This is a gunner build who utilizes lever-action weapons and Perks that yield crowd control.A hybrid build who is proficient at both firearms and melee combat.Yeehaw I guess?
Introduction to CCC: SPECIAL and Traits
CCC (short for Crowd Control Cowboy) is a Guns/Melee hybrid character, who is proficient at combat on all distances and maximizes their crowd control potential with all the corresponding Perks.
While it does take some planning to pull off, this build still leaves room for optional Perks to choose from. I’ll mark them in Perks section with [optional].
Here’s the stat spread:
S 5 -> 6 after implant (to qualify for Super Slam) -> 7 or 8 after OWB
P 5 -> 6 after implant (to qualify for Better Criticals)
E 9 -> 10 after implant
C 1 -> 2 after implant
I 6 -> 7 after implant (to qualify for Voracious Reader if you want it, but even w/o 7 INT is plenty enough)
A 7 (with Small Frame trait) -> 8 after implant (to qualify for Tunnel Runner)
L 8 -> 10 after Implant + Lucky Shades
Skilled – no explanation needed, best Trait in the game by far. 65 free skill points for a rather irrelevant downside.
Small Frame – free AGI point to qualify for Tunnel Runner perk. After you’ve grabbed Tunnel Runner, you can swap this out for another Trait of your choice if you want to. If you intend to make heavy use of shotguns (which is one of this build’s strong suits), I recommend trying out Trigger Discipline.
Skill points: Prioritizing and planning ahead
Since this build uses a certain set of Perks, it’s important to reach desired skill values by the time you get to choose Perks. In this section, I’ll list skills you’d want to prioritize over the other skills.
1. Guns is the most important one. You’ll want to reach 45 by the time you hit lvl 8 and 70 by the time you hit lvl 10.
2. Repair comes in as close second. You’ll want to reach 45 early on (to qualify for Light Touch perk) and 70 for the Hand Loader perk (optional, but handy). Besides Perks, Repair is just overall a fantastic skill to have.
3. Melee Weapons comes in third. Even if you don’t intend to use melee weapons often, reaching 45 by the time you hit lvl 8 should be your top priority solely for the Cowboy & Super Slam Perks.
4. Survival has some good Perks going for it, and it fits the cowboy theme nicely. While both Survival related Perks are ultimately optional, I find it easy to justify high Survival skill just for the sake of the Perks.
Rest of the skills don’t have vital Perks attached to them, but it’s a good idea to invest heavily into Lockpicking and Speech. Science also pops up frequently in skill checks and both Barter & Unarmed have one useful Perk at 70, but otherwise you can invest skill points in any manner you see fit.
Perks: What to pick and when
Here’s a summary of Perks which I consider important, followed by explanations.
2: Rapid Reload – You don’t have many Perks to choose from, so this one’s fairly easy. We’re using lots of “Reload one bullet at a time” , thus +25% faster reload comes in handy.
4: Comprehension OR Educated – Depending on if you want to hunt for skill books ASAP or not, I’d pick one Perk or the other, not both. Keep in mind that Comprehension synergizes well with Voracious Reader (optional, but cool) whereas Educated doesn’t.
Skill magazines can be bought at the Followers & New Vegas Clinic, so Comprehension isn’t really missing out on skill points either.
6. Light Touch – None of the 6th level Perks are immediately useful to us, so let’s pick LT. 5% flat Crit chance and -25% to get critted by enemies makes Light Armor route fairly strong.
8. Cowboy – Grab it ASAP. This Perk raises damage dealt by lever-action weapons (Cowboy Repeater, Lever-Action Shotgun, Trail Carbine, Brush Gun), revolvers and Combat Knives by 25%. Even your low-tier weapons stay relevant much longer!
10. Finesse – No-brainer in nearly any build.
12. And Stay Back – By now, you should have found some decent shotgun. ASB is one of our strong Crowd Control Perks and one of the reason what makes shotguns so strong.
14. Shotgun Surgeon – And here’s the other Perk what makes shotguns powerful. Negating 10 DT with Shotguns makes them lethal to anything but the most heavily armored foes (BoS or OWB robots in particular).
16. Better Criticals – Hands down the best Perk at lvl 16.
18. Travel Light – While 10% more speed doesn’t sound much, keep in mind it affects ALL your movement speed. Especially in close quaters, it’s important to stay on the move all the time.
20. Rad Child – Even at lowest radiation poisoning, the Health regen is a huge benefit. This Perks alone makes Dead Money DLC a cakewalk, it’s that damn strong.
22. Super Slam – Another CC ability. Shotguns tend to struggle vs OWB robots, it’s often more practical just to whack them ’till they stop moving.
24. Up to you. [Optional]
26. Tunnel Runner – Even if you don’t sneak often, crouching improves your accuracy. Add in OWB’s Implant M-5 and you’ll sneak almost at same pace as you’d walk/run.
28. Up to you. [Optional]
30 – 50. These perks are entirely optional and I don’t consider them as vital as the ones listed above. Just stay away from the useless ones and you should be good to go no matter which route you pick.
Hand Loader is nice if you like tinkering with Reload Benches, Pack Rat is nigh-mandatory in Hardcore mode IMHO, Chemist & Chem Resistant are great if you like consumables… but really, there’s so many paths I can’t summarize them in few sentences.
Optional but recommended Perks
In this section I’ll list Perks that I’d recommend trying out, but are ultimately optional. You don’t necessarily want to grab ALL of them, these are merely recommendations for differing playstyles.
