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Starting SPECIAL

STR 5, PER 5, END 5, CHA 1, INT 10, AGL 5, LUK 9 (Same as 10 when it comes to skill points)

Now you can improve your SPECIAL stats in the following ways;

STR: +1 Implant
PER: +1 Trait (Four Eyes) +1 Implant
END: +1 Perk (Intense Training) +1 Implant
CHA: +0
INT: +0
AGL: +1 Trait (Small Frame) +1 Implant
LUK: +0

Now with these base stats you get the following skill points;

60 Skill points for the first 4 levels until you get the Educated Perk.
15 Skill points for the Tag Skill perk if you choose to take it.
442 Skill points for the next 26 levels.
A total of 517 skill points.

With the following stats all skills will start at 17 with the exception of Barter and Speech which will be at 9 and Medicine which will me at 27.

You will gain additional 16 skill points to each skill with the exception of Explosives from skill books.

With all that you still need 861 skill points to max out your character. Since we know we can only get 517 skill points in the game that makes us short of 344 skill points.

Now to my question, are my analysis correct and you cannot max out your character Abilities and Skills or am I missing something?

NOTE: This character configuration makes the game extra hard when playing on Hardcore mode especially at the beginning of the game!

Thank You.

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3  
@John - I gotta ask, why the bounty? –  LessPop_MoreFizz Mar 7 '11 at 22:53
2  
@LessPop: The bounty was to award @capn more than just an upvote. His answer is considerably better than my own (which was accepted), and deserves more than just 10 rep. So I gave an upvote and a 50-point bounty. As far as I'm concerned, it was rep spent well! :) –  John Rudy Apr 7 '11 at 2:20

7 Answers 7

up vote 43 down vote accepted
+50

I think you chose to lower the wrong stat.

Initial

S - 1  (Melee+2)
P - 5  (Ener+10, Lock+10, Expl+10)
E - 6  (Surv+12, Unarm+12)
C - 5  (Bart+10, Spch+10)
I - 10 (Med+20, Repr+20, Sci+20)
A - 5  (Guns+10, Sneak+10)
L - 8  (ALL +4)

SPECIAL TOTAL: +208

Also, all skills initially start at 2, so don't forget the extra (13*2)=+26 points]

Reasoning

Strength only controls Melee whereas Charisma controls Speech and Barter, resulting in a difference of 22(i.e. 2+10+10) - 14(i.e. 10+2+2) = 8. Luck at 9 will give the max of +5 to all skills, but that can be taken care of with an Implant later on, leaving more room to play with other skills via SPECIAL or Intense Training.

Traits

Add the two traits (Although you need to constantly find and wear glasses to keep you perception at 6 instead of 4 before any Intense Training or Implant).

This will add +10 skill points [PER(6) = 2 Ener + 2 Lock + 2 Expl) + (AGL(4) = 2 Guns + 2 Sneak)

Tags

Tag three skills (does not matter which I don't think) for another +45

Skill Books Assuming 4 skill books per skill (4*3*13= +156)

Perks

Taking Educated at level 4 will net you a total of +32 skill points until level 20.

Taking Comprehension before you read ANY skill books will net you an extra +52 (1*13*4) skill points (assuming 4 skill books per skill).

Taking Tag! will net you another +15

Intense Training

This is the only other perk that will grant you more skill points; via SPECIAL.

I recommend 3 for P erception (with an Implant and Four Eyes will max to ten) since that controls three skills (3*2*3 = +18).

Mix 4 more among E ndurance, C harisma, or A gility; since P and I are maxed, S only controls 1 skill, and Luck will be maxed out skill wise via implant. (4*2*2= +16).

Remember: Distribute elsewhere if a skill is already at 9, implants will take each to 10 later on.

Note: This covers ALL of the perks you will get through level 20.

Implants

Only the implants that affect SPECIAL will raise skill points.

Remember: You will need 6 Endurance for 6 implants.

