The Fallout 3 Ultimate Stealth Character Guide
This FAQ is copyright 2010 by Stanley E. Dunigan (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This FAQ may be posted and used anywhere by anyone as long as it's unaltered,but always check one of the official host websites listed below for the latestversion.
GameFAQs (www.gamefaqs.com) -- always the first site updatedNeoseeker (www.neoseeker.com)Game Guide World (gameguideworld.net). SuperCheats (www.supercheats.com) -- I've been having trouble updating this oneCheat Happens (www.cheathappens.com) -- this one, too
Check the Universal Hint System (www.uhs-hints.com) for my complete Fallout 3hint file. It's not a FAQ-style walkthru, but instead organizes the hints into ahypertext-like Q&A document, making it easier to find the hints you need withoutaccidentally seeing other hints you don't want yet.
This FAQ was originally written for Playhaven, but they've apparently trashedall of their PC, Xbox, etc. guides to become a dedicated mobile gaming site (thetraitors!), so I decided to re-release this FAQ on GameFAQs and some of my otherfavorite gaming sites.
The FAQ contains detailed information on building and playing a powerful stealthcharacter that should work very well even on the highest difficulty setting withno cheats. In fact, it's the only character build I would recommend for thattype of playthru. Remember that on "very hard" difficulty, you'll be doing halfdamage, and enemies will be doing you double damage. That's nothing compared toOblivion's 6x multipliers, but it's still a real pain. (At least you'll get morecombat XP than on lower difficulty settings.)
Everything in this FAQ is based on playthrus of the Fallout 3 Game of the Year(GOTY) edition on the PC with all five add-on games installed. Any differencesyou experience will probably be due to playing with a different set of add-onsor on a different gaming platform.
If you have tips for improving my stealth build or the V.A.T.S. referencesection, or have a different stealth build that you want to share, send me anemail at the address given in the copyright section.
VERSION 1.66 (8/28/2010) NOTES AND CREDITS:
Old Crow made a comment on Game Guide World about using Jack the ripper thatmade me realize I hadn't put in much info about power saw weapons, so I added acouple of paragraphs about them to the user-submitted tips section.
VERSION 1.65 (6/12/2010) NOTES AND CREDITS:
* Mentioned that the alien blaster is the best sneaky V.A.T.S. head shot weapon* Created a new section at the end of the FAQ for user-submitted tips* Added Orvoc's tip about using the gauss rifle for sneaky shots
VERSION 1.6 (6/7/2010) NOTES AND CREDITS:
* Put a game version note in the above FAQ description* Added glitch note to the "Chinese Stealth Armor" section about wearingmultiple headgear items* Added note to the V.A.T.S. advantages list that weapons don't really degradefaster in V.A.T.S. mode* Specified that you take 10% of normal damage while in V.A.T.S.
VERSION 1.5 (5/31/2010) NOTES AND CREDITS:
* Added note to "Chinese Stealth Armor" section about using the Pip-Boy's light* Expanded the paragraph about using noisy weapons in the "Other Useful Things"section to include info on non-V.A.T.S. sneak attacks with multiple-projectileweapons.* Added note at the end of the same section about Dogmeat and Sergeant RL-3having mega-huge hit points, too.* Since using V.A.T.S. effectively is very important to this character build, Iadded a new V.A.T.S. reference section. It mainly contains specific advancedinfo, so check the game manual and the http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/V.A.T.S.web page if you need detailed basic info.
VERSION 1.1 (5/24/2010) NOTES AND CREDITS:
For this update, I fixed an error in the level 22 thru 30 recommended perks (I'dleft out Nerves of Steel), and I added a tip for getting the Lucky Shades whileyou're in the neighborhood of Tenpenny Tower.
VERSION 1.0 (5/23/2010) NOTES AND CREDITS:
This is the original version of this walkthru, so I have no one else to credityet.
********************************** THE SILENT RUNNING PERK **********************************
In Fallout 3, there are two things you must have for a super stealth character.The Silent Running perk, which starts being available at level 12, is one ofthem. It allows you to sneak-run without being any more detectable than whenyou're slowly sneak-walking. This eliminates a vast amount of tedium when itcomes to sneaking up on or sneaking past enemies.
