Fallout 2 : The Melee Master Character Guide v2.0 [09 January 2004]
 - GroZZleR (A. Scott McCallum)
 - grozzler@grozzler.com
 - www.grozzler.com

"I SERVE THE FLAMING FIST!"

------> Index <------

Legal Notice
Preface
Version History and Thanks
Character Creation
Character Development
Equipment
Mathematics Behind The Character
Have Some Fun!
Conclusion

------> Legal Notice <------

You are free to distribute this guide on your website
Under these conditions:
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  2. You DO NOT change the document, or ANY of its contents, for ANY reason.
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You are free to distribute this guide in other formats (magazine, CD, etc.)
under these conditions:
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  2. You DO NOT change the document's content aside from its formatting.
     This mainly pertains to magazines and making the format fit properly.
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------> Preface <------

One cannot help but be impressed by someone willing to enter combat without
a gun, especially when facing opponents who are not so willing.  Take for
example, the game of Counter-Strike.  Everyone in that game has a knife, a
pistol and a rifle.  Which kills are the spectacular ones?  The Knife kills.

If you're at all like me (and you should be), you find slamming your fist
into someone's face to be an appealing act of violence to commit.  The fun
only heightens when they scream out in pain or collapse to the ground from
that critical groin shot you just gave them.  Follow this guide and the path
of the Melee Master will be opened to you.

------> Version History and Thanks <------

v2.0 [08 January 2004]
  The guide was practically rewritten.  The build remained the same, but much
 of the content has changed.  The guide has also been restructured.

v1.0 [14 December 2003]
  The guide was written from scratch using a unique build created by GroZZleR.

Thanks to James Spairana ("Paragon") for his great character creation guide.
The detailed information on perks and traits helped make this guide possible.
Great guide James!

------> Character Creation <------

Gimping a melee character is one of the easiest things you could ever do in
Fallout 2.  Without solid skills and equipment, you're going to find yourself
running from fights rather than winning them.  So lets get started and hope
we don't come out that way, shall we?

The first choice you make about your character is their Name, Age and Gender.
Go ahead and pick anything you want, I'm pretty sure you can't gimp your
character by choosing these things wrong.  I personally choose to build a
female because theres something sexy about a girl getting into the thick of
things with her fists.  ^_^

The second choice you're going to have to make are your traits.  These give
your character advantages in one area and disadvantages in another.  Selecting
the wrong traits is the quickest way to mess up your character (and quite well
I might add).  Since we're going to build a melee character, the obvious
choices would be Bruiser and Heavy Handed right?  Well you've just gimped
your character if you've taken those.  The minute increase in melee damage
isn't worth the cost (Action Points).  What you have to take here is something
that is going to help your attributes.  I recommend you choose Gifted for
+1 to every attribute (at a loss of 5 skill points per level).  The loss of 5
skill points isn't crippling to our character, so Gifted is a fine trait to
pick.  That is, however, the only trait I would recommend.  If you're in a
gory mood, you can also take Bloody Mess.  It has no drawbacks and allows
you to see people die in violent ways.  Fun, but annoying after a while.
--> Recap:  Choose Gifted and Bloody Mess (optional) as your traits.

The third choice to make when creating a character are his / her attributes.
Attributes affect everything you do in the game, from how people react to you
to how much damage you do in melee.  We're building a prize-fighter here and
so we need someone who can attack often and hit hard.  The three attributes
to raise are Agility, Endurance, and Strength, in that order.  Since you took
Gifted (you did take Gifted right?), all of your attributes should be at 6.
Drop 4 points from Charisma ("Oh sorry, did I do that?") and 1 point from Luck
("It'll never happen to me.").  You should now have a total of 10 Attribute
Points to spend.  Raise your Agility to 10, your Endurance to 10 and your
Strength to 8.  Having a lower Strength may seem a bit silly, but the bonuses
provided by Agility and Endurance outweigh those provided for Strength.
Having 8 Strength is really nothing to scoff at anyway.
--> Recap:  Drop 4 points from Charisma and 1 from Luck.
--> Recap:  Add 4 points to Agility and Endurance, and 2 to Strength.