S (+2)
P (+6)
E (+4)
C (+4)
I (*MAXED*)
A (+4)
L (+13) [+1 to ALL 13 skills when luck goes from 8->9]

Total: +33

Level Ups

After already accounting for Educated and with INT at 10 you are left with 15 points per level for 19 more levels with (19 * 15) = +285.

Remember: Only distribute a maximum of 57 (including any additional tag value) to a single skill (Dead Money: 53), because of points gained via skill books (16[DM: 20]) and the on the corresponding maxed SPECIAL and 9 Luck (27) value.

Initial: 234
+ Traits: 10
+ Tags:   45
+ Books: 156
+ Perks:  99
+ Train:  34
+ Implnt: 33
+ Lvl:   285
____________
         896

Which is 404 below the maximum of 1300 (100*13).

Dead Money

Adds 5 more levels and 13 more skill books.

5*17 = 85
4*13 = 52

And two more chances at Intense Training for E, C, or A = (2*2*2) = 8

Adding another +145 skill points.

Edit

I thought about it again and made some changes regarding luck, and some other things that were wrong.

Edit 2

This is going to end up being stupid long, but yes you can reach Max Skill Stats using clothing (which I kind of did already by relying on the 4 eyes perk) and skill magazines (utilizing the already added Comprehension perk) and you have the Dead Money DLC.

From the top:

You these two Traits:

  1. Small Frame
  2. Four Eyes

You need these three pieces of Clothing:

  1. The Followers Lab Coat
  2. Lucky Shades
  3. Motorunners Helmet

You need these Perks:

  1. Educated (must be taken at level 4, when you first can access it)
  2. Comprehension (must be taken before ANY skill books are read)
  3. Tag! (can be distributed to whatever you need at the time)
  4. Intense Training * 10
    • You can get it 2 additional times during DM
    • Use only on P, E, C, and A
    • Only use it on P once

This leaves 4 available perks.

Total = Floor(35/2) = 17

17 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 10 = 4

This also assumes ALL of the skill books from New Vegas AND Dead Money. There are conflicting reports of one more Big Book of Science and one less Wasteland Survival guide. I will take that into consideration, but in the end it doesn't matter too much.

Initial -> Trait -> Clothing -> Implant -> Training

S - 1                                          -> Implant +1             :  2
P - 5 -> 4-E -1 -> LukyShds +3 -> MotosHelm +1 -> Implant +1 -> Train +1 : 10
E - 7                                          -> Implant +1 -> Train +2 : 10
C - 5                                          -> Implant +1 -> Train +4 : 10
I - 10                                                                   : 10
A - 5 -> S-F +1 ->                             -> Implant +1 -> Train +3 : 10
L - 7           -> LukyShds +1                 -> Implant +1             :  9

I'll show the progression from least distributable points (skill dependent items or SPECIAL) to most distributable points (Tags and Level Ups). Note that this is out of any kind of in game chronological order, and I'm leaving out most of the step by step how to do it in a game (I'm not really up to writing a walk-through just yet).

This will establish a base on how to distribute the tags and leveling up points in game.

Initial -> Trait -> Implant -> Lucky Shades -> Moto's Helm -> Lab Coat -> Training : Skill Book

I'm doing it in this order so that I can do the Luck +1 ALL when adding on the Lucky Shades. Luck going from 7->8 doesn't effect any of the skills but I'm still counting that it happened during the add implants phase.

Skill = 2 + (Stat * 2) + Ceil(Luck/2)

My order of intense training is pretty arbitrary, but I need something solid here to base everything else off of. So I'm just doing top-down P, E, C, A. Everything will end up at 80 in the end (with some left over). But there is definitely room for variation in getting there within those 4 categories.