In fact, if you're using something with a stealth field on it (see nextsection), you can sneak-run right up to enemies and whack them with a meleeweapon for tremendous damage. Even if they aren't killed, they probably won'tsee you, and you can wait until your stealth indicator reads "hidden" again toget in another powerful sneak attack. If an enemy does detect you, you can standup and run for a spot out of his sight, then crouch and wait for your stealthindicator to return to "caution" before going after him again.
Try to get your Sneak skill up to 50 by the time you get to level 12 so you cantake the Silent Running perk right away. If you don't want to spend a lot oflevel-up skill points on Sneak, hunt up the Sneak bobblehead and several Sneakskill books before you reach level 12.
******************************** CHINESE STEALTH ARMOR ********************************
The other thing you need for a super stealth character is the Chinese stealtharmor. It's not as powerful a cloaking device as stealth boys are, but it isconstant-effect, and you can always pay to have it repaired (or repair ityourself with recon armor) if it gets too damaged to use. As long as you'rewearing it and crouched, you'll have a stealth field around you that's very hardfor anyone to penetrate. The main ways to get yourself detected are crouch-running without the Silent Running perk, firing off noisy weapons like shotguns,and brushing up against people, so be careful to avoid doing any of that.
To get the Chinese stealth armor, install the Operation: Anchorage game add-onand finish its quests, then check the shelves in the armory.
NOTE: While you're sneaking around in the stealth armor, having the Pip-Boy'slight on doesn't seem to increase your chances of being detected, so leave it onall the time in dark areas to help you see better.
GLITCH NOTE: While wearing the stealth armor, you can equip several differentheadgear items and get the benefits of all of them, except for the DR bonuses --usually only the DR bonus of the first headgear item you equip will count. Soequip something with a good DR bonus first, then equip several other items toget attribute and skill increases. You can only have one of each type ofheadgear equipped at a time, but if you have two of the same type, you can equipone of them and then keep clicking on the other one to get the bonus increased.This is especially cool if you have two hockey masks. Equip one of them, thenclick on the other one a bunch of times to get your Unarmed skill increased by 5every time. Also, even after your Unarmed skill is 100, you can keep on clickingto increase the damage that unarmed weapons like power fists will do. Tocompletely remove a headgear glitch bonus, simply unequip the equipped headgearitem.
****************************** OTHER USEFUL THINGS ******************************
The Silent Running perk and Chinese stealth armor are all you really need, butto take full advantage of them, you should build up some other skills and obtaincertain weapons. Devastating sneak attacks with melee weapons will be by faryour most powerful combat tactic, so get your Melee Weapons skill up high andget some powerful melee weapons to use. Jingwei's shocksword (also an Operation:Anchorage reward item) is a good one, but the shishkebabs that you can make atwork benches are more powerful, especially if you get the Pyromaniac perk. TheNinja perk is also a good one, since it increases your critical chance andsneak-attack damage when using melee weapons.
As great as your sneaky melee abilities will be, there are some other usefulthings to consider. One of them is quiet ranged weapons, which can be used on anenemy from a distance without him detecting you. Your stealth indicator willchange to "caution," but it shouldn't go to "danger" even if you keep shootingyour target. Two good weapons to do this with are the silenced 10mm pistol andthe dart gun (another work-bench-made item). The dart gun will cripple anenemy's legs and do a bit of poison damage, so it's a good weapon to start with.After that, finish the enemy off with the silenced pistol or sneaky meleeattacks.
The auto axe and infiltrator weapons that you can get from the Pitt add-on gameare also great stealth-friendly weapons. The infiltrators are particularlyterrific, since they're basically a cross between assault rifles and sniperrifles, neither of which are stealth-friendly. For best results, get the uniqueinfiltrator called the Perforator by retrieving 90 steel ingots for Everett inthe mill.
