Complete Traits Guide for Fallout: New Vegas
A comprehensive guide to traits in Fallout: New Vegas

When you create your character, you get to pick up to 2 traits. Traits are a type of ability that has both a positive and a negative effect. This guide will go over every trait in detail, explaining its function, positives, and negatives, in addition to recommending where each trait makes sense.

The guide is split into 2 parts: The base game, and the Old World Blues DLC. The Old World Blues DLC adds a large number of traits, in addition to a new method of acquiring them, so it is covered separately.

The Base Game

In the base game, there are only two instances where you can select traits. The first one is while selecting your character, and the other is if you choose to respec your character after exiting goodsprings for the first time.

Built to Destroy

Aiming for Critical hit build, Built to Destroy is a must- have | Fallout: New Vegas
Aiming for Critical hit build, Built to Destroy is a must- have
  • Bonus: +3% Critical Hit Chance
  • Penalty: Weapons degrade 15% faster

It goes without saying that the Built to Destroy trait is a must-have for any Critical hit build, however, it’s important to note that if you intend on using throwing weapons, such as spears, dynamite, frag grenades, or throwing knives, the trait has no downsides, as those weapons do not rely on weapon condition at all.

Fast Shot

Fast Shot traits increases DPS | Fallout: New Vegas
Fast Shot traits increases DPS
  • Bonus: +20% attack speed with guns and energy weapons
  • Penalty: +20% spread with guns and energy weapons

This trait is incredibly useful, as it directly increases the player’s DPS with all guns and energy weapons. The only time when this trait shouldn’t be picked is if the player is not planning on using guns/energy weapons, or if the player is planning on only using very low-accuracy firearms, such as the Automatic Rifle from the Dead Money DLC.

Due to how the accuracy penalty is calculated, the penalty is almost nullified if the player is using a very accurate weapon, such as Paciencia or the Anti-Materiel Rifle.

The trait is highly nerfed on consoles, as it decreases the maximum accuracy in V.A.T.S. to 76%.

Trigger Discipline

Trigger Discipline is not a suggested trait | Fallout: New Vegas
Trigger Discipline is not a suggested trait
  • Bonus: -20% spread with guns and energy weapons
  • Penalty: -20% attack speed with guns and energy weapons

A very disappointing trait. Most weapons are accurate enough and you won’t need the boost, but the attack speed penalty will be very noticeable on all affected weapons. Don’t bother with this trait.

Note that picking both this trait and the Fast Shot trait will lead to a 4% penalty to both spread and attack speed.

Four Eyes

Four Eyes  trait applies its debuff to Perception while picking perks | Fallout: New Vegas
Four Eyes trait applies its debuff to Perception while picking perks
  • Bonus: +2 Perception while wearing glasses
  • Penalty: -1 Perception while not wearing glasses

This trait applies its debuff to Perception while picking perks, but not its buff. This means that the player will need to invest more into Perception to get the perks that require a high Perception stat. This makes the trait generally not worth taking.

Good Natured

Good Natured traits is a recommended traits | Fallout: New Vegas
Good Natured traits is a recommended traits
  • Bonus: +5 bonus to Speech, Medicine, Repair, and Barter 
  • Penalty: -5 penalty to Energy Weapons, Guns, Explosives, Melee, and Unarmed

This trait is one of the best traits in the game for new players. This is thanks to all of the skills the trait boosts being very useful together, while you only really need one of the weapon skills maxed out, even in the late game.

Heavy Handed

Heavy Handed woth for melee and unarmed builds | Fallout: New Vegas
Heavy Handed woth for melee and unarmed builds
  • Bonus: +20% to melee and unarmed damage
  • Penalty: -60% melee and unarmed critical hit damage (this also applies to sneak attack criticals)

Unless you are planning on relying on sneak attack criticals, this trait is definitely worth it for most melee and unarmed builds, as many do not make use of critical hits, with the Industrial Hand from the Lonesome Road DLC being one of the few major outliers.

Note that this trait also affects thrown weapons.

Kamikaze

Kamikaze  trait should be avoided entirely unless you are planning on utilizing V.A.T.S. | Fallout: New Vegas
Kamikaze trait should be avoided entirely unless you are planning on utilizing V.A.T.S.
  • Bonus: +10 Action Points
  • Penalty: -2 Damage Threshold and -15% Damage Resistance

This trait should be avoided entirely unless you are planning on utilizing V.A.T.S. often, as the penalties to your defensive abilities make you a lot weaker and the 10 bonus action points are not worth it in most cases.

Loose Cannon

Loose Cannon trait synergizes with the Heavy Handed trait | Fallout: New Vegas
Loose Cannon trait synergizes with the Heavy Handed trait
  • Bonus: You throw weapons 30% faster.
  • Penalty: Your range with thrown weapons is 25% lower.