C - Barter - 16       -> 18 -> 19             -> 27 : 47
P - Energy - 16 -> 14 -> 16 -> 23 -> 25       -> 27 : 47
P - Explos - 16 -> 14 -> 16 -> 23 -> 25       -> 27 : 47
A - Guns   - 16 -> 18 -> 20 -> 21             -> 25 : 45
P - LockPk - 16 -> 14 -> 16 -> 23 -> 25       -> 27 : 47
I - Med    - 26             -> 27       -> 37       : 57
S - Melee  - 10       -> 12 -> 13 -> 18             : 38
I - Repair - 26             -> 27                   : 47
I - Scienc - 26             -> 27       -> 37       : 61
A - Sneak  - 16 -> 18 -> 20 -> 21             -> 25 : 45
C - Speech - 16       -> 18 -> 19             -> 27 : 47
E - Surviv - 20       -> 22 -> 23             -> 27 : 43
E - Unarm  - 20       -> 22 -> 23             -> 27 : 47
---------------------------------------------------------
                                                     618

To get all of the skills up to 80 (the effective maximum with skill magazines) you need (80*13)=1040 points.

The current base after all of the non-distributable points have been established is shown to be 618.

1040 - 618 = 422

Subtract the following:

Points you get from level ups through 25 (includes DM and Educated Perk): -402

Points you get from 4 tags (includes the Tag! Perk): -60

And you end up with 42 points to distribute as you see fit after each skill is at 80.

C - Barter - 47           -> Need 33
P - Energy - 47           -> Need 33
P - Explos - 47           -> Need 33
A - Guns   - 45 -> Tag 60 -> Need 20
P - LockPk - 47           -> Need 33
I - Med    - 57           -> Need 23
S - Melee  - 38 -> Tag 53 -> Need 27
I - Repair - 47           -> Need 33
I - Scienc - 61           -> Need 19
A - Sneak  - 45 -> Tag 60 -> Need 20
C - Speech - 47           -> Need 33
E - Surviv - 43 -> Tag 58 -> Need 22
E - Unarm  - 47           -> Need 33
-------------------------------------
                             Need 362 from leveling

Again this is an effective maximum at 80, because you can get to 100 if you need to via a skill magazine. This is all theoretical, and probably a hard build, because you need to get into Caesar's safe house to get the lucky shades AND for the most part you're walking around with a Strength of 1 or 2. There is some fine tuning that could be made, but that is neither here nor there, in the end it is possible using this definition of a "Max Stats".

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6  
+1 for the insane amount of math and effort put into this :) –  PeterK Feb 16 '11 at 12:58
    
+1 for nice work and love for detail.. –  DrFish Mar 9 '11 at 10:21
    
+1 for effort and fantastic answer. –  Fishcake Mar 9 '11 at 14:44
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+50 for the awesome answer. Your answer was the reason I added the bounty; I just forgot to award it the next day. :) –  John Rudy Mar 13 '11 at 0:27
2  
How do I start a bounty to update this answer with new info from the Old World Blues DLC? –  David Krider Jul 20 '11 at 16:30

Correct, at least without using mods or console commands. Making the game more challenging than Fallout 3, throughout all 30 levels of your character, was one of Obsidian's goals when designing New Vegas. In Fallout 3, while maxing out everything was fairly difficult, it was not uncommon to (by level 30, with the right build) have almost all skills at 100. At that point, you were pretty much an unstoppable murder machine who ate super mutant behemoth heads for breakfast. (In Fallout 3, some of the new monsters with the Brotherhood add-on were designed entirely for the purpose of providing some challenge at high levels -- albino radscorpions, feral ghoul reavers, etc. I can vouch for reavers having made it to New Vegas.)

That's part of why perks were returned to being every two levels instead of every level, some of them were adjusted (EG, Grim Reaper's Sprint now only restores a certain number of AP, instead of all of them), skills were adjusted, the skill point allocation was adjusted and a variety of other tweaks were made.