Explosives are also good for a stealthy character to use. Sure, they're verynoisy, but the noise doesn't come from your position, so it won't give you away.You can toss grenades at enemies to damage them, or you can set mines for themto stumble onto. With enemies that are too powerful to take down with a singlemelee sneak attack, you can lay a line of mines, then go to the opposite end ofthe line and shoot your target once with a dart gun or silenced pistol. Thatshould get him to run over to your position, setting off mines as he goes. Ifyou want to use sneaky explosive attacks a lot, you should pump up yourExplosives skill, and make lots of bottlecap mines and nuka-grenades at workbenches. You might also want to consider taking the Demolition Expert perk atleast once.
Weapons that aren't stealth-friendly can also be useful, especially if they deala lot of damage per shot. Their already-high damage will be greatly increased bythe sneak-attack damage bonus, and even more by the head-shot damage bonus ifyou're sneak-shooting someone in the head. This can be useful when you'rewanting to take down a single powerful enemy quickly -- sneakily head-shot himwith a powerful weapon, then quickly finish him off if he isn't dead already.Just remember that your stealth will be compromised, and any other nearbyhostiles will immediately start attacking you.
The alien blaster is a good noisy sneak-shooting weapon since it does so muchdamage and always scores critical hits, but weapons that fire multipleprojectiles (especially combat shotguns) are even better as long as you don'tuse V.A.T.S. for your sneaky shot. If you do use V.A.T.S., that'll ruin theprojectile damage multiplier for some reason (a glitch, maybe). So sneak up nextto a deathclaw or whatever and blast him point-blank with your combat shotgun totake him down in one shot, then run for cover if any other enemies detect you.
For maximum effect, get the Terrible Shotgun from Smiling Jack at EvergreenMills. You can really put down some toughies with it! The next best weapon isPaulson's Revolver from the Mothership Zeta add-on game. It does a little lessdamage, but also weighs less. And do go ahead and get the alien blaster too,since it's the best weapon for non-sneak attacks, and will be invaluable forwhen you're detected and can't run away or restore a save. It's also the bestweapon for sneaky V.A.T.S. head shots, which you might want to do on occasionrather than get close enough for a good shotgun blast.
Having a follower with you can also be useful. As with explosives, he'll be verynoisy and attract a lot of attention, but won't (usually) compromise yourstealth. Since it can often be hard to keep a weaker follower alive withoutusing noisy weapons and coming under attack yourself, you should only try thiswith Fawkes. He's very tough to begin with, and if you have the Broken Steelexpansion installed, he'll have a totally ludicrous number of hit points (up to15,000 if you're level 30). Since he's essentially impossible to kill, you canlet enemies focus on attacking him while you take your time sneak-attackingthem.
One disadvantage of doing this is that Fawkes will kill a lot of enemies withoutyou getting any XP for them. Another disadvantage is that if you fast-travelsomewhere, Fawkes will usually end up right next to you, and he'll probablydetect you briefly. If there are any enemies nearby, they'll automaticallydetect you also, and will start attacking you. When that happens, quickly run toa spot out of their sight and crouch there until your stealth indicator goesback to "caution." Fawkes will be taking care of business while you wait.
NOTE: In my latest playthru, I discovered that Dogmeat and Sergeant RL-3 alsohad huge hit points. The fact that I hadn't noticed this earlier made mecurious, so I did a bit of investigating. It turns out that the whole ideabehind this is that the Broken Steel add-on modifies all followers so thatthey'll gain a few more hit points every time you level up. There's apparently aglitch that causes Fawkes, Dogmeat, and RL-3 to get *waaay* more hit points thanthey're supposed to. Since it probably wasn't a deliberate design decision, itmay be "fixed" in a patch someday. Until then, get Dogmeat and either RL-3 orFawkes and put their vast toughness to good use!
