I want to start the campaign again using melee and some ranged such as explosives, but I don't know how to use it, what perks to use and the best armour.

Is it viable, and, if it is, can someone please give me a quick tutorial and help me with the basics?

  • some DLCs, like lonesome road, will be a pain in the ass with just melee, not to mention all death claw fights instantly become very exciting :P – l I Mar 21 '12 at 18:23

Both melee and unarmed are viable for all but a few situations.

You will want a weapon for very long range killing. Grenade rifle, Gauss Rifle, Sniper rifle of choice. You don't have to be perfect with it, you just need something to reach out and touch things you just CAN'T close on. That, and it helps thin out the herd.

Sneak is your friend. Take silent running, get it HIGH. Low to medium sneak is discouraging. Max sneak is insanely fun (not as fun as FO3 with the chinese stealth suit, but fun).

You don't want to melee deathclaws. You THINK you want to, but you don't. You CAN kill them without taking damage. It can just be an exercise in frustration if you time things wrong and oops, time to reaload. There are plenty of other ways to make deathclaws die. On the other hand, I have found no better way to kill a Cazador than a super heated saturnite fist to the schnoz.

Corners are your friend. Make them come screaming around the corner ... right into your fist/weapon.

Melee and unarmed weapons deal VATS damage that puts almost everything else to shame, due to the fact that they ALL do double damage in VATS. Use it, abuse it, especially with unarmed.

For unarmed, get 75 skill so you can use the 'cross' attack ASAP. It's downright brutal. Melee is a bit more complex, but there are skill levels at which very fun special attacks get unlocked (varies by weapon for melee).

tl:dr Sneak, silent running, corners, have a very long ranged weapon.


Focus on getting plenty of strength for your character. You should then get the following traits:

  • Skilled
  • Good Natured

When you level up, get the following perks:

  • Super Slam (Level 8)
  • Unstoppable Force (Level 12)
  • Ninja (Level 20)

When leveling always try to put points in Melee weapons and Sneak.

As far as armor goes, you could either go for light armor, so you can be quick and agile or you could go with heavy armor and take a lot of hits.


I wondered that before my most recent run-through. Though I ultimately decided not to try melee because of my preferred play style (i.e., the cowardly play style), I researched enough to decide it was a decent option. Harder than a ranged weapon build, but much more viable than it was in Fallout 3.

The best information I found was in the Fallout: New Vegas (PC): Unarmed/Melee Character Guide, by Erik Fasterius. Besides an avalanche of detailed advice, I found it educational to read about the distinction between a melee-based build and an unarmed-based build. In some ways they're at odds with one another, which tarnished my dream of a Ninja playthrough that combined both.

If you're looking for something shorter, I also found the New Vegas Melee Brute Guide at IGN somewhat helpful.


I see that @ROCKZ is a hybrid of what i usually build so this is what I do for a straight on melee

Getting high strength will set you along the path of being an effective melee, normally i will set it at 8 as later on you can get an implant and power armor will boost your strength to 10.


  • Heavy Handed (Melee and unarmed do 20% more damage but Melee and unarmed do 60% less critical hit damage)
  • any other trait you want as the heavyhanded is the only trait advantageous to melee


  • Black Widow/Lady Killer(level 2) they might just do dmg to opposite sex but another 10% dmg is good either way
  • Bloody Mess(level 6) 5% overall dmg. why not? its unbiased and give you pretty gruesome kills
  • Stonewall (level 8) this is really important as you are going mostly melees there are creatures out there who/which are more adept at melee than you are at first and getting knocked down isn't good
  • Super Slam(level 8) the ability to knock the opponent down. TAKE IT TAKE IT
  • Unstoppable Force(level 12) does x4 normal damage and since you been piling on the normal damage perks and stuff this is going to be huge
  • Better Criticals(level 16) since heavy handed reduced your crit dmg now this is just normalizing it back. not sure of the stats though but you will need whatever dmg enhancement perk out there
  • Slayer(level 24) last but not least, the ability to swing faster means more heads will roll quicker. :D


  • Toughness(level 6) well you are going melee and more Dmg Threshold is good
  • Life Giver(level 12) its always good to get more hit points
  • Silent Running (level 12) i am not a sneaky guy but silent running can work towards your advantage
  • Ninja (level 20) more crits

ARMOR: POWER ARMOR, or whatever that gives you high Dmg Threshold.

AFTERWORD: as i am not the type that likes to sneak, I concentrate mostly on bringing the opponent down quick and brutal, the ability to knockdown the opponent gives you more chance to deal extra damage to the opponent without it retaliating (killed a Deathclaw this way cuz I was lucky in knocking it down the first hit and taking free hits on him afterwards.)

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