This trait is very useful, as the range penalty for thrown weapons is not likely to be an issue for the most part, with the only exception being Holy Hand Grenades, because throwing them with this trait is likely to leave you in the blast radius.

This trait synergizes with the Heavy Handed trait. Combining the two will make thrown melee weapons immensely powerful.

Small Frame

Small Frame increases the player’s base Agility | Fallout: New Vegas
Small Frame increases the player’s base Agility
  • Bonus: +1 Agility
  • Penalty: +25% limb damage taken

Thanks to the existence of the Tough Guy challenge (destroy a limb 50 times), which grants a perk that decreases the limb damage taken by 20%, this trait pretty much fixes its own penalty later on in the game. The bonus to agility is very useful, as it increases the player’s base Agility, making some of the Agility-related perks easier to get. All in all a great trait.

Wild Wasteland

Wilid Wasteland trait will give you access to the Alien Blaster Pistol | Fallout: New Vegas
Wilid Wasteland trait will give you access to the Alien Blaster Pistol
  • Bonus: Access to many easter egg-type encounters and some special weapons.
  • Penalty: Removes access to some normal content.

This isn’t as much of a “trait” as it is a way of playing the game. If you like seeing references to popular culture in your game, this trait is for you. If you prefer a more grounded experience, then do not take this trait.

One worthy thing to note is that picking this trait will give you access to the Alien Blaster Pistol, an incredibly powerful but limited ammo energy weapon, but it will remove your access to the YCS/186, a unique Gauss Rifle that serves as the energy weapon counterpart to the Anti-Materiel rifle.

Old World Blues

The Trait Respec

At the start of the Old World Blues DLC, you will get the “All My Friends Have Off Switches” side quest. During this quest, you’ll find the Auto-Doc Module. 

Taking the module back to the player base at the Sink and speaking to the Auto-Doc will allow the player to take a psychological examination. After the examination is performed, the player will be able to re-assign their traits. This can only be performed once.

The Traits

Claustrophobia

Claustrophobia trait +1 all S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes while outside | Fallout: New Vegas
Claustrophobia trait +1 all S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes while outside
  • Bonus: +1 to all S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes while outside
  • Penalty: -1 to all S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes while inside

This trait could be useful, however, it will reduce all of your skills while indoors. This means that you will always need to consume a Perception/Lockpick-boosting item to pick locks, or an Intelligence/Science-boosting item to hack terminals if the penalty reduces either those skills below the required value (and it always will if you are picking/hacking a Very Hard locked item). This makes the trait very inconvenient and not worth the hassle.

Early Bird

Early Bird trait with all S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes from 6 AM to 12 PM  | Fallout: New Vegas
Early Bird trait with all S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes from 6 AM to 12 PM
  • Bonus: +2 to all S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes from 6 AM to 12 PM
  • Penalty: -1 to all S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes from 12 PM to 6 AM

A very middling trait. The bonus is nice and lasts during most of the hours that you’ll be playing, and you can always wait/sleep out the 6-hour penalty, but there are more useful traits for you to pick. 

Hoarder

Hoarder useful in Hardcore mode | Fallout: New Vegas
Hoarder useful in Hardcore mode
  • Bonus: +25 lbs to maximum carry capacity
  • Penalty: -1 to all S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes if you are carrying less than 160 lbs

A trait that lives up to its name. If you are a hoarder, or you like using heavy weapons and armor, this trait is for you. It’s even more useful in Hardcore mode, as ammunition is given weight, meaning that you are very unlikely to ever suffer from the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. penalty outside of the very early game.

Hot Blooded

Hot Blooded +15% damage while below 50% of your max HP | Fallout: New Vegas
Hot Blooded +15% damage while below 50% of your max HP
  • Bonus: +15% damage while below 50% of your max HP
  • Penalty: -2 to Perception and Agility while below 50% of your max HP

An amazing trait that should always be taken if you have a spare trait. The penalty to Perception and Agility matters a lot less when you can just heal up to get rid of it, but the 15% extra damage can make the difference between survival and death.

Logan’s Loophole

Logan’s Loophole perfect trait for players that want to rush through the game’s main story | Fallout: New Vegas
Logan’s Loophole perfect trait for players that want to rush through the game’s main story
  • Bonus: All consumables last twice as long and you can’t get addicted to them
  • Penalty: Your level is capped at 30

The perfect trait for players that want to rush through the game’s main story. The bonus is very powerful, especially in Hardcore mode, where it will also double the duration of Stimpacks. If you aren’t planning on playing all of the DLC or doing any of the sidequests, this trait is a no-brainer. Otherwise, you’re better off without it.

Skilled

Skilled +5 to every skill | Fallout: New Vegas
Skilled +5 to every skill
  • Bonus: +5 to every skill
  • Penalty: -10% experience gained

A decent trait overall. The experience penalty is hardly noticeable, and there is more than enough XP to be gained in the Mojave to reach the max level anyways.