************************************* ONE POSSIBLE STEALTH BUILD *************************************
As long as you get the Silent Running perk and the Chinese stealth armor, youcan build your character just about any way you want to, and he can still besuper sneaky. However, I recommend that you combine your sneak build with aV.A.T.S. fighter build. I did that with a couple of characters, and had greatsuccess with them both. When you exit Vault 101 and finalize your S.P.E.C.I.A.L.attributes and tag skills, choose the following:
Strength: 7Perception: 6Endurance: 7Charisma: 1Intelligence: 6Agility: 6Luck: 7
Tag skills: Small Guns, Sneak, Lockpick
When you level up, remember that your most important skills are Sneak, MeleeWeapons, Small Guns, Repair, and Lockpick. Consider those your major skills.Your minor skills include Medicine, Science, and Explosives. On your first fewlevel-ups, put most or all of your skill points into your major skills. Oncethey get to 50 or so, you can start putting more points into your minor skills.As for perks, I recommend the following:
Level 2: Intense Training (Strength)Level 3: Intense Training (Luck)Level 4: EducatedLevel 5: ComprehensionLevel 6: ToughnessLevel 7: GunslingerLevel 8: Strong BackLevel 9: CommandoLevel 10: FinesseLevel 11: Intense Training (Agility)Level 12: Silent Running [Sneak 50+]Level 13: SniperLevel 14: Cyborg [Medicine 60+, Science 60+]Level 15: Pyromaniac [Explosives 60+]Level 16: Action Boy/GirlLevel 17: Better CriticalsLevel 18: Concentrated Fire [Energy Weapons 60+, Small Guns 60+]Level 19: Bloody MessLevel 20: Ninja [Melee Weapons 80+, Sneak 80+]
Note the skill requirements that are in square brackets after some of the perks.You'll want to make sure your skills are up high enough to take those perks whenI have them listed. After you reach level 12 and get the Chinese stealth armor,spend some time sneaking around and grabbing up bobbleheads and skill books toprepare for upcoming perks like Cyborg and Pyromaniac. If you sneak constantlyand avoid all combat, you shouldn't level up much or at all during the process.
As a V.A.T.S. fighter, you'll be disappointed that you can't get Grim Reaper'sSprint at level 20. However, all you have to do is get the Broken Steel add-ongame so you can level up to level 21 and get it then. (Or if you just can't waitfor the reaper, you can take that perk at level 20 and Ninja at level 21.)
As for further perks, the only really good new one is Nerves of Steel. A lot ofpeople like Almost Perfect, especially in conjunction with the "wait until afterlevel 30 to get all of the attribute bobbleheads" strategy, but having all 9'sor 10's in your attributes isn't much better than a carefully planned, build-specific attribute set. Quantum Chemist can be good for getting more Nuka-ColaQuantums to make nuka-grenades with, but only if you really like nuka-grenadesand start saving up Nuka-Colas at the beginning of the game. I'd advise makingyour level 22 thru 30 perks be Nerves of Steel, Demolition Expert (all three),Paralyzing Palm, Adamantium Skeleton, Mysterious Stranger, Life Giver, and FastMetabolism (in whatever order, as long as Nerves of Steel is taken at level 26).If you really want Quantum Chemist and Almost Perfect, take them instead of FastMetabolism and Adamantium Skeleton.
*********************** STARTING OFF ***********************
After you exit Vault 101, go straight to Megaton and do the misc. quest "ThePower of the Atom" to get yourself a house, then loot Megaton and Springvale(including the school) to get lots of loot and XP. Then go to Tenpenny Tower anddo its quest, opting to help the ghouls invade so you can reap lots more lootand XP. (Get the two available dart gun schematics while you're there, and getthe Lucky Shades from the store that's a bit SW of the tower.) After that, do the Operation: Anchorage add-on's quests to get the stealth armor, then do moremisc. quests and combats until you reach level 12. You'll then be ready to dosome serious sneaking!
***************************** V.A.T.S. REFERENCE *****************************
--- THE FIVE V.A.T.S. ADVANTAGES ---
* Increased critical chance: Every time you make an attack with any type ofweapon, using V.A.T.S. will increase your chance of making a critical hit by15%. Even if your Luck stat is high and you have the Finesse perk, this can be abig help in finishing off tough foes. (Note that your weapons' conditions don'tdegrade faster in V.A.T.S. mode, despite what you may have heard.)
