Upon starting the game, you'll create a squad of Desert Rangers, customizing them from top to bottom to handle the dangers of the Wasteland.
The Dossier defines a Ranger's personal details. These have no significant gameplay impact.
- Name is your Ranger's name. We hope this needs no further explanation.
- Age can range anywhere from 16 to 99.
- Religion represents your Ranger's spiritual or theological beliefs. The Desert Rangers are well known for their tolerant attitudes.
- Smokes determine your Ranger's favorite cigarette brand, if any.
- Nationality is your Ranger's background.
- Biography is a blank canvas for your imagination to fill: write any kind of backstory for a Ranger that you can come up with, or leave him or her as a mysterious wanderer.
- Gender makes no difference to Attributes or Skills, but some people in the Wasteland may treat men or women differently in certain situations.
- Character Appearance can be changed, with the following categories available: hair, head, torso, packs, legs and skin tone. You can also use the Randomize button to let fate roll the dice for you.
- Portrait is a pretty picture of your Ranger. You can either choose from a gallery of pre-drawn portraits, or have the game take a snapshot of your Ranger to use as a portrait (PC only).
A Ranger's basic capabilities are represented as Attributes. These determine starting stats and may influence the overall effectiveness of your Ranger, ranging from combat effectiveness to how many Skills they can learn.
Coordination defines a Ranger's general motor skills, both fine hand-eye coordination and sense of balance. Coordination is the attribute of choice for any gunslinger.
Luck is special something that just makes life easier from some of us than for others. Luck affects the general performance of a Ranger, allowing them to at times gain extra health on level-up, make bonus moves in combat, or dodge attacks that would otherwise kill them.
Awareness refers to a Ranger's general concentration and situational awareness. Awareness' high influence on Combat Initiative makes it an important attribute for Rangers that you want to move early and often in combat.
Strength is the brute muscular power of a Ranger – though does not represent the power or skill to actually use it. Strength is most useful for those interested in using melee weapons, but also determines a Ranger's health and ability to carry equipment.
Speed is not just the ability to run fast, but also refers to the Ranger's reaction speed and quickness in evading threats. Rangers with a high Speed tend to be able to move faster, more often, and get more attacks off in combat.
Intelligence represents the Ranger's ability to process and learn new information. Intelligence is of primary importance to Rangers that want to learn lots of Skills, but also has an influence on certain combat statistics – after all, a Ranger's smart thinking can have an influence in the outcome of a fight, too.
Charisma is a unique attribute that does not directly impact any stats, but has a number of effects. A higher Charisma will grant a Ranger bonus Experience Points, may unlock special reactions in conversations with the Wasteland's inhabitants, and increases the range of the Leadership skill's effect. The squad's total Charisma also influences how willing recruits (CNPCs) are to join the squad.
Derived Stats are statistics that are dependent upon your Ranger's Attribute values. These can change over the course of the game as you increase Attributes and gain new equipment and Perks.
Action Points determine how many actions your Ranger can take per turn.
Ranged Critical Chance and Melee Critical Chance set the base value for your chance to score a Critical Hit on an enemy with either weapon type. Critical Hits deal more damage than regular attacks.
Combat Initiative determines how often your Ranger can take a turn in combat.
Evasion decreases the Chance to Hit for any enemies targeting a Ranger.
Constitution (or CON) refers to the total health a Ranger has. The more CON, the more damage that Ranger can take before being knocked Unconscious or killed.
Combat Speed is the amount of distance a Ranger can move per-Action Point in combat.
Skill Points per Level
Skill Points per Level represent the amount of Skill Points a Ranger earns each level-up.
Maximum Carry Weight
Maximum Carry Weight determines how much the Ranger can carry (equipped items included) in their Inventory.
Constitution per Level
Constitution (CON) per Level is the amount of CON added each time a Ranger levels up.
Skills allow your Ranger team to interact with the world in different ways. Skills are divided into three different categories: Weapon Skills, Knowledge Skills and General Skills. At the start of the game, each Ranger in your squad will be outfitted with the type of weaponry and equipment that best suits his or her Skills. For example, a Ranger with Handguns and Field Medic will start the game with some medical supplies and a handgun to fight with.
Assault Rifles are a favorite of the experienced Ranger: flexible, reliable and useful in almost any situation. Assault rifles have good range, good Armor Penetration, good damage and multiple firing modes. However, they use up a significant amount of Action Points per shot, ammo is hard to find and expensive, and they lose accuracy in close quarters.
