Fallout 2 uses the S.P.E.C.I.A.L characteristics for creating your character. It refers to Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck. These basic stats determine your skills and perks.
There are 18 different skills in the game and they have a rating of between 0% and 300%. When you create a character and level up you’ll be assigned skill points to improve these skills. The higher your Intelligence the more skill points you’ll be given. You can tag three of these skills. Tagged skill increase at twice the normal rate.
Influences melee damage and how much you can carry. Weapons also have a minimum strength requirement to be used effectively. There are ways to increase your strength during the game and Advanced Power Armor increases your strength by 4 so it’s generally not recommended to put more than 6 into Strength.
If you’re planning on using ranged weapons then make sure you have good Perception. It determines accuracy when firing and you’ll be able to hit enemies from further away. Perception also determines your chance of detecting traps. Perception can be increased by up to 2 points during the game.
Endurance determines your starting HP and how many HP you get per level. This stat determines your resistances and healing rate. I’d recommend leaving this at about 4 or 5 unless you’re playing a purely melee character.
Charisma modifies a few things in the game, including how many followers you can have, NPC reactions towards you and trade prices. If you have a high Charisma you’re less likely to offend NPCs when talking to them. This is an important stat if you want to play the game diplomatically. Charisma can be increased by up to 3 points during the game and taking Mentats will increase Charisma by 1 temporarily.
Intelligence is one of the more important stats as it determines how many skill points you’ll get per level. It also opens new lines of dialogue and sometimes gives you other options to solve quests. Taking Mentats will increase Intelligence by 2 temporarily.
Agility determines the number of action points available to spend each round of combat. A high Agility means you can move further and fire of more attacks each round. Agility can be gained by taking Buffout or Psycho. You can also take the Gain Agility perk for an extra +1.
Luck affects critical hit chances and critical failures. It also determines your initial Gambling skill. It affects what kind of encounters you’ll come across in the wilderness and modifies all kinds of events during the game. Luck is usually not that important in RPG games but Fallout 2 is a little different. Luck can be increased by visiting the Hubologists in NCR or San Francisco or by taking the Gain Luck perk.
List of Skills
Just like Fallout you can find books. When you read them your skills will improve. Books should be used early on in the game because they can’t increase your skills above 91%. Vault City and San Fransisco are good places to start looking for books.
When you create your character you may give them two optional traits. Each trait often comes with a beneficial effect as well as a detrimental effect. The “Jinxed” trait for example will cause all of your enemies to have a greater chance critical failures when attacking. The downside is that you’ll be more likely to have critical failures as well.
Some of the better traits to choose are Gifted, which increases all of your base stats by 1, Finesse for increased critical hits chance but lower damage and Good Natured if you like the peaceful approach to solving quests.
Perks are granted when you level up at intervals of 3 levels, 4 if you have the “Skilled” trait. Perks always give you a benefit, such as more action points or taking less damage during combat. Some of the better perks to choose are Awareness to see the hit points of NPCs, More Criticals and Action Boy for extra action points.