* Aim assistance: At long range, your chance to hit in V.A.T.S. will be so lowthat you might as well just take your best aim and shoot without it. However,V.A.T.S. is very useful for close-up shooting, especially with enemies who aremoving around quickly. Hit the V.A.T.S. key to "freeze" them in place, then takeyour time choosing where to shoot them. Remember that head shots will do moredamage, though it'll usually be a bit harder to hit the head than the otherparts. Thankfully, being close to an enemy means that every part of him will befairly easy to hit.
Another good thing to target in V.A.T.S. is an enemy's weapon, especially ifit's a big one like a missile launcher or minigun. It's pretty easy to shoot abig weapon out of an enemy's hands, especially if you're using a combat shotgunor assault rifle. You'll have a chance to grab the dropped weapon after theV.A.T.S. session is over, though you'll have to be quick to get it before itsowner reclaims it. You can also disarm an enemy by targeting his arms, butshooting the weapon directly usually works better, and has the added effect ofrapidly lowering the weapon's condition. You may end up breaking it so that itcan't be used at all, which means you won't have to run to pick it up to keepyour opponent from using it again.
NOTE: If you're using unarmed or melee attacks (or grenades), you won't be ableto target a specific body part, and therefore can't take advantage of the head-shot damage bonus or specifically target an enemy's weapon.
* Near Invulnerability: While you're in V.A.T.S. mode, you only take 10% ofnormal damage from any attack. Unfortunately, V.A.T.S. doesn't always start upthe instant you hit the V.A.T.S. key, so it's risky to try to time things sothat you go into V.A.T.S. right before an attack hits you. Also, to get theattack to hit you while you're still in V.A.T.S., you'll need to have enoughaction points to do an attack or two of your own. This is one of the mainreasons you should maximize your action points as much as you can. See thesections for perks, items, and chems.
* Total LOS targeting: V.A.T.S. can always see any enemy that's within your lineof sight (LOS), even if you can't due to factors such as distance or darkness.You can use that in conjunction with the red blips shown on your compass topinpoint nearby hard-to-see enemies, and thereby make attacking them or sneakingpast them much easier. Just remember that V.A.T.S. usually won't be able totarget a nearby enemy if he's mostly or completely obscured from your LOS by anobstruction.
* Gap-closing: To hit an enemy with a melee or unarmed attack without V.A.T.S.,you'll have to get very close to him. With V.A.T.S., you don't have to be nearlyso close. Experiment with it to see how far away V.A.T.S. will let you be whilestill doing melee and unarmed attacks. Also note that V.A.T.S. doesn't care ifthere are partial obstructions between you and your target as long as you'vestill got LOS.
--- V.A.T.S.-RELATED PERKS ---
(Note that some of what I say here contradicts what I recommend for perks in theabove "One Possible Stealth Build" section. After reading through this listcarefully, go over the recommended perk list and see if you want to replace anyof the perks on it with something else. You probably shouldn't unless you have areally good idea of what you want instead. For instance, you could replace thefour V.A.T.S. aim-increasing perks with damage-increasing perks like BlackWidow, Entomologist, and Robotics Expert.)
* Gunslinger, Commando, Sniper, Concentrated Fire: These four perks all have todo with improving your aim in V.A.T.S. As stated above, V.A.T.S. is really onlyuseful for close-up combat, where you'll always get good chance-to-hitpercentages, so none of these perks are really all that useful.
* Mysterious Stranger: This is a very quirky perk, and isn't really recommended,though it does have some useful features. If your target's health is less than150 when a V.A.T.S. session ends, there's a 10% chance that a "mysteriousstranger" guy will show up and use his super-powerful magnum to finish yourtarget off. One problem is that the stranger is manifested as a physical person,which means he needs to be placed somewhere specific. Sometimes his placementprohibits his shooting the target because he won't have LOS with it. On theother hand, he can sometimes kill multiple targets for you, though don't counton this always happening. Other disadvantages include not always getting the XPfor an enemy that he finishes off, and your action points not getting restoredif you have Grim Reaper's Sprint.