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Do you have any links to resources for creating one of the F3 "unstoppable murder machine" builds you mentioned? –  Steve V. Jan 14 '11 at 2:58
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@Steve: Truthfully, no. I just remember that in all of my playthroughs of F3, I had 100 on every skill I used (guns, energy weapons, big guns, sneak, lockpick, science, medicine) and most of the others by level 30. Some of that came from perks -- F3 had a lot of perks that gave you skill points. That, and finding (and using) high-powered unique weapons and armor kept me safe from everything except Reavers and Albino Radscorpions -- which were relatively easily dispatched with the unique Gatling Laser (don't recall its name) and a few stimpacks. –  John Rudy Jan 14 '11 at 18:17

This is calculated with the Dead Money DLC, which raises the level cap to 35:

Starting Stats

  • Strength: 1
  • Perception: 5
  • Endurance: 6
  • Charisma: 5
  • Intelligence: 10
  • Agility: 5
  • Luck: 8

Skill Books add +3 to a given skill. There are currently 5 skill books for each skill. You need the Comprehension perk (accessible with 4 Intelligence) to add an additional +1 to the +3 you get from the Skill Books. You also need the Educated perk (which you get at level 4), which adds +2 skill points to your total. Also, if selected, the additional Tag! perk adds 15 to any selected skill.

Barter             16                        + 5 skill books (+20) = 36x     
Energy Weapons     16                        + 5 skill books (+20) = 36x
Explosives         16                        + 5 skill books (+20) = 36x
Guns               16                        + 5 skill books (+20) = 36x
Lock pick          16 + Tag skill (+15) = 31 + 5 skill books (+20) = 51
Medicine           26 + Tag skill (+15) = 41 + 5 skill books (+20) = 61x
Melee Weapons       8                        + 5 skill books (+20) = 28
Repair             26                        + 5 skill books (+20) = 36x
Science            26 + Tag skill (+15) = 41 + 5 skill books (+20) = 61x
Sneak              16                        + 5 skill books (+20) = 36x
Speech             16 + Tag skill (+15) = 31 + 5 skill books (+20) = 51
Survival           18                        + 5 skill books (+20) = 38
Unarmed            18                        + 5 skill books (+20) = 38   

1- 28 skills which needs 72 points to reach 100

6- 36 skills which needs 64 points to reach 100

2- 38 skills which needs 62 points to reach 100

2- 61 skills which needs 39 points to reach 100

72 + (6*64) + (2*62) + (2*39) = 658
72 + 384 + 124 + 78 = 658 

So with that you need 658 skill points to max out. For the first 4 levels you will receive 15 skill points per level (60 skill points) until you get the Educated perk, after which you will receive 17 skill points per level (527 skill points), totaling 587 skill points at the level cap of 35. This means you will currently be off 71 skill points to max out.

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+1 for a different breakdown based on individual skills, I'll try to compare notes later to see if the numbers mesh up (at least we do on the starting stats :), I'm still not sure if there is any advantage to tagging specific skills other than character preference yet. I don't think there is, but using specifics seems to visualize it better. –  capn Feb 16 '11 at 22:08

Yes you can TOTALLY MAX OUT your skill & SPECIAL stats simultaneously but only temporarily (see below).

No, as it stands there is no obvious way to max your skill & SPECIAL stats permanently (i.e. Without specific clothing or aids), unless you cheat. Pretty much the closest you can come is:

  • Strength 6
  • Perception 10
  • Endurance 9
  • Charisma 4
  • Intelligence 10
  • Agility 9
  • Luck 9

Skills: Total 1124 points; skill points average per skill: 86.46, or in theoretical terms you can permanently max 11 skills (Figures are 1261 total / 97.00 average / 12 theoretically maxed with dlc - see below for breakdown).

Traits: small frame (agility +1) & good natured (though you could use Four eyes but see comments below post first).

Perks: the above figures include using all 10 intense training perk ranks (as shown below), taking educated as your perk at level 4 (adding +2 skill pts for each of the next 26 levels = 52), taking comprehension before you read any skill books (51 books (Remember there's only 3 for explosives) x 4 pts each = 204) and taking tag! To boost another skill by 15. That leaves you with two free perks!

