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    Stealth Guide by sdunigan

    Version: 1.66 | Updated: 08/28/10 | Printable Version | Search This Guide

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    FAQ TITLE:
    
    The Fallout 3 Ultimate Stealth Character Guide
    
    COPYRIGHT INFO:
    
    This FAQ is copyright 2010 by Stanley E. Dunigan (dunigase@yahoo.com).
    
    This FAQ may be posted and used anywhere by anyone as long as it's unaltered,
    but always check one of the official host websites listed below for the latest
    version.
    
    GameFAQs (www.gamefaqs.com) -- always the first site updated
    Neoseeker (www.neoseeker.com)
    Game Guide World (gameguideworld.net)
    SuperCheats (www.supercheats.com) -- I've been having trouble updating this one
    Cheat Happens (www.cheathappens.com)  -- this one, too
    
    Check the Universal Hint System (www.uhs-hints.com) for my complete Fallout 3
    hint file. It's not a FAQ-style walkthru, but instead organizes the hints into a
    hypertext-like Q&A document, making it easier to find the hints you need without
    accidentally seeing other hints you don't want yet.
    
    FAQ DESCRIPTION:
    
    This FAQ was originally written for Playhaven, but they've apparently trashed
    all of their PC, Xbox, etc. guides to become a dedicated mobile gaming site (the
    traitors!), so I decided to re-release this FAQ on GameFAQs and some of my other
    favorite gaming sites.
    
    The FAQ contains detailed information on building and playing a powerful stealth
    character that should work very well even on the highest difficulty setting with
    no cheats. In fact, it's the only character build I would recommend for that
    type of playthru. Remember that on "very hard" difficulty, you'll be doing half
    damage, and enemies will be doing you double damage. That's nothing compared to
    Oblivion's 6x multipliers, but it's still a real pain. (At least you'll get more
    combat XP than on lower difficulty settings.)
    
    Everything in this FAQ is based on playthrus of the Fallout 3 Game of the Year
    (GOTY) edition on the PC with all five add-on games installed. Any differences
    you experience will probably be due to playing with a different set of add-ons
    or on a different gaming platform.
    
    If you have tips for improving my stealth build or the V.A.T.S. reference
    section, or have a different stealth build that you want to share, send me an
    email at the address given in the copyright section.
    
    VERSION 1.66 (8/28/2010) NOTES AND CREDITS:
    
    Old Crow made a comment on Game Guide World about using Jack the ripper that
    made me realize I hadn't put in much info about power saw weapons, so I added a
    couple of paragraphs about them to the user-submitted tips section.
    
    VERSION 1.65 (6/12/2010) NOTES AND CREDITS:
    
    * Mentioned that the alien blaster is the best sneaky V.A.T.S. head shot weapon
    * Created a new section at the end of the FAQ for user-submitted tips
    * Added Orvoc's tip about using the gauss rifle for sneaky shots
    
    VERSION 1.6 (6/7/2010) NOTES AND CREDITS:
    
    * Put a game version note in the above FAQ description
    * Added glitch note to the "Chinese Stealth Armor" section about wearing
    multiple headgear items
    * Added note to the V.A.T.S. advantages list that weapons don't really degrade
    faster in V.A.T.S. mode
    * Specified that you take 10% of normal damage while in V.A.T.S.
    
    VERSION 1.5 (5/31/2010) NOTES AND CREDITS:
    
    * Added note to "Chinese Stealth Armor" section about using the Pip-Boy's light
    * Expanded the paragraph about using noisy weapons in the "Other Useful Things"
    section to include info on non-V.A.T.S. sneak attacks with multiple-projectile
    weapons.
    * Added note at the end of the same section about Dogmeat and Sergeant RL-3
    having mega-huge hit points, too.
    * Since using V.A.T.S. effectively is very important to this character build, I
    added a new V.A.T.S. reference section. It mainly contains specific advanced
    info, so check the game manual and the http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/V.A.T.S.
    web page if you need detailed basic info.
    
    VERSION 1.1 (5/24/2010) NOTES AND CREDITS:
    
    For this update, I fixed an error in the level 22 thru 30 recommended perks (I'd
    left out Nerves of Steel), and I added a tip for getting the Lucky Shades while
    you're in the neighborhood of Tenpenny Tower.
    
    VERSION 1.0 (5/23/2010) NOTES AND CREDITS:
    
    This is the original version of this walkthru, so I have no one else to credit
    yet.
    