Your fourth and final choice are what skills to tag.  The single most
important skill you're going to tag is... Sneak.  I bet you didn't see that
coming, did you?  I didn't think so.  Sneak is vital to a melee character
for two reasons:  The perk you get at level 18 allows you to "backstab" your
opponent for 2x damage.  This will come in very handy, as you'll be able to
start the fight off with 2x damage and then get in 4 or 5 attacks.  Chances
are, your opponent won't even get a shot off.  Next you have to decide if you
want to take Unarmed Combat (Fists, Brass Knuckles, Power Fists) or Melee
Weapons (Spears, Baseball Bats, Sledgehammers).  You can also take both, to
use whatever the hell you feel like.  I personally take both, just because
it allows me to use the best weapons available to me at the time.  Don't
worry, all of your perks that affect melee damage affect both unarmed damage
and melee damage.  If you're just going to be taking one, I strongly
recommend you take melee weapons.  This will give you more variety in your
weapons and allow you to use the best weapon available to you at the time.
If you're just taging one, then take whatever the hell you feel like for
your third tag skill.
--> Recap:  Tag Sneak, Melee Weapons and Unarmed.

So heres what my gorgeous Cassie ends up looking like:

                                  FALLOUT
                         VAULT-13 PERSONNEL RECORD
                          25 July 2241  0824 hours

  Name: Cassie             Age: 20               Gender: Female
 Level: 01                 Exp: 0            Next Level: 1,000

 ::: Statistics :::
       Strength: 08         Hit Points: 043/043         Sequence: 08
     Perception: 06        Armor Class: 010         Healing Rate: 03
      Endurance: 10      Action Points: 10       Critical Chance: 005%
       Charisma: 02       Melee Damage: 03          Carry Weight: 225 lbs.
   Intelligence: 06        Damage Res.: 000%
        Agility: 10     Radiation Res.: 020%
           Luck: 05        Poison Res.: 050%


 ::: Traits :::
  Gifted

 ::: Karma :::
  Karma: 0 (Wanderer)

 ::: Skills :::                ::: Kills :::
  Small Guns ..... 035%
  Big Guns ....... 010%
  Energy Weapons . 010%
  Unarmed ........ 076% (TAG)
  Melee Weapons .. 066% (TAG)
  Throwing ....... 030%
  First aid ...... 014%
  Doctor ......... 007%
  Sneak .......... 045% (TAG)
  Lockpick ....... 016%
  Steal .......... 020%
  Traps .......... 016%
  Science ........ 014%
  Repair ......... 008%
  Speech ......... 000%
  Barter ......... -002% (LOL!)
  Gambling ....... 015%
  Outdoorsman .... 022%


 ::: Inventory :::

                                      Total Weight: 0 lbs.

You really have to appreciate that -2% Barter.  It won't matter much, you
won't be buying too much from vendors.  By the end of the game you're going to
have more than 15 000 dollars anyway.

------> Character Development <------

Building a melee character's skills up can be pretty easy.  In the first two
villages alone, there are people willing to train you.  You should use the
first one right away and the second one at a later time.  Just what the
hell am I blabbering on about?  In Arroyo, there is a tribe member standing
beside the giant stone head.  He will boost your unarmed and melee weapons
skills a good 10%, if your skills are below 60% or so (I don't have the exact
figures).  If you've already gained a level before talking to him, DO NOT
SPEND THE POINTS ON UNARMED OR MELEE UNTIL YOU DO.

The second person, John Sullivan (ex-boxer extraordinaire), is in Klamath.
You can find him in the Golden Gecko, in the north-west part of downtown.
He'll offer to train you, which will boost your unarmed and melee another 10%
or so.  HOWEVER -- John will boost your fighting skills by 10% no matter WHAT
skill you currently possess.  If you haven't figured it out already, you can
go to him when your skills are at 130% or so and take two points to raise.
He'll jump your skills up to 140% for 0 skill points.  So save him for later,
but don't forget about him.  O_o

You should be aiming to raise your sneak to 100%+ and your unarmed and melee
skills to 140%+.  You're free to raise whatever other skills you see fit.  The
great thing about this build is the flexibility.  I personally prefer to raise
throwing (for some grenade fun), lockpick and steal.  You're welcome to sub
in any skills you want in place of those.
--> Recap:  140%+ Unarmed and Melee, 100%+ Sneak.

