I tried to figure out the builds and perks of the Fallout TV show's protagonists

Vault Boy illustrates a selection of perks
(Image credit: Bethesda)

When I watched Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, I spent half the movie trying to figure out everyone's subclass and abilities. (Clearly, the DM house-ruled how many times a druid can use wildshape per day.) I can't help it, there's a part of my brain that thinks about everything in game terms. I couldn't even watch Game of Thrones without analyzing the Battle of Winterfell as if it was a game of Warhammer

It's particularly bad with videogame adaptations, which beg for this kind of thinking—and none more than Amazon's Fallout series, which feels remarkably true to the games. I half suspect the series bible includes character sheets for all the protagonists, complete with tagged skills, perks, and full SPECIAL stats. Since I don't have access to that, I've just had to base mine on what we see on-screen during the first season. 

Lucy McClean, Vault Dweller

During Lucy's first scene she helpfully lists three of her best skills: Repair, Science, and Speech. It would be easy to put those down as her three tagged skills and move on, but she goes on to say, "I also participate in Gymnastics Club, Fencing Team C, Intermediate Phys-Ed, and I dabble in Riflery, though I'm not very good." During the montage we see her win a wrestling competition, and she demonstrates above average hand-to-hand combat skills when fighting a bunch of Vault dwellers later in the series, so her Unarmed skill should be right up there. How did she get such a wide spread of abilities?

By taking the Skilled trait, which gives bonuses to all skills across the board at the cost of slowing down perk progression later on—a classic noob trap that's not worth it in the actual games. Lucy definitely took the Daddy's Girl perk from Fallout 3 as well. As she says when discussing her Science skills, "Obviously, mine are nothing compared to my dad's, but I always relish a challenge!" 

The Daddy's Girl perk bumps your starting scores in Science and Medicine, and is called Daddy's Boy if you play a feller. It comes from Fallout 3, where you leave the Vault you grew up in on a quest to find your missing father who turns out to have kept some secrets from you and is revealed to not entirely be the man you thought he was. Sound familiar?

(Image credit: Amazon)
  • AGILITY: 5
  • LUCK: 5

Traits/Perks: Skilled, Daddy's Girl
Tagged skills: Repair, Speech, Unarmed

The Ghoul

During the pre-war flashbacks spread throughout season one, Cooper Howard shows off a high Charisma and decent Speech skill. When we see him as The Ghoul? Not so much. In that timeline he spends most of his time dispatching people in the goriest ways imaginable. He took the Bloody Mess trait for sure, and given how often he gets the drop on his opponents, I say he took the Action Boy perk at a level-up along with a whole suite of New Vegas shootybang buffs. For a second trait, let's give him Chem Resistant, as demonstrated in the scene where he shrugs off a tranquilizer dart.

Apart from the obvious facility with Guns he sure can lasso people, so let's throw Melee Weapons in as another tagged skill, and Outdoorsman (renamed Survival in the later games) to round him out. Dang, this is making me wish there was an option to play a ghoul in the videogames. 

(Image credit: Amazon)
  • AGILITY: 10
  • LUCK: 5

Traits/Perks: Bloody Mess, Chem Resistant, Action Boy, Cowboy, Gunslinger, Quick Draw
Tagged skills: Guns, Melee Weapons, Outdoorsman/Survival 

Maximus, Brotherhood Initiate

During his training at the Brotherhood of Steel we see Maximus receive a hell of a beating, and then endure being branded when he becomes a squire without screaming in pain. Later on he takes a bullet in the arm without complaint. "Flesh is weak, but steel endures." Endurance definitely seems like his defining stat. 

Intelligence, less so. He can't tell a circuit from a "rooter", though he does identify the power armor model as T-60 on-sight. He's got his priorities. And he can shoot a gun. He makes a called shot on a yao guai's eyes, so let's give him a decent Perception and the Finesse trait for a 10% bonus to his Critical Chance score.

Maximus's main ability, however, is his ability to carry a knight's heavy equipment around. He's got the Strong Back perk for sure, which seems like the main qualification for being a Brotherhood squire. Book smarts are a lower priority, though you do need to be able to polish a power armor codpiece until it gleams. Let's be generous and count that as Repair.

(Image credit: Amazon)
  • AGILITY: 4
  • LUCK: 3

Traits/Perks: Finesse, Strong Back
Tagged skills: Athletics, Guns, Repair 

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.