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    *******************************
    *** THE SILENT RUNNING PERK ***
    *******************************
    
    In Fallout 3, there are two things you must have for a super stealth character.
    The Silent Running perk, which starts being available at level 12, is one of
    them. It allows you to sneak-run without being any more detectable than when
    you're slowly sneak-walking. This eliminates a vast amount of tedium when it
    comes to sneaking up on or sneaking past enemies.
    
    In fact, if you're using something with a stealth field on it (see next
    section), you can sneak-run right up to enemies and whack them with a melee
    weapon for tremendous damage. Even if they aren't killed, they probably won't
    see you, and you can wait until your stealth indicator reads "hidden" again to
    get in another powerful sneak attack. If an enemy does detect you, you can stand
    up and run for a spot out of his sight, then crouch and wait for your stealth
    indicator to return to "caution" before going after him again.
    
    Try to get your Sneak skill up to 50 by the time you get to level 12 so you can
    take the Silent Running perk right away. If you don't want to spend a lot of
    level-up skill points on Sneak, hunt up the Sneak bobblehead and several Sneak
    skill books before you reach level 12.
    
    *****************************
    *** CHINESE STEALTH ARMOR ***
    *****************************
    
    The other thing you need for a super stealth character is the Chinese stealth
    armor. It's not as powerful a cloaking device as stealth boys are, but it is
    constant-effect, and you can always pay to have it repaired (or repair it
    yourself with recon armor) if it gets too damaged to use. As long as you're
    wearing it and crouched, you'll have a stealth field around you that's very hard
    for anyone to penetrate. The main ways to get yourself detected are crouch-
    running without the Silent Running perk, firing off noisy weapons like shotguns,
    and brushing up against people, so be careful to avoid doing any of that.
    
    To get the Chinese stealth armor, install the Operation: Anchorage game add-on
    and finish its quests, then check the shelves in the armory.
    
    NOTE: While you're sneaking around in the stealth armor, having the Pip-Boy's
    light on doesn't seem to increase your chances of being detected, so leave it on
    all the time in dark areas to help you see better.
    
    GLITCH NOTE: While wearing the stealth armor, you can equip several different
    headgear items and get the benefits of all of them, except for the DR bonuses --
    usually only the DR bonus of the first headgear item you equip will count. So
    equip something with a good DR bonus first, then equip several other items to
    get attribute and skill increases. You can only have one of each type of
    headgear equipped at a time, but if you have two of the same type, you can equip
    one of them and then keep clicking on the other one to get the bonus increased.
    This is especially cool if you have two hockey masks. Equip one of them, then
    click on the other one a bunch of times to get your Unarmed skill increased by 5
    every time. Also, even after your Unarmed skill is 100, you can keep on clicking
    to increase the damage that unarmed weapons like power fists will do. To
    completely remove a headgear glitch bonus, simply unequip the equipped headgear
    item.
    
    ***************************
    *** OTHER USEFUL THINGS ***
    ***************************
    
    The Silent Running perk and Chinese stealth armor are all you really need, but
    to take full advantage of them, you should build up some other skills and obtain
    certain weapons. Devastating sneak attacks with melee weapons will be by far
    your most powerful combat tactic, so get your Melee Weapons skill up high and
    get some powerful melee weapons to use. Jingwei's shocksword (also an Operation:
    Anchorage reward item) is a good one, but the shishkebabs that you can make at
    work benches are more powerful, especially if you get the Pyromaniac perk. The
    Ninja perk is also a good one, since it increases your critical chance and
    sneak-attack damage when using melee weapons.
    
    As great as your sneaky melee abilities will be, there are some other useful
    things to consider. One of them is quiet ranged weapons, which can be used on an
    enemy from a distance without him detecting you. Your stealth indicator will
    change to "caution," but it shouldn't go to "danger" even if you keep shooting
    your target. Two good weapons to do this with are the silenced 10mm pistol and
    the dart gun (another work-bench-made item). The dart gun will cripple an
    enemy's legs and do a bit of poison damage, so it's a good weapon to start with.
    After that, finish the enemy off with the silenced pistol or sneaky melee
    attacks.
    
    The auto axe and infiltrator weapons that you can get from the Pitt add-on game
    are also great stealth-friendly weapons. The infiltrators are particularly
    terrific, since they're basically a cross between assault rifles and sniper
    rifles, neither of which are stealth-friendly. For best results, get the unique
    infiltrator called the Perforator by retrieving 90 steel ingots for Everett in
    the mill.
    