Bladed Weapons are excellent for getting in close and personal with low-armored enemies, such as the various mutated animals in the wastes. The Critical Hit rate is high, but Armor Penetration and damage of non-Critical Hits are not very good. Bladed weapons do not consume ammo.
Blunt Weapons offer a close range alternative that is a bit more dependable than bladed weapons, and better suited against armored enemies. The Armor Penetration is good and, if you do land a Critical Hit, the damage multiplier is high, but the Critical Hit Chance is significantly lower than for bladed weapons. Blunt weapons do not consume ammo.
Brawling is the final fallback if all your ammo is gone or your weapons have been lost. Brawling has a very low Action Point requirement, allowing for many attacks per turn for fast characters, and the hit rate is high, but overall damage is very low. Fists do not consume ammo.
Energy Weapons have a unique relation to armor. Energy weapons will melt, zap and boil armor that's bulky, metallic or otherwise conductive, making them extremely effective against robots and heavily armored humans alike. The downside is that energy weapons do less damage against lightly armored enemies who don't have heavy conductive armor.
Handguns are useful as a primary weapon and also a prime choice as a secondary weapon, because handguns and handgun ammo are quite common. Handguns have a high Critical Hit rate, cheap ammo and cost relatively little Action Point to use, but they suffer from low Armor Penetration and range.
Heavy Weapons can spit out huge amounts of lead, do very high damage and have good Armor Penetration, but they tend to be heavy to carry and their attacks take a lot of Action Points. Heavy weapons are also expensive and sometimes hard to find ammo for.
Shotguns are ideal crowd-clearing weapons. All shotguns have an area-of-effect cone inside which any characters - friendly or enemy - will be damaged. Shotguns use medium Action Points, meaning a well-balanced Ranger could take multiple shots per turn, but they do not have great range or Armor Penetration and shots lose effectiveness the farther away an enemy is.
Sniper Rifles have an extremely high damage output per shot. A good sniper can start off combat by taking out an enemy with a single shot, and remain deadly throughout the fight. But despite their damage, and long range, their high Action Point cost per shot means you generally can take only one shot per turn and do little else. Sniper ammo tends to be more expensive, and sniper rifles lose effectiveness if enemies come within close range.
Submachine Guns are cheap and easy-to-find weapons for the Ranger that prefers the spray-and-pray approach to combat. SMGs fire multiple rounds per shot, have very cheap ammo, and bonus accuracy at close range. However, they have low Critical Hit Chances, low Armor Penetration and are only effective up to medium range.
Animal Whisperer does not just represent a fondness of talking to puzzled animals. No, the whispering actually works. Animals are pacified by this skill, and sometimes even made to follow the party around which can sometimes result in various bonuses.
Barter represents the ability to get a better deal from merchants and vendors. Each point in Barter represents a bonus in trading situations, reducing the cost of items you buy. Barter works for the entire squad, but the bonus between multiple Rangers does not stack.
Brute Force is the Ranger's capacity to kick down, push over and smash through things. Doors, walls, pillars, even cows - whatever you see upright and think "that should be down", make it so! This skill can also be used to open certain locked doors or containers.
Hard Ass is the ability to talk tough and intimidate people, with the purpose of getting them to abandon a fight or simply let you pass. Hard Ass is only used in conversations.
Kiss Ass represents the ability to persuade people using flattery and general sweet talking. It tends towards the deceptive. Kiss Ass is only used in conversations.
Leadership is the ability to command others and inspire confidence through one's commands. It has two major effects: one is that recruits (CNPCs) will be less likely to go rogue in combat. Additionally, the Leadership skill inspires confidence, giving nearby squad members an increased Chance to Hit.
Outdoorsman is used mostly while traveling on the World Map. It reduces the rate of water consumption by the squad, and makes it possible to avoid random encounters, potentially keeping you out of dangerous unexpected firefights.
Perception indicates a keen eye for small details. It is used automatically when exploring the game world, and may uncover hidden objects, loot caches, and more. Perception also works in conversations and may reveal certain interesting details about the characters you meet in the Wasteland.
Smart Ass is the manipulative end of the conversation Skills, turning people to your way of thinking either with honest logic, or by simply outsmarting and confusing them. Smart Ass is only used in conversations.
Weaponsmithing allows a Ranger to strip useless weapons down for parts. Parts provided include Broken Weapon Parts, which can be sold, as well as Weapon Modifications, which can be installed on your squad's weapons to grant them additional effectiveness in combat.