NOTE: If you want to maximize the chances that the stranger will show up andfinish off a particular target, repeatedly V.A.T.S.-attack that target one timewith a weak weapon -- preferably a ranged one, like a silenced 10mm pistol. Thiscan be a good way to finish off a distant foe before he can get close to you,especially if you're sneaky enough to avoid his notice.
* Action Boy / Action Girl: This perk permanently adds 25 to your action points,and is therefore highly recommended. Remember that it's not your aimingpercentages in V.A.T.S. that you need to increase as much as possible -- it'syour action points.
* Paralyzing Palm: This perk has nothing directly to do with action points, butis still very useful to high-level characters due to the toughness of some ofthe enemies they'll be encountering. The worst three are the super mutantoverlords, feral ghoul reavers, and albino radscorpions that the Broken Steeladd-on introduces to the wasteland. Those guys have ridiculous numbers of hitpoints, and simply cannot be killed quickly in conventional ways. One good wayto deal with them is to have this perk, which allows you to paralyze them bywhacking them several times in V.A.T.S. with your fists or unarmed weapons.While they're paralyzed, quickly shoot them in the head with a powerful weaponlike the Terrible Shotgun (a unique combat shotgun) or a tri-beam laser rifle (anew Broken Steel weapon). Having a powerful follower like Fawkes along will helpa lot, too.
* Grim Reaper's Sprint: This perk is very useful because it will instantlyrestore all of your action points when a V.A.T.S. session is over if you killedyour target. This allows you to immediately start up another V.A.T.S. session,in which you'll hopefully be able to kill another target. This can be used toeasily clear an area of weaker enemies, or of stronger enemies that were firstsoftened up by explosives and/or sneaky melee attacks.
* Nerves of Steel: This is a level 26 perk that will only be available if youhave the Broken Steel add-on game. It doesn't add to your action points, but itmakes them regenerate faster. That will help you get back into V.A.T.S. soonerin the all-too-frequent situations where you can't kill your target in oneV.A.T.S. session, and therefore won't get the reaper to restore your actionpoints.
NOTE: On the PC version of the game, this perk only increases action pointregeneration by a super-tiny amount. To fix this, use the G.E.C.K. constructionset program to load up the BrokenSteel.esm file, then edit the script namedDLC03APRegenScript. On the line that starts with "Set MicroRegen," change thenumber after the slash from 10 to something smaller. 0.75 will cause your actionpoints to regenerate about 50% faster than normal, and 0.25 will make them regenat double the normal rate.
* Almost Perfect: This is a level 30 perk that will only be available if youhave the Broken Steel add-on game. It isn't technically a V.A.T.S.-related perk,but it is the best way to get your Agility attribute up to 10, which will giveyou the largest base number of action points (85). You'll need to create yourcharacter with an Agility of 6 or so in order to get by until you reach level30, at which time you can take this perk and then go get the Agility bobblehead.
* Wired Reflexes: This is a special perk that you can receive as a quest reward.All it does is improve your accuracy in V.A.T.S., but it's worth getting becauseyou don't have to spend a level-up perk slot on it. Go to Rivet City near the SEcorner of the world map and do its "The Replicated Man" misc. quest so you canget this perk from Dr. Zimmer.
The Finesse perk is also recommended to increase your critical chance even more,and the Better Criticals perk will make each critical hit you score count formore. The Chemist and Chem Resistant perks can also be useful to characters whouse chems to increase action points a lot (see the section on chems), but aren'trecommended since chems should only be used in emergencies, and their regulardurations are usually long enough.
--- V.A.T.S.-RELATED APPAREL ---
* Ledoux's Hockey Mask: This mask adds 25 to your action points when you'rewearing it, and is therefore THE number one most important equipment item forV.A.T.S. users to obtain. The guy who has the mask will be at the Red RacerFactory (a ways south and a tiny bit east of Megaton) after you go through theNuka-Cola Plant (a long ways directly south of Megaton) and get the Nuka-ColaClear formula. The formula is in a key-required safe near the NW corner of theresearch room, which is just west of the room with the factory exit door. To geta key to the safe, find the robot named "Milo, Shipping Foreman" and either talkit into giving you the key, or trash it and take the key. After you sell theformula to Goalie Ledoux, kill him and his two hockey-fetish buddies to claimtheir items, including the wondrous mask.