    Explosives are also good for a stealthy character to use. Sure, they're very
    noisy, but the noise doesn't come from your position, so it won't give you away.
    You can toss grenades at enemies to damage them, or you can set mines for them
    to stumble onto. With enemies that are too powerful to take down with a single
    melee sneak attack, you can lay a line of mines, then go to the opposite end of
    the line and shoot your target once with a dart gun or silenced pistol. That
    should get him to run over to your position, setting off mines as he goes. If
    you want to use sneaky explosive attacks a lot, you should pump up your
    Explosives skill, and make lots of bottlecap mines and nuka-grenades at work
    benches. You might also want to consider taking the Demolition Expert perk at
    least once.
    
    Weapons that aren't stealth-friendly can also be useful, especially if they deal
    a lot of damage per shot. Their already-high damage will be greatly increased by
    the sneak-attack damage bonus, and even more by the head-shot damage bonus if
    you're sneak-shooting someone in the head. This can be useful when you're
    wanting to take down a single powerful enemy quickly -- sneakily head-shot him
    with a powerful weapon, then quickly finish him off if he isn't dead already.
    Just remember that your stealth will be compromised, and any other nearby
    hostiles will immediately start attacking you.
    
    The alien blaster is a good noisy sneak-shooting weapon since it does so much
    damage and always scores critical hits, but weapons that fire multiple
    projectiles (especially combat shotguns) are even better as long as you don't
    use V.A.T.S. for your sneaky shot. If you do use V.A.T.S., that'll ruin the
    projectile damage multiplier for some reason (a glitch, maybe). So sneak up next
    to a deathclaw or whatever and blast him point-blank with your combat shotgun to
    take him down in one shot, then run for cover if any other enemies detect you.
    
    For maximum effect, get the Terrible Shotgun from Smiling Jack at Evergreen
    Mills. You can really put down some toughies with it! The next best weapon is
    Paulson's Revolver from the Mothership Zeta add-on game. It does a little less
    damage, but also weighs less. And do go ahead and get the alien blaster too,
    since it's the best weapon for non-sneak attacks, and will be invaluable for
    when you're detected and can't run away or restore a save. It's also the best
    weapon for sneaky V.A.T.S. head shots, which you might want to do on occasion
    rather than get close enough for a good shotgun blast.
    
    Having a follower with you can also be useful. As with explosives, he'll be very
    noisy and attract a lot of attention, but won't (usually) compromise your
    stealth. Since it can often be hard to keep a weaker follower alive without
    using noisy weapons and coming under attack yourself, you should only try this
    with Fawkes. He's very tough to begin with, and if you have the Broken Steel
    expansion installed, he'll have a totally ludicrous number of hit points (up to
    15,000 if you're level 30). Since he's essentially impossible to kill, you can
    let enemies focus on attacking him while you take your time sneak-attacking
    them.
    
    One disadvantage of doing this is that Fawkes will kill a lot of enemies without
    you getting any XP for them. Another disadvantage is that if you fast-travel
    somewhere, Fawkes will usually end up right next to you, and he'll probably
    detect you briefly. If there are any enemies nearby, they'll automatically
    detect you also, and will start attacking you. When that happens, quickly run to
    a spot out of their sight and crouch there until your stealth indicator goes
    back to "caution." Fawkes will be taking care of business while you wait.
    
    NOTE: In my latest playthru, I discovered that Dogmeat and Sergeant RL-3 also
    had huge hit points. The fact that I hadn't noticed this earlier made me
    curious, so I did a bit of investigating. It turns out that the whole idea
    behind this is that the Broken Steel add-on modifies all followers so that
    they'll gain a few more hit points every time you level up. There's apparently a
    glitch that causes Fawkes, Dogmeat, and RL-3 to get *waaay* more hit points than
    they're supposed to. Since it probably wasn't a deliberate design decision, it
    may be "fixed" in a patch someday. Until then, get Dogmeat and either RL-3 or
    Fawkes and put their vast toughness to good use!
    