Alarm Disarming allows a Ranger to safely disable detection systems and alarms on doors, tripwires, and other alarm devices. This is often the only way to get through some areas peaceably, or open certain electronically sealed doors and safes.
Computer Science gives the knowledge and ability to use computers and similar electronic devices, allowing the Ranger to interface, hack and repair them. Experienced hackers may even be able to sway robots and synths to join their side in combat.
Demolitions is used to arm and disarm explosives, mines and booby traps found in the world. It pairs well with the Perception skill, as even if you know how to disarm a bomb, it won't do you much good if you can't find it.
Field Medic represents the ability to use healing items. While any Ranger can use simple painkillers, it takes an experienced Field Medic to make use of more effective Medic Packs to bring a friend back into the fight.
Lockpicking is the skill of unlocking simple, reinforced locks on doors and chests, without the use of a key. Be careful of what you unlock – some people may get upset if you swindle their stuff.
Mechanical Repair gives a Ranger the skill to repair engines, appliances, and other machines. This is a situational skill that might help you solve a mechanical problem or open up a new path to get where you're going.
Safecracking is high-tech lockpicking, allowing a Ranger to open safes and vaults. Containers and doors with these high tech locks generally can't be easily opened with gunfire or conventional explosives.
Surgeon allows a Ranger to use Surgeon Kits to bring back Unconscious squad members from the brink. Surgeon is an extremely effective and important skill to have, as in most cases, once a Ranger is knocked out of a fight, there's no bringing them back without the use of these specialized items.
Toaster Repair is a highly specialized skill focusing purely on the repair and maintenance of toasters. Repairing a toaster allows one access to its contents, and you'll be surprised: people leave the darndest stuff inside those things!
When using certain Skills, you will have specific odds of success (and failure). You may use a skill repeatedly on the same object if you fail the first time.
Some Skills also have a chance of Critical Success and Critical Failure. Critical Success may allow you to get an extra bonus after using that skill, or perform the skill more quickly, while Critical Failure may injure the Ranger using it, inflict a negative Status Effect, or even break the object you're interacting with.
Quirks are special personality traits you can pick for your Desert Ranger squad during the character creation process. You can pick a single Quirk for each of your Rangers, and that Quirk will remain with and define that character throughout their adventures in the Wasteland. Picking a Quirk is optional – you can go without if you prefer to not live on the wild side.
Each Quirk has either a benefit and a drawback, or an effect that can be both positive or negative depending on the context. Quirks will change the way in which you need to play your character throughout the game – some more so than others.
Perks are a way to further customize your individual Rangers as they level up. Every 4 level-ups, your Rangers will gain 1 Perk Point, which can be spent to unlock a Perk.
Perks are additional abilities and bonuses that help fine-tune a Ranger's existing skill set, or help shore up their weaknesses. They can even open up new tactics and strategies in combat.
While some Perks are generally useful for most Rangers, and thus have no specific requirements, other Perks have skill requirements. These are listed in the corresponding skill's description text, as well as in the Perks section of your Ranger's character screen.
Experience Points & Leveling Up
Throughout the game, your Rangers will gain Experience Points (EXP). EXP can be earned for using Skills, and for defeating enemies in combat, but is also gained for solving various missions you will undertake.
When a Ranger has gained enough EXP, their yellow EXP meter will begin flashing. If you see this, you can use your Radio to check in with headquarters and earn field promotions (level-ups).
Leveling up grants the following bonuses:
- Increased CON (determined by Strength and Luck)
- Additional Skill Points (determined by Intelligence)
- Additional Attribute Points (every 10th level)
- Additional Perk Points (every 4th level)
To assign your new points, open up the Character, Skills, and Perks screens for your specific Ranger. Once spent, you cannot refund these points, so choose wisely!
When you start the game, you can pick up to four Rangers to your squad. However, as you explore the Wasteland, you may come across people who wish to join your squad as recruits (also referred to as CNPCs). Your Ranger squad can eventually reach a total of seven members through taking on new recruits.
Recruits haven't gone through the same training as Desert Rangers, and have personalities of their own. As a result, they have a chance to go rogue in combat, taking their own turn without your input (this can be reduced with the Leadership skill). Recruits may also have special interactions with certain people in the Wasteland, or influence the outcome of certain events or missions.
If you wish, you can always dismiss a recruit from your squad by using the Dismiss option in their Inventory screen. Recruits will return to your headquarters and can be picked up again if you choose.