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I'm asking because it's becoming increasingly difficult to deal with Death claws and I really want to experiment on various other perks. Does it have something to do with the story?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

20 is the forced cap on levelling for Fallout 3.

It can be expanded to level 30 by purchasing the Broken Steel DLC.

As for dealing with Deathclaws,

get crafting the Dart Gun and immobilise them from afar.

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ah,I've been assuming the Dart gun to be an ineffective weapon, thanks! –  warun Nov 11 '11 at 14:32
    
It's not about the damage. It cripples limbs - particularly legs - so that the enemy can't run after you. After paralysing, switch to your blaster of choice. –  Gary Nov 11 '11 at 14:34
    
oh, I'll keep that in mind. –  warun Nov 11 '11 at 14:37
    
And hang on to your fat boys for them specifically. I <3 that little guy. –  Yatrix Nov 11 '11 at 16:26
4  
The only problem with being conservative with the Fat Boys is - when to use them! I realised I was stockpiling them for a rainy day and they lay unused in my house. So I created a rainy day. –  Gary Nov 11 '11 at 19:30
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