    **********************************
    *** ONE POSSIBLE STEALTH BUILD ***
    **********************************
    
    As long as you get the Silent Running perk and the Chinese stealth armor, you
    can build your character just about any way you want to, and he can still be
    super sneaky. However, I recommend that you combine your sneak build with a
    V.A.T.S. fighter build. I did that with a couple of characters, and had great
    success with them both. When you exit Vault 101 and finalize your S.P.E.C.I.A.L.
    attributes and tag skills, choose the following:
    
    Strength: 7
    Perception: 6
    Endurance: 7
    Charisma: 1
    Intelligence: 6
    Agility: 6
    Luck: 7
    
    Tag skills: Small Guns, Sneak, Lockpick
    
    When you level up, remember that your most important skills are Sneak, Melee
    Weapons, Small Guns, Repair, and Lockpick. Consider those your major skills.
    Your minor skills include Medicine, Science, and Explosives. On your first few
    level-ups, put most or all of your skill points into your major skills. Once
    they get to 50 or so, you can start putting more points into your minor skills.
    As for perks, I recommend the following:
    
    Level 2: Intense Training (Strength)
    Level 3: Intense Training (Luck)
    Level 4: Educated
    Level 5: Comprehension
    Level 6: Toughness
    Level 7: Gunslinger
    Level 8: Strong Back
    Level 9: Commando
    Level 10: Finesse
    Level 11: Intense Training (Agility)
    Level 12: Silent Running  [Sneak 50+]
    Level 13: Sniper
    Level 14: Cyborg  [Medicine 60+, Science 60+]
    Level 15: Pyromaniac  [Explosives 60+]
    Level 16: Action Boy/Girl
    Level 17: Better Criticals
    Level 18: Concentrated Fire  [Energy Weapons 60+, Small Guns 60+]
    Level 19: Bloody Mess
    Level 20: Ninja  [Melee Weapons 80+, Sneak 80+]
    
    Note the skill requirements that are in square brackets after some of the perks.
    You'll want to make sure your skills are up high enough to take those perks when
    I have them listed. After you reach level 12 and get the Chinese stealth armor,
    spend some time sneaking around and grabbing up bobbleheads and skill books to
    prepare for upcoming perks like Cyborg and Pyromaniac. If you sneak constantly
    and avoid all combat, you shouldn't level up much or at all during the process.
    
    As a V.A.T.S. fighter, you'll be disappointed that you can't get Grim Reaper's
    Sprint at level 20. However, all you have to do is get the Broken Steel add-on
    game so you can level up to level 21 and get it then. (Or if you just can't wait
    for the reaper, you can take that perk at level 20 and Ninja at level 21.)
    
    As for further perks, the only really good new one is Nerves of Steel. A lot of
    people like Almost Perfect, especially in conjunction with the "wait until after
    level 30 to get all of the attribute bobbleheads" strategy, but having all 9's
    or 10's in your attributes isn't much better than a carefully planned, build-
    specific attribute set. Quantum Chemist can be good for getting more Nuka-Cola
    Quantums to make nuka-grenades with, but only if you really like nuka-grenades
    and start saving up Nuka-Colas at the beginning of the game. I'd advise making
    your level 22 thru 30 perks be Nerves of Steel, Demolition Expert (all three),
    Paralyzing Palm, Adamantium Skeleton, Mysterious Stranger, Life Giver, and Fast
    Metabolism (in whatever order, as long as Nerves of Steel is taken at level 26).
    If you really want Quantum Chemist and Almost Perfect, take them instead of Fast
    Metabolism and Adamantium Skeleton.
    
    ********************
    *** STARTING OFF ***
    ********************
    
    After you exit Vault 101, go straight to Megaton and do the misc. quest "The
    Power of the Atom" to get yourself a house, then loot Megaton and Springvale
    (including the school) to get lots of loot and XP. Then go to Tenpenny Tower and
    do its quest, opting to help the ghouls invade so you can reap lots more loot
    and XP. (Get the two available dart gun schematics while you're there, and get
    the Lucky Shades from the store that's a bit SW of the tower.) After that, do 
    the Operation: Anchorage add-on's quests to get the stealth armor, then do more
    misc. quests and combats until you reach level 12. You'll then be ready to do
    some serious sneaking!
    
    **************************
    *** V.A.T.S. REFERENCE ***
    **************************
    
    --- THE FIVE V.A.T.S. ADVANTAGES ---
    
    * Increased critical chance: Every time you make an attack with any type of
    weapon, using V.A.T.S. will increase your chance of making a critical hit by
    15%. Even if your Luck stat is high and you have the Finesse perk, this can be a
    big help in finishing off tough foes. (Note that your weapons' conditions don't
    degrade faster in V.A.T.S. mode, despite what you may have heard.)
    