Now that you know how to build your skills, lets look at the perks that are
available to you.  You gain perks every 3 levels, so you get quite a bit.
Theres also quite a few to choose from, and picking the wrong ones can
screw up your character.  Picking something like 'Sniper' for someone who
doesn't use guns, probably isn't the best course of action to take.  Its
alright if you've done that in the past, but that is why you're reading this
guide, right? =)

Perks marked with an asterisk (*) are optional, if you want something else
at that level, go right ahead.  I strongly recommend that you stick to the
non-optionals however, to develop your character properly.

Level 3: *Awareness (Gives HP and other info when looking at an enemy)
Level 6: *Silent Running (Run and stay sneaked, I really hate walking)
Level 9: *Bonus Move (+2 Action Points (strictly for movement))
Level 12: Action Boy (+1 Action Point (can be used for anything))
Level 15: Bonus HtH Attacks (-1 Action Point cost for any melee attack)
Level 18: Silent Death ('Backstab'; Sneak & stand behind enemy for 2x damage)
Level 21: Action Boy (+1 Action Point (can be used for anything))
Level 24: Slayer (95% Chance of Critical Damage on Attack)

If you're going to be replacing a perk, another solid option is Earlier
Sequence, which is available at any level.  If you want to replace a perk
(and only one), I'd change Silent Running before all the others.

------> Equipment <------

This section just details the equipment available to you.  Its broken down
into unarmed and melee weapons.  If you're using both, like our build here,
then you obviously want the best of both worlds.

Unarmed
 Brass Knuckles
  - 2 / 5 Damage
  - 3 Action Points
 Spiked Knuckles
  - 4 / 10 Damage
  - 3 Action Points
 Power Fist (uses Small Energy Cells)
  - 12 / 24 Damage
  - 3 Action Points
 Mega Power Fist (uses Small Energy Cells)
  - 20 / 41 Damage
  - 3 Action Points
> You can get a Mega Power Fist from shops in San. Fran. and NCR.  Just look.

Most melee weapons (if not all) have the ability to thrust as well as swing.
I recommend you only use swings, as the extra damage is minimal and the extra
Action Point cost is too much.  You can do 6 swings instead of 4 thrusts, so
stick to swings.

Melee Weapons
 Club
  - 1 / 6 Damage
  - 3 Action Points
 Knife
  - 1 / 6 Damage
  - 3 Action Points
 Shiv
  - 1 / 4 Damage
  - 3 Action Points
 Switchblade
  - 2 / 5 Damage
  - 3 Action Points
 Crowbar
  - 3 / 10 Damage
  - 4 Action Points
 Wrench
  - 3 / 6 Damage
  - 3 Action Points
 Spear
  - 3 / 10 Damage
  - 4 Action Points
 Sledgehammer
  - 5 / 10 Damage
  - 4 Action Points
 Combat Knife
  - 3 / 10 Damage
  - 3 Action Points
 Cattle Prod
  - 12 / 20 Damage
  - 4 Action Points
 Louisville Slugger
  - 12 / 20 Damage
  - 4 Action Points
 Ripper
  - 15 / 32 Damage
  - 4 Action Points
 Super Sledge
  - 18 / 36 Damage
  - 3 Action Points
> You can get a Super Sledge from the lockers in Navarro Base and S. F. Shops.

The melee and unarmed weapons may do slightly less damage than guns, but they
also cost less to use.  In this build, our character took the "Bonus HtH
Attack" perk which reduced the cost even further by 1 Action Point.  The
majority of the weapons we'll be using effectively only cost 2 Action Points
per attack, thanks to that perk.  This is where melee combat begins to shine.

------> Mathematics Behind The Character <------

Here we are.  You've worked hard to get where you are today, you've fought
enemy after enemy using nothing but your fists or trusty close-quarters
weapon.  You've been laughed at, taken as a joke and even had someone spit in
your face.  Its time to look those gun-toting pussies in the face with stern
eyes and say:  "Fuck.  You."

You could back up your words with skill, but I'd rather show you just how
good you're going to be mathematically speaking.  As long as you've been
following the build, you're going to be just fine.

Assuming you've taken the perks as suggested, you've got 12 Action Points
(APs) available to you (plus 2 for movement only).

APs = Starting AP (10) + Action Boy perks (2) = 12.
APs = 12.

The Cost Per Attack (CPA) is a meager 2 Action Points if you're using the best
weapon available to you (Mega Power Fist or Super Sledge).

CPA = Weapon AP Cost (3) - HtH Bonus Attack perk (1) = 2.
CPA = 2.