Implants: You will need to buy all available S.P.E.C.I.A.L implants except for the intelligence one at a cost of 24,000 caps. To get your implants early, grab the snow globe in Goodsprings cemetery and head to vegas med centre via Lucky 38 from the monorail after using a stealth boy to sneak past the deathclaws outside the city (see youtube "implants at level 1")...Or, if you want them all now...Cheat with the Rebuild glitch which will net you; pretty much infinite ammo, 30-35 levels, 28-32 perks, 979 skill points, 51 SPECIAL points and well over 80,000 caps enabling you to buy all implants in one go at the start of the game.

How to allocate your SPECIAL points:

             Start              
Strength       5                (+1 implant)
Perception     6    (+3 train)  (+1 implant)
Endurance      7    (+1 train)  (+1 implant)
Charisma       1    (+2 train)  (+1 implant)
Intelligence  10
Agility        6    (+2 train)  (+1 implant)
Luck           6    (+2 train)  (+1 implant)

Your intelligence must be level 10 from the off as this gives you 15 skill points per level as opposed to 10 (at int 5).

You only need 9 luck to get the maximum + 5 increase to every skill stat but crucially, it doesn't matter too much if you get it early because unlike intelligence it's not level dependent. Having a high endurance is important because it enables you to have more implants and sooner. In this build an END of at least 8 allows you to have 8 Implants which means you can get the sub dermal armour and monocyte breeder implants as well as your six SPECIAL boosting ones. Increasing Endurance also gives you a higher health stat and more poison and radiation resistance

The builds in the other posts here that use a starting stat for Strength of 1 don't account for the fact that this makes the game frustratingly hard to play in that you won't meet the strength requirements for most of the weapons, your unarmed damage will be minimal and you won't be able to carry much stuff, you'll be over encumbered at every turn. Though it influences 2 skills as opposed to one use Charisma as your low stat (You're only sacrificing about 8 skill points and the game is MUCH more playable). Obviously my build is a compromise in certain areas (lack of perks unless you cheat!). One for the stat seekers... Or those who have used the rebuild glitch in Goodsprings.

Though there is some good work there is also a lot of confusion in the other posts here and consequently some poor advice and misinformation. Understandably so as it is a complicated equation.

Below is a points breakdown of the figures in my build.

At SPECIAL stat 1 you do not start on 2 skill points for each associated skill. *The starting skill stat at SPECIAL stat 1 is 7 skill points*.

7 is the base stat for all skills at SPECIAL level 1. So 7x13 = 91.

Allocated points at the start (see table above) give you (From SPECIAL base stat - Level 1):

S +4 gives you another 8 pts.

P +5 gives you another 30 pts.

E +6 gives you another 24 pts.

C +0 gives you nuttin.

I +9 gives you another 54 pts.

A +5 gives you another 20 pts. (Inc. Small Frame Perk)

L +5 gives you another 39 pts. (That's the +3 increase x 13 skills)

Intense Training as shown in the table above nets you:

P +3 gives you another 18 pts.

E +1 gives you another 4 pts.

C +2 gives you another 8 pts.

A +2 gives you another 8 pts.

L +2 gives you another 26 pts.

(At Int 10) 30 levels x 15 skill points = 450.

Taking Educated at level 4 gives you 26 levels x 2 extra points = 56.

Tagging FOUR skills gives you 4x15 = 60.

51 Skill books at 4 points (Comprehension) each is 4x51 = 204.

Implants as shown above will net you another 24 pts total.

Total = 1124

The figures above do not include the other 5 levels worth of points from dlc level cap increase. (basically (17pts × 5 levels = 85 skill points) + (13 books x 4pts each = 52 skill points) = 137 skill points total plus 2 more perks, I think).

So including DLC at 137 total pts means:

Grand Total = 1261.

That's 39 skill points short of max. (13 SPECIAL points short of max).