    * Aim assistance: At long range, your chance to hit in V.A.T.S. will be so low
    that you might as well just take your best aim and shoot without it. However,
    V.A.T.S. is very useful for close-up shooting, especially with enemies who are
    moving around quickly. Hit the V.A.T.S. key to "freeze" them in place, then take
    your time choosing where to shoot them. Remember that head shots will do more
    damage, though it'll usually be a bit harder to hit the head than the other
    parts. Thankfully, being close to an enemy means that every part of him will be
    fairly easy to hit.
    
    Another good thing to target in V.A.T.S. is an enemy's weapon, especially if
    it's a big one like a missile launcher or minigun. It's pretty easy to shoot a
    big weapon out of an enemy's hands, especially if you're using a combat shotgun
    or assault rifle. You'll have a chance to grab the dropped weapon after the
    V.A.T.S. session is over, though you'll have to be quick to get it before its
    owner reclaims it. You can also disarm an enemy by targeting his arms, but
    shooting the weapon directly usually works better, and has the added effect of
    rapidly lowering the weapon's condition. You may end up breaking it so that it
    can't be used at all, which means you won't have to run to pick it up to keep
    your opponent from using it again.
    
    NOTE: If you're using unarmed or melee attacks (or grenades), you won't be able
    to target a specific body part, and therefore can't take advantage of the head-
    shot damage bonus or specifically target an enemy's weapon.
    
    * Near Invulnerability: While you're in V.A.T.S. mode, you only take 10% of
    normal damage from any attack. Unfortunately, V.A.T.S. doesn't always start up
    the instant you hit the V.A.T.S. key, so it's risky to try to time things so
    that you go into V.A.T.S. right before an attack hits you. Also, to get the
    attack to hit you while you're still in V.A.T.S., you'll need to have enough
    action points to do an attack or two of your own. This is one of the main
    reasons you should maximize your action points as much as you can. See the
    sections for perks, items, and chems.
    
    * Total LOS targeting: V.A.T.S. can always see any enemy that's within your line
    of sight (LOS), even if you can't due to factors such as distance or darkness.
    You can use that in conjunction with the red blips shown on your compass to
    pinpoint nearby hard-to-see enemies, and thereby make attacking them or sneaking
    past them much easier. Just remember that V.A.T.S. usually won't be able to
    target a nearby enemy if he's mostly or completely obscured from your LOS by an
    obstruction.
    
    * Gap-closing: To hit an enemy with a melee or unarmed attack without V.A.T.S.,
    you'll have to get very close to him. With V.A.T.S., you don't have to be nearly
    so close. Experiment with it to see how far away V.A.T.S. will let you be while
    still doing melee and unarmed attacks. Also note that V.A.T.S. doesn't care if
    there are partial obstructions between you and your target as long as you've
    still got LOS.
    
    --- V.A.T.S.-RELATED PERKS ---
    
    (Note that some of what I say here contradicts what I recommend for perks in the
    above "One Possible Stealth Build" section. After reading through this list
    carefully, go over the recommended perk list and see if you want to replace any
    of the perks on it with something else. You probably shouldn't unless you have a
    really good idea of what you want instead. For instance, you could replace the
    four V.A.T.S. aim-increasing perks with damage-increasing perks like Black
    Widow, Entomologist, and Robotics Expert.)
    
    * Gunslinger, Commando, Sniper, Concentrated Fire: These four perks all have to
    do with improving your aim in V.A.T.S. As stated above, V.A.T.S. is really only
    useful for close-up combat, where you'll always get good chance-to-hit
    percentages, so none of these perks are really all that useful.
    
    * Mysterious Stranger: This is a very quirky perk, and isn't really recommended,
    though it does have some useful features. If your target's health is less than
    150 when a V.A.T.S. session ends, there's a 10% chance that a "mysterious
    stranger" guy will show up and use his super-powerful magnum to finish your
    target off. One problem is that the stranger is manifested as a physical person,
    which means he needs to be placed somewhere specific. Sometimes his placement
    prohibits his shooting the target because he won't have LOS with it. On the
    other hand, he can sometimes kill multiple targets for you, though don't count
    on this always happening. Other disadvantages include not always getting the XP
    for an enemy that he finishes off, and your action points not getting restored
    if you have Grim Reaper's Sprint.
    
    NOTE: If you want to maximize the chances that the stranger will show up and
    finish off a particular target, repeatedly V.A.T.S.-attack that target one time
    with a weak weapon -- preferably a ranged one, like a silenced 10mm pistol. This
    can be a good way to finish off a distant foe before he can get close to you,
    especially if you're sneaky enough to avoid his notice.
    