Pack Rat [requires Barter 70] – hefty requirement for a skill that overlaps with Speech, but Pack Rat is such a convenience perk at Hardcore I wouldn’t consider making a character without this perk.
Chemist & Chem Resistant [both require 60 Medicine] – Really handy if you like consumables. Note that Chemist actually applies with ALL aid items with duration, not just chems. This includes things like Stealth Boy, skill magazines and food/water items.
Hand Loader [requires 70 Repair] – If you don’t mind tinkering with Reload Benches and hoarding some Weapon Repair Kits, this perk lets you craft powerful custom-made ammo. Shotguns ammo with fewer pellets have less spread than buckshots (7 pellets), which turns Hunting Shotgun into fairly reliable mid-range weapon.
Miss Fortune – This one deserves an honorable mention, as I think this is an underrated perk. While I don’t like to use VATS often, Miss Fortune can incapacitate whole group of Deathclaws single handedly. Each time she fires a shot, there’s a chance she’ll either cripple a limb, blow up opponents weapon (rendering them unarmed) or knocks them down. This can be a lifesaver in tough spots, and overall just a fun perk to use.
Voracious Reader [requires 7 INT] only with Comprehension! – This perk lets you duplicate relatively rare skill magazine True Police Stories, and with Comprehension the Crit % goes from 5 up to 10%. Very nifty if you want to max out your Crit chances. Stacks nicely with Chemist perk too.
Piercing Strike [requires 70 Unarmed] – If you want to use unarmed/melee weapons on regular basis, you’ll want this perk. Chance’s Knife benefits greatly from this + Cowboy perk.
Jury Rigging [requires 90 Repair] – Hefty requirement, but this is another super convenient perk to have.
Implant GRX – non-addictive Turbo is a powerful tool in a pinch, one you shouldn’t overlook.
Atomic! with Chemist – Rather niche perk outside radiated areas, but if you’re willing to stock up on coyote steaks you can abuse temporary rad gain for added movement & attack speed.
Lesson Learned – If you intend to skip some quests and/or DLC or two, but want to hit level 50, you may wanna grab this convenience perk soon as it becomes available at lvl 26. Sure, it does “stop working” once you reach lvl gap, but chances are you’re in the final stretch by then.
DLCs: Recommendations and specific notes
Here I’ll list my order of preference in DLCs and what to keep in mind (spoiler free of course).
First off, unlike the base game, DLC enemies scale with your level like in Fallout 3. This means weapon wielding foes gain stronger firearms at higher levels. This means you’ll have easier time with some DLCs when going in lower level than at higher levels.
Anyways, let’s start with the first one.
– Your first DLC should be Honest Hearts, and you’ll want to aim at level range 8-12 when getting into Zion Valley.
– You can only lug 80 pounds of equipment with you (100 lbs when passing some skill checks), but you’ll quickly find new weapons and ammo.
– This DLC grants you a follower for most of the DLC. You’ll meet the first one at the very start of the DLC (after the initial ambush), Follows-Chalk. His default weapon includes a pistol and he’s a fairly good shot, so you may wanna explore the Zion Valley before following the quest markers. Doing this footwork early on makes the remaining DLC easier and faster.
On to the second DLC, Old World Blues.
– Aim at level range 16-20 when starting this DLC. Humanoid enemies start packing some seriously heat at player lvl 30+.
– This DLC contains strong melee foes with little/no DT, and also ranged robots with high DT. This means you’ll want to bring along a burst-fire weapon (SMG or shotgun) and some higher caliber rifle with you to deal with the wide variety of foes. Make sure you’ve also unlocked Super Slam, you’ll thank me later.
– This DLC has some high skill checks in terms of Science, Medicine and Speech. If you want to pass them all, bring along skill magazines and skill boosting items (Naughty Nightwear for Speech, Follower’s lab coat for Science+Medicine etc.).
– Remember, you can return to OWB once you’ve completed the main quests. So don’t feel pressured to complete everything in one go.
Third DLC should be Dead Money.
– This is the “horror survival” DLC of the bunch. This means you’re better off conserving ammo to your best ability (for blowing up radios and transmitters) and relying on your melee/unarmed weapons for killing enemies.
– This DLC strips you from your equipment at the start of the DLC, which in turn means low supply of healing items. You can mitigate this by grabbing Rad Child perk and getting a minor radiation poisoning (this makes the whole DLC considerably easier imho).
– You can disable the holograms by locating their emitters and by destroying them or by disabling them with Repair.
Last one is Lonesome Road.
– Riot Shotgun + And Stay Back helps A LOT when dealing with Tunnelers. Stay on the move and make sure you never get surrounded.
– Bring a good assortment of weapons with you. This DLC has both open space areas and tight corridors.
– Even on Hardcore mode, the ED-E follower merely goes unconcious when at 0 HP. Let it do the tanking for you.
Short summary on gear and equipments
Headpiece: 1st Recon Beret + Lucky Shades. Beret is easily obtained from Boone’s quest, but Lucky Shades requires Idolized reputation with Legion. You can get rep by stealth killing NCR troops and turning in their dog tags at Cottonwood Cove.
Armor: Early on Reinforced Leather Armor, after HH Joshua Graham’s Armor and Ulysses’ Duster at the late game. You’ll be wearing Graham’s Armor for the majority of the game.
Weapons: Up to you, really. This build makes great use of shotguns and lever-action rifles, and revolvers if you really fancy the cowboy theme.
Well, none really.
Let me know in the comments.