With these figures, we learn that in a round of combat (that uses all of our
Action Points) we can do 6 Unaimed Attacks (UnAtk).
UnAtk = APs (12) / CPA (2) = 6.
UnAtk = 6.

6 Unaimed Attacks in a single round is pretty impressive sounding.  But just
how impressive is it?

Mega Power Fist
 Min. Damage (MinDmg) : 20
 Max. Damage (MaxDmg) : 41
  MinDmg (20) x UnAtk (6) = 120
  MaxDmg (41) x UnAtk (6) = 246
   Average Damage Per Round (AvgDmg) = 183

During an average round of combat, you will deal 183 damage with the Mega
Power Fist.  This does not take into account critical damage, which will
increase that damage by a further 50% or so (anyone have the exact value?).

Lets do the same thing for the Super Sledge now.

Super Sledge
 Min. Damage (MinDmg) : 18
 Max. Damage (MaxDmg) : 36
  MinDmg (18) x UnAtk (6) = 108
  MaxDmg (36) x UnAtk (6) = 216
   Average Damage Per Round (AvgDmg) = 162

During an average round of combat, you will deal 162 damage with the Super
Sledge.  This does not take into account critical damage, which will increase
that damage by a further 50% or so (anyone have the exact value?).

Both of these examples also don't take into account your high Agility, which
in some situations will make you sequence earlier.  So its entirely possible
that you'll be doing 2 rounds of combat (12 punches or swings) before the
enemy even takes their first round.  Needless to say, by this time, they are
dead.

If you think I'm done, I'm not.  Theres a little perk we took at level 18
called Silent Death.  This gives us an additional 2x damage on our first
attack.  Silent Death is your classic 'back stab'.  If you're sneaking and
standing behind someone when you attack them, you'll do 2x damage.  Even the
people using guns have no such option.  This gives us the edge on our gun
wielding friends.

Using unarmed and melee weapons DOES NOT gimp your character as most Fallout 2
"experts" think.  I believe this build (and mathematics) prove that unarmed
and melee characters are extremely viable as long as you know what you're
doing.  You get more Hit Points than anyone using a gun, you attack more
often and land more criticals than anyone using a gun.  You also generally
look cooler doing it too.

------> Have Some Fun! <------

Now that your Melee Master is kicking some ass, its time to have a lot of
fun with him or her.  If you're stuck for some things to do, might I suggest
some of the following.

1. Vault City
   - Its time to make First Citizen Lynette pay for being a bitch to you
     earlier in the game.  Theres obviously only one way to make this happen
     (you do only have a Charisma of 2).
   - Enter Sneak mode and stand behind her.
   - Enter Combat with your weapon of choice.  I use the Super Sledge on her.
   - Laugh your ass off as you slam it into the back of her skull.  Killing
     her in a single hit.  Finally:  Justice. =)
2. Companions
   - Remember how Vic just wouldn't stop whining?  Or is Sulik just TOO much
     of a Tribal, even for you?  Take 'em out.
   - Pick a fight with your companions (the more, the better).
   - Show them whose boss, by slamming their faces in with your Mega Power
     Fist.  Its very satisfying going 3 on 1 using nothing but your fist and
     walking away the winner.
3. New Reno
   - If you haven't already, go kick the shit out of the Mordino family.
   - Once you're done with the Mordino family, go take out the rest of the
     families.  No reason why you can't make yourself the boss of New Reno.
     Alright, well I guess because the game won't let you, but aside from
     that.

------> Conclusion <------

And thus ends the guide.  I hope I shed some light on the Melee Master for
Fallout 2.  Maybe I made you realize that a melee character is just as viable
(if not more so) than someone using a gun.  Perhaps after reading the guide
you can't wait to open up Fallout 2 and start punching people in the face.
Finally you can stand toe to toe with a pack of enemies and come out the
victor.  If just one person can experience Fallout 2 on the path of a Melee
Master, I think I've done my job.

As a final note, I think Black Isle deserves some major recognition for their
great game and furthermore, their great balance of the game.  This guide
should show you how balanced Fallout 2 is, where melee and ranged weapons can
be nearly equals.  Its a real shame that Fallout 3 will never see the light of
day.  Kudos to you Black Isle.

------------------------------------
Copyright 2003 - 2004 by A. Scott McCallum.
All Right Reserved.
grozzler@grozzler.com
www.grozzler.com