    * Action Boy / Action Girl: This perk permanently adds 25 to your action points,
    and is therefore highly recommended. Remember that it's not your aiming
    percentages in V.A.T.S. that you need to increase as much as possible -- it's
    your action points.
    
    * Paralyzing Palm: This perk has nothing directly to do with action points, but
    is still very useful to high-level characters due to the toughness of some of
    the enemies they'll be encountering. The worst three are the super mutant
    overlords, feral ghoul reavers, and albino radscorpions that the Broken Steel
    add-on introduces to the wasteland. Those guys have ridiculous numbers of hit
    points, and simply cannot be killed quickly in conventional ways. One good way
    to deal with them is to have this perk, which allows you to paralyze them by
    whacking them several times in V.A.T.S. with your fists or unarmed weapons.
    While they're paralyzed, quickly shoot them in the head with a powerful weapon
    like the Terrible Shotgun (a unique combat shotgun) or a tri-beam laser rifle (a
    new Broken Steel weapon). Having a powerful follower like Fawkes along will help
    a lot, too.
    
    * Grim Reaper's Sprint: This perk is very useful because it will instantly
    restore all of your action points when a V.A.T.S. session is over if you killed
    your target. This allows you to immediately start up another V.A.T.S. session,
    in which you'll hopefully be able to kill another target. This can be used to
    easily clear an area of weaker enemies, or of stronger enemies that were first
    softened up by explosives and/or sneaky melee attacks.
    
    * Nerves of Steel: This is a level 26 perk that will only be available if you
    have the Broken Steel add-on game. It doesn't add to your action points, but it
    makes them regenerate faster. That will help you get back into V.A.T.S. sooner
    in the all-too-frequent situations where you can't kill your target in one
    V.A.T.S. session, and therefore won't get the reaper to restore your action
    points.
    
    NOTE: On the PC version of the game, this perk only increases action point
    regeneration by a super-tiny amount. To fix this, use the G.E.C.K. construction
    set program to load up the BrokenSteel.esm file, then edit the script named
    DLC03APRegenScript. On the line that starts with "Set MicroRegen," change the
    number after the slash from 10 to something smaller. 0.75 will cause your action
    points to regenerate about 50% faster than normal, and 0.25 will make them regen
    at double the normal rate.
    
    * Almost Perfect: This is a level 30 perk that will only be available if you
    have the Broken Steel add-on game. It isn't technically a V.A.T.S.-related perk,
    but it is the best way to get your Agility attribute up to 10, which will give
    you the largest base number of action points (85). You'll need to create your
    character with an Agility of 6 or so in order to get by until you reach level
    30, at which time you can take this perk and then go get the Agility bobblehead.
    
    * Wired Reflexes: This is a special perk that you can receive as a quest reward.
    All it does is improve your accuracy in V.A.T.S., but it's worth getting because
    you don't have to spend a level-up perk slot on it. Go to Rivet City near the SE
    corner of the world map and do its "The Replicated Man" misc. quest so you can
    get this perk from Dr. Zimmer.
    
    The Finesse perk is also recommended to increase your critical chance even more,
    and the Better Criticals perk will make each critical hit you score count for
    more. The Chemist and Chem Resistant perks can also be useful to characters who
    use chems to increase action points a lot (see the section on chems), but aren't
    recommended since chems should only be used in emergencies, and their regular
    durations are usually long enough.
    
    --- V.A.T.S.-RELATED APPAREL ---
    
    * Ledoux's Hockey Mask: This mask adds 25 to your action points when you're
    wearing it, and is therefore THE number one most important equipment item for
    V.A.T.S. users to obtain. The guy who has the mask will be at the Red Racer
    Factory (a ways south and a tiny bit east of Megaton) after you go through the
    Nuka-Cola Plant (a long ways directly south of Megaton) and get the Nuka-Cola
    Clear formula. The formula is in a key-required safe near the NW corner of the
    research room, which is just west of the room with the factory exit door. To get
    a key to the safe, find the robot named "Milo, Shipping Foreman" and either talk
    it into giving you the key, or trash it and take the key. After you sell the
    formula to Goalie Ledoux, kill him and his two hockey-fetish buddies to claim
    their items, including the wondrous mask.
    