So, you can get your permanent skill and S.P.E.C.I.A.L point totals slightly higher than I've shown above (by 2 or 10-20 pts in total respectively) but not quite to the perfect 70 or 1300 pt ceilings... BUT... you could use a few skill magazines to temporarily boost your skill stats to max. At the same time if you eat Big Horner Steak, take Buffout, chew cayote tobacco, drink Absinthe and Beer and wear some naughty nightwear all your special stats would be 10 and after one hell of a party you'd be TOTALLY MAXED!...at least until the morning after ;)

Simples!...Or maybe not. Now you have to ensure you allocate all your points in the right order so you don't end up wasting the skill specific ones... but that's another story.

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Good Natured is a zero sum trait. It's not effective at getting max stats, it only helps if you're trying to get a good natured build. –  capn Mar 9 '11 at 19:38
    
The only trait (apart from small frame) that gives you a skill or S.P.E.C.I.A.L stat boost is four eyes and I don't class that as a permanent stat boost as it depends on you limiting your play to wearing a specific item of clothing and if you don't wear glasses you suffer a -1 penalty to P, thereby lowering your stats. So essentially it's as neutral as Good natured. Good natured is a more solid, versatile choice imo. If you follow my post you'll end up with a permanent 10 P anyway. Also I think that most glasses will boost your Perception by +2 even without four eyes. See Joe's post above. –  TheOmegaApproach Mar 10 '11 at 22:05

Not sure exactly but if you take skill books into account with the comprehension perk it's possible to obtain a total of 208 skill points which is 16 skill points for each skill so if it's possible to get all skills at least up to 84 each it would be possible to raise the rest using the skill books. According to the vault, fallout wiki the total skill points you can get is 1075 I don't know if that includes skill books though.

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The 'Four Eyes' perk has a major downside -- it's actually that glasses do +2, and you're always at -1; this can be significant, as any perks that have a requirement on perception will use one less than whatever you select in your initial build.

You can also keep spending your perks on Intense Training (Intelligence) at lower levels, so you're getting more skill points per level ... you didn't say what your initial Int was, but I'm thinking it's about 6, based on the other numbers. I haven't done the math, but even with that, I don't think it's enough to max out, but you'd be able to get closer to maxed out skills.

You'd be at more of a disadvantage early on, but I'd redo the math with a higher initial INT, and taking Intense Training (Luck) to get your skills up later, or Tag! to get the extra 15 skill points.

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Sorry I missed the INT, I have it at 10 from the start. Also my luck is 9 from the start as well and increasing it to 10 later or even starting with 10 will not add to skill points due to rounding. I am looking into the Tag Skill Perk, that would add an additional 15 points to a skill. Also there is the question of what skills are the most beneficial and should be increased early on vs. later in the game... –  Lukasz Nov 8 '10 at 19:54
1  
@sarge That is demonstrably untrue. Adding to Int after character creation does indeed increase skill points gained per level. –  LessPop_MoreFizz Nov 8 '10 at 20:06
1  
@lesspop then my copy of the 360 version has a bug in it as my int is now 8 and i still only generate 14 skill points plus the 2 from the perk I took at level 6 or 8, can't remember right now. –  user4139 Nov 9 '10 at 0:47
3  
@sarge each point of Int is only worth half a skill point in FO:NV. Half skill points are held until the subsequent level. –  LessPop_MoreFizz Nov 9 '10 at 1:27
    
@lesspop i raise my int once with the intense training perk and once with the implant, and that should be netting me one extra skill point per level? what is generating the other 11 skill points per level? Also deleteing the earlier comment as i was wrong. –  user4139 Nov 9 '10 at 3:00

At Level 45, I have every stat except unarmed at 100. Lonesome Road adds 5 levels and that will be more than enough to max me out. This is counting me NOT getting all of the Dead Money Skill Books, Honest Hearts Skill Books, or Old World Blues Skill Books (recipes pending). I could have been easily maxed out by 45 if I had accounted for these, but I only made the character to replace my main (corrupt character/game-breaking glitch), only to play HH.

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protected by Kevin Y Jul 21 '11 at 20:52

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