S.P.E.C.I.A.L. is simply an acronym that stands for Fallout’s seven Primary Statistics: Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck. These Primary Statistics serve as the foundation of any and all characters in Fallout 3, from the player character to NPCs to creatures.Raising a Primary Statistic will oftentimes directly raise a Derived Statistic or Skill.
During Fallout 3's Character Creation, the player will have a total of 33 points to spend across the seven Primary Statistics, with each ranging from 1 to 10. Each skill starts at 1. When the player leaves Vault 101 at the end of character generation, he/she will be able to totally redistribute the 33 points across all the Primary Statistics (lowering or raising a Primary Statistic to a minimum of 1 or maximum of 10, if he/she so desires).
The following is a listing of S.PE.C.I.A.L.’s Primary Statistics, and their effects on Fallout 3’s game play:
- Strength: Strength is a measure of your raw physical strength. It determines how much you can carry, as well as the damage modifier applied to melee attacks.
- Perception: Perception determines how well you use your five senses, and also pertains to an almost superhuman “sixth sense.” The higher your Perception, the sooner the compass markings and targeting cross-hair will turn red, to indicate a threat.
- Endurance: Endurance is your sense of health and overall physical fitness. The higher your Endurance, the better your Hit Points, Poison Resistance, Radiation Resistance, and even Healing Rate.
- Charisma: Charisma defines your overall attractiveness and likability. Having a high Charisma will improve people’s disposition toward you, and give bonuses to both the Barter and Speech skills.
- Intelligence: With a high enough Intelligence, you’ll gain some significant bonuses to the Science, Repair, Explosives and Medicine Skills. But even more importantly, the higher your Intelligence, the more Skill Points you’ll be able to distribute when you level up.
- Agility: Agility is a measure of your quickness and dexterity. Agility determines your total number of action points, which are used to perform specialized combat actions in V.A.T.S. mode.
- Luck: Raising your Luck will, in turn, raise all of your Skill values. Having a high Luck will also improve your Critical Chance with all weapons. "Characters will benefit from a high Luck, and will suffer a little more with a lower Luck."