    NOTE: The mask can be removed and put back on in inventory (or via hotkey) to
    instantly set your action points to 25 if they're less than 25. Also, you may
    occasionally have to remove and reequip the mask to get your bonus action points
    back, since they sometimes disappear.
    
    WARNING: Be sure to get the mask before you finish the misc. quest "The Nuka-
    Cola Challenge." Otherwise, Ledoux might never show up.
    
    * Lag-Bolt's Combat Armor: This unique combat armor adds 10 to your action
    points when you wear it. That's not much of a bonus, and you may prefer to wear
    other armor most of the time (like the Chinese stealth suit for sneaking around
    in). If you want it, get the Broken Steel add-on and do its main quests up to
    the point where you restore power to the metro car that can take you to the
    Adams AFB terminal. After restoring power, go up the stairs past the nearby EXIT
    sign and check the bench for a holotape. Pick it up and listen to it in the
    Data/Notes section of your Pip-Boy, then go up some more stairs to find an exit
    to the Capitol Building. Sneak or fight your way outside, then travel to the La
    Maison Beauregard Lobby area in the D.C. ruins' Georgetown interior region.
    Inside the lobby, kill the guy named Lag-Bolt to get his armor.
    
    * Ranger Battle Armor: This combat armor only increases your action points by a
    measly 5, so don't bother getting it unless you want it for other reasons (like
    its Small Guns +10 and Luck +1 effects). The way to get Ranger battle armor is
    to do the "Reilly's Rangers" misc. quest, which starts at the ghouls' Underworld
    area inside the Museum of History. After you finish the quest, Reilly will let
    you choose either Ranger battle armor or a unique minigun named Eugene as your
    reward.
    
    NOTE: All three of the Rangers that you rescue on the quest are wearing Ranger
    battle armor, so you could get three suits of it by letting them all get killed.
    Or since you only need one suit, you could let one of them get killed and rescue
    the other two. (If you get Brick killed, you can get both the battle armor and
    Eugene from her.)
    
    * Tribal Power Armor: This unique power armor adds 15 to your action points, but
    decreases your Agility by 1, so the net gain to action points is actually 13.
    That's still more than the other two armor suits listed above, but remember that
    you'll have to get power armor training from the Citadel or the Operation:
    Anchorage sim before you can wear it. To get it, turn in all 100 steel ingots to
    Everett in the Pitt add-on.
    
    There are also various outfits that boost your Agility by 1, which will increase
    your action points by 2. All pre-war apparel (excluding headgear) will increase
    Agility by 1, as will some other cheap and common clothing like brahmin-skin and
    wastelander outfits. There are also three unique outfits that will do the same
    thing: The AntAgonizer's Costume from the "The Superhuman Gambit" misc. quest,
    Maple's Garb from the "Oasis" misc. quest, and the Laborer Outfit that you can
    get by turning in 10 steel ingots to Everett in the Pitt add-on. The action
    point gain is so small that you won't want to wear any of those outfits unless
    you had another reason to (like the +1 to Strength and Endurance that the
    Laborer Outfit gives).
    
    --- V.A.T.S.-RELATED CHEMS ---
    
    * Jet: This is the most common action-point-increasing chem, and can be found
    and bought in many different places. Since it's weightless, you should keep all
    the ones you find so that you'll be sure to always have some on hand. Due to the
    risk of addiction each time you use one, you should save them for special combat
    situations where having 30 more action points for awhile will be a big help. In
    most combat situations, it's better to use a few stimpaks and run for cover
    while your action points regenerate.
    
    NOTE: You should finish Megaton's "The Power of the Atom" misc. quest as soon as
    you can and buy the "my first infirmary" item for your home. That way, you can
    always return home and detoxify yourself for free whenever you become addicted
    to jet or any other chem.
    
    * Ultrajet: This is the other weightless action-point-increasing chem, and is
    also good to have several of on hand. Since it's technically a different item
    from jet, its effect will stack with jet's effect, giving you a total of +70
    temporary action points. The problem with ultrajet is that it's not widely
    available. You'll have to go to the Northwest Seneca Station (near Arefu, which
    is a ways NW of Megaton) and make a deal with the ghoul named Murphy. Go collect
    sugar bombs from the many places that have them, then turn them over to Murphy.
    He can make one ultrajet for every eight boxes you sell him. Whenever he has at
    least one ultrajet in his inventory, you can access his merchant services and
    buy them from him.
    
    NOTE: If your Lockpick skill is 75 or higher, you can sneakily pick open the
    footlocker that's on the floor next to the desk and steal ultrajets instead of
    paying for them.
    