NOTE: The mask can be removed and put back on in inventory (or via hotkey) toinstantly set your action points to 25 if they're less than 25. Also, you mayoccasionally have to remove and reequip the mask to get your bonus action pointsback, since they sometimes disappear.
WARNING: Be sure to get the mask before you finish the misc. quest "The Nuka-Cola Challenge." Otherwise, Ledoux might never show up.
* Lag-Bolt's Combat Armor: This unique combat armor adds 10 to your actionpoints when you wear it. That's not much of a bonus, and you may prefer to wearother armor most of the time (like the Chinese stealth suit for sneaking aroundin). If you want it, get the Broken Steel add-on and do its main quests up tothe point where you restore power to the metro car that can take you to theAdams AFB terminal. After restoring power, go up the stairs past the nearby EXITsign and check the bench for a holotape. Pick it up and listen to it in theData/Notes section of your Pip-Boy, then go up some more stairs to find an exitto the Capitol Building. Sneak or fight your way outside, then travel to the LaMaison Beauregard Lobby area in the D.C. ruins' Georgetown interior region.Inside the lobby, kill the guy named Lag-Bolt to get his armor.
* Ranger Battle Armor: This combat armor only increases your action points by ameasly 5, so don't bother getting it unless you want it for other reasons (likeits Small Guns +10 and Luck +1 effects). The way to get Ranger battle armor isto do the "Reilly's Rangers" misc. quest, which starts at the ghouls' Underworldarea inside the Museum of History. After you finish the quest, Reilly will letyou choose either Ranger battle armor or a unique minigun named Eugene as yourreward.
NOTE: All three of the Rangers that you rescue on the quest are wearing Rangerbattle armor, so you could get three suits of it by letting them all get killed.Or since you only need one suit, you could let one of them get killed and rescuethe other two. (If you get Brick killed, you can get both the battle armor andEugene from her.)
* Tribal Power Armor: This unique power armor adds 15 to your action points, butdecreases your Agility by 1, so the net gain to action points is actually 13.That's still more than the other two armor suits listed above, but remember thatyou'll have to get power armor training from the Citadel or the Operation:Anchorage sim before you can wear it. To get it, turn in all 100 steel ingots toEverett in the Pitt add-on.
There are also various outfits that boost your Agility by 1, which will increaseyour action points by 2. All pre-war apparel (excluding headgear) will increaseAgility by 1, as will some other cheap and common clothing like brahmin-skin andwastelander outfits. There are also three unique outfits that will do the samething: The AntAgonizer's Costume from the "The Superhuman Gambit" misc. quest,Maple's Garb from the "Oasis" misc. quest, and the Laborer Outfit that you canget by turning in 10 steel ingots to Everett in the Pitt add-on. The actionpoint gain is so small that you won't want to wear any of those outfits unlessyou had another reason to (like the +1 to Strength and Endurance that theLaborer Outfit gives).
--- V.A.T.S.-RELATED CHEMS ---
* Jet: This is the most common action-point-increasing chem, and can be foundand bought in many different places. Since it's weightless, you should keep allthe ones you find so that you'll be sure to always have some on hand. Due to therisk of addiction each time you use one, you should save them for special combatsituations where having 30 more action points for awhile will be a big help. Inmost combat situations, it's better to use a few stimpaks and run for coverwhile your action points regenerate.
NOTE: You should finish Megaton's "The Power of the Atom" misc. quest as soon asyou can and buy the "my first infirmary" item for your home. That way, you canalways return home and detoxify yourself for free whenever you become addictedto jet or any other chem.
* Ultrajet: This is the other weightless action-point-increasing chem, and isalso good to have several of on hand. Since it's technically a different itemfrom jet, its effect will stack with jet's effect, giving you a total of +70temporary action points. The problem with ultrajet is that it's not widelyavailable. You'll have to go to the Northwest Seneca Station (near Arefu, whichis a ways NW of Megaton) and make a deal with the ghoul named Murphy. Go collectsugar bