There are seven Primary Attributes that describe various stats of your character: Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. These are your character's strength and weaknesses, and the limits of which other aspects of a character are determined. In general, Primary Attributes are not altered after the game begins. For more information on what each of the Primary Attributes mean to the game, see Attributes.
There are twenty-one skills a character knows. These are the skills a character learns as he or she travels through the wasteland. They are: Academics, Athletics, Barter, Craftsmanship, Deception, Energy Weapons, Explosives, Heavy Weapons, Investigation, Light Weapons, Lockpicking, Mechanics, Medicine, Melee Weapons, Persuasion, Pilot, Pugilism, Science, Stealth, Survival, and Thievery. For more information on what each of the Skills mean to the game, see Skills.
Traits are an optional part of character development. They are usually a double edged sword, giving a bonus, as well as a penalty, making characters more unique. For more information on traits, see Traits.
Perks are special abilities a character gains every few levels, and sometimes just for doing something extra neat in the game. Perks may affect skills or make gameplay more interesting. For more on perks, see Perks.
Just like in the real world, the post-nuclear world has a system of morals. Rather than an abstract idea of morality, punishment, and reward, karma, in the Fallout universe, is a numerical value of how many good or bad things a character has done. Do enough good things, and word gets around. Do enough bad things, and people will find out. Really good people tend to not associate with really bad people, and vice versa. If a person does an action which can dramatically alter their karma, they may obtain a Karmic Perk. A beginning player's Karma always begins at zero.
This is a basic catch-all category for other parts of a character. Many of these do not change very often, except for those related to armor. Secondary Attributes include Armor Class, Radiation Resistance, Poison Resistance, Healing Rate, Unarmed Damage, Action Points, Carry Weight, Damage Resistance, Sequence, and Critical Chance.
Before going any further, a player must choose a race. All are human, or were human, but each have their own advantages and disadvantages. The races include Human, Ghoul, Super Mutant, Deathclaws, Dogs, Robots, and S'Lanter. For more information on each of the races, see Races.
NOTE: If you are following the Vault Dweller campaign, each of the players begin in a vault and can only decide between being a Human or a standard Robot.
Before anything else, think of a character concept, choose a race, and pick a trait or two. After that, the player must now decide on their Primary Attributes. Primary Attributes influence the Secondary Attributes, and are sometimes rolled against to determine different effects (Perception may be used to passively notice a thief flinching for your wallet). All characters have 40 points they are allowed to distribute among their Primary Attributes. Primary Attributes can never go below racial minimums and over racial maximums.
If you chose a trait that effects a Primary Attribute, keep this in mind as you are distributing your points; traits cannot (usually) raise Stats above racial maximums or lower Stats below racial minimums, either, so there is no use in wasting a points! Remember to adjust Attributes for Traits after assigning your points.
After the Primary Attributes have been determined, the Secondary Attributes now must be determined. Remember that racial and trait bonuses and penalties need to be applied to Secondary Attributes. Formulas for determining initial levels of Secondary Attributes are given with the description.
Now its time to tag your skills. Every character starts off with three tagged skills (unless the character gets an extra tagged skill because of a trait). These skills can best be described as what you are "gifted" at. Tagged skills gain a bonus of 20 points and whenever you put 1 skill point into it, the skill grows by 2.