The protagonists of the classic Fallout games are similar in a few regards: they’re all human, and most of them are Vault Dwellers, raised in a secure environment away from the radiation and the mutants and other perils of the Wasteland. Even the ones who aren’t from a Vault are somewhat naïve about the world they live in. As they travel, they may pick up a companion or two to help them out, but for the most part they are the center of the story.
But while that kind of character is fine for a single-player videogame, it is far from the only type of character someone might want to play in a Fallout game. So, Fallout 2d20 has a variety of character creation options to allow you to tell the kind of story you want to tell, in part because the game is meant to be enjoyed with a group of friends, rather than center around a single person.
The game provides options to play as a human, whether a survivor living in the Wasteland, a member of the Brotherhood of Steel, or a Vault Dweller emerging into the harsh sunlight for the first time… but it also allows you to play as a Ghoul, a Super-Mutant, or even a Mister Handy robot.
- Brotherhood of Steel characters have training in useful skills like Energy Weapons or Science, but they are required to obey the orders of their superiors in the Brotherhood.
- Ghouls are natural survivors with training in the Survival skill, but their most iconic ability is that they are immune to—and healed by—radiation.
- Mister Handy robots are a little unusual as player characters go. Their robotic nature means they need repairs rather than healing naturally, but they’re immune to radiation and poison, come with a degree of armor plating built-in, and they hover above the ground. They also come with a variety of built-in tools.
- Super Mutants are big and tough, and immune to radiation and poison, but tend not to be particularly cunning or sociable. Further, most armor doesn’t fit their massive, bulky frames.
- Survivors are the ordinary people living in the Wasteland, be they raiders, settlers, wandering mercenaries, traders, or anything in between. People adapt to adversity in all sorts of ways, so Survivors get a choice of extra traits to help them survive and thrive in the Wasteland.
- Vault Dwellers are those humans who were raised in the protective environment of a Vault. They get extra training due to their carefully planned education, and they resist disease more easily due to a healthy upbringing… but some Vault Dwellers may have a weird quirk based on the nature of the Vault they’re from. Vault Dwellers also carry some iconic pieces of Fallout equipment, in the form of a PIP-Boy computer and a stylish Vault-Tec Jumpsuit.
The option you pick only serves as a starting point for creating your character, though. Once you’ve picked your character’s origin, you can allocate points to your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes and your skills as you see fit, to create a character who can do the things you’re interested in doing during the game. You also get your first perk, and just like in the video games, these distinctive abilities can make you more capable in a variety of interesting ways.
Each character also gets an equipment package to start out, which is a themed collection of starting gear; these packages are chosen based on your origin, so a Brotherhood of Steel character has different options to a Super Mutant, while both Ghouls and Survivors choose from a variety of Wastelander packages. While nobody wanders the Wasteland without at least a basic weapon, some packages carry better guns and armor while others carry a wider assortment of useful items. You’ll also get some extra gear from your choices of Tag Skills, ensuring that you get the most out of your areas of expertise.
Improving your character is simple: you’ll gain experience points from the foes you defeat (or otherwise overcome), and from the tasks you perform as you wander the Wasteland, and when you’ve gained enough experience points, you gain a level, making you a little tougher, a little more skilled, and giving you the chance to pick an extra perk. Some perks can be taken multiple times to gain bigger and better effects, while others can only be taken at certain levels, so there are always new options to pick from, even at higher levels.
Many of these perks will be familiar to players of the videogames. A few are unique to Fallout 2d20, but most are based on a perk or trait available to player characters in one or more of the videogames, so even if you’ve not yet mastered the details of the game, you can probably figure out what most perks are meant to do.