    * Nuka-Cola Quantum & Miss. Quantum Pie: Bottles of Nuka-Cola Quantum will add
    20 to your action points. This isn't the best option due to the facts that you
    get fewer action points than you can from jet or ultrajet, you get 10 rads added
    on, each bottle weighs a pound, and there are several better uses for quantums.
    One small advantage is that they're a bit less addictive than the chems. If you
    really want an extra +20 action points beyond the +70 that you can get from jet
    and ultrajet, you should finish the misc. quest "The Nuka-Cola Challenge" and
    have Sierra turn quantums into Miss. Quantum Pies. They also weigh a pound each,
    but they're not addictive at all, they only add on 5 rads, and they also give a
    +1 to Strength. The disadvantages include having to hunt up vodka and the very
    rare flour for the pie-making, having to go to Girdershade every time you want
    pies made, and the -1 to Intelligence.
    
    * Fire Ant Nectar: These special chems can only be gotten from the fire ants
    that are in and around Grayditch, which is a ways east and a bit south of
    Megaton. The whole fire-breathing ant problem is the subject of the "Those!"
    misc. quest. Fire ant nectar doesn't directly affect action points, but instead
    adds 4 to Agility. If your Agility is 6 or under, the nectar will add 8 to your
    action points, otherwise it'll only add (10 - Agility) X 2 to your action
    points. You'll probably prefer to save the nectar for its temporary +25 fire
    resistance or sell it to Dr. Lesko after the quest is over.
    
    * NukaLurk Meat: This is another very rare action-point-increasing item, though
    it at least gives you 10 temporary action points and restores 20 hit points. You
    can only get NukaLurk meat from NukaLurks, which can only be found in the Nuka-
    Cola Plant (a long ways directly south of Megaton).
    
    ***************************
    *** USER-SUBMITTED TIPS ***
    ***************************
    
    --- THE GAUSS RIFLE ---
    
    Orvoc wrote in to inform me that non-stealthy ranged weapons such as the gauss
    rifle can be used for sneaky shots if you stay out of an enemy's line of sight.
    While testing this out, I discovered that if you're far enough away from the
    nearest enemy, you won't be detected even if you don't duck out of sight after
    firing. If you're closer, fire from a position next to something that you can
    duck behind immediately after firing. This is rather tricky to pull off,
    especially if there are several enemies nearby, so always try to keep your
    distance.
    
    As for weapon choice, you should always use the gauss rifle from the Operation:
    Anchorage add-on for this, since it's the most powerful scoped weapon in the
    game, has a lot of health, has a blast radius, and always scores a knockdown on
    critical hits. When you find a powerful enemy alone, you can V.A.T.S-shoot him
    in the head at close range, back off a bit and wait for your stealth indicator
    to read "hidden" again, and repeat. If the enemy is an NPC rather than a
    creature, you can run up to him and steal his non-equipped inventory while he's
    down (just like with the Paralyzing Palm perk). With enemies that are in a
    group, either zoom-shoot them all from a safe distance or use a stealth-friendly
    weapon to lure them away from the group one at a time so you can deal with them
    individually.
    
    --- POWER SAWS ---
    
    Old Crow left a comment on Game Guide World about using the unique ripper called
    Jack because it can score critical hits and does increased limb damage. Checking
    all of the game's power saw weapons (rippers and auto axes), I discovered that
    Jack is indeed the only one that's capable of scoring critical hits outside of
    V.A.T.S., and it's the only one that does 150% of regular limb damage. However,
    those advantages are pretty much nullified by the facts that any saw weapon can
    score a sneak attack critical in V.A.T.S., and dart guns can instantly cripple
    both of a target's legs (the only really useful type of limb damage) at range.
    
    It also seems that saws do more damage in V.A.T.S. than out of it, whether
    you're sneak-attacking or not. Due to that, the auto axe called The Mauler is
    the best saw weapon to use if you're wanting to go that way, since it does more
    damage than any of the others. However, shishkebabs are still superior due to
    the fact that they have a much lower action point requirement. With 135 or so
    action points, you can use The Mauler or any other saw weapon only twice, but
    you can use the shishkebab four times. Four shishkebab hits adds up to more
    damage than two hits with even The Mauler, especially since at least one of its
    last three hits is likely to be a critical hit. (Plus, shishkebabs weigh much
    less than auto axes, or even rippers.)