know, general
	editing stuff.

  o=o   Changed the word 'grade' with 'rating', as it makes me seem like
	less of a professor-douche. Grades seem more objective, ratings
	seems more subjective, and all that.

  o=o	Added the 'Hardcore Mode Blues' section, to give some pointers
	on surviving in Hardcore mode.

  o=o	Added the 'Why Get the Monocyte Breeder Implant' subsection to
	(belatedly) defend my decision to get that implant.

  o=o	Added a few things I had missed previously-a book or two and
	Traits, mostly. These were discovered while doing the Ultimate
	Edition version update, but they pertain to this version as
	well.

o======================================================================o
Special Thanks to:						{UPD002}

  o=o	My fiancť, for dutifully hovering around as I wrote this FAQ,
	created build after build, and always told her 'this is the 
	last one'. She really helped morale by telling me she was going
	to wait 'until I figured it out' before she made a character.
	She has, as of yet, to bother playing the game.

  o=o 	Shimagami, (and many others) for pointing out that the Good 
	Natured trait is can be exploited to score some extra skill 
	points.

  o=o	David Streitman (and many others) for pointing out the fact
	that I left a reference to Rivet City in the guide.

  o=o	Sean Johnson, for pointing out that I was a moron for making a
	Guns build without the Hand Loader perk, and for pointing out
	that the Sniper Rifle owns the Anti-Material Rifle.

  o=o	Adam Lowe, for pointing out a problem with my Charisma score
	in the build.

  o=o	Keith Causin, for pointing out exactly what Charisma does in
	regards to companion's nerve. Also for putting forward the idea
	of wearing clothes to boost checked skills, grabbing the
	Pyromaniac perk to boost the Shishkebab-melee build, and for
	pointing out some problems with the Ninja perk.

  o=o	Leon Kennedy, for saying that my guide was "more helpful" than
	the official guide, and for giving me the locations of all the
	books in the game. What a great guy!

  o=o	Mark, for pointing out a infinite experience glitch.
	Hey, it never hurts to stay informed, right?

  o=o	Paul Williamson, for also showing me where all the books were
	located. Sometimes it just helps getting two descriptions of
	where something is to find it.

  o=o   Roberto Moutran, for telling me that you can grab some Combat
	Armor at Durable Dunn's Sacked Caravan on your way to New
	Vegas.

  o=o   Mr. Galindo, for pointing out a contradiction with the Luck 
	attribute in the build and in the descriptive paragraph for
	Luck.

  o=o	Mr. J. Kelemen, for letting me know that the 'Four Eyes' perk
	is really not a good investment with my build. To be fair,
	there's a reason it was given a two-star rating (as compared to
	Small Frame, which got a five-star), but for not checking
	myself and warning the rest of you that picking 'Four Eyes' is
	essentially choosing to lower your Perception by one point for
	determining what perks you can choose, I apologize.

  o=o	Ken Egervari, for valiantly defending the Brush Gun, Jury
	Rigging, and for doing stellar statistical work breaking down
	the damage of the better weapons in the game to show which ones
	were up to snuff. For more information than my guide offers on
	weapons, check out his FAQ on Gamefaqs.com. My FAQ will tell
	you what weapons to build your character around, but his tells
	you why.

http://www.gamefaqs.com/xbox360/959557-fallout-new-vegas/faqs/61255

  o=o	IssacFrost, for his continued correspondance following from
	Fallout 3 to Fallout: New Vegas. Both of our tentative 
	pre-release builds for this game weren't able to hold water in
	the end, but it was still extremely valuable to have somebody
	to bounce ideas off of. Also, he deserves a medal for his
	submission of his own Energy Weapons build. Again, here's his
	email so you can contact him directly about his build: 
	issacfrost (at) gmail (dot) com

			   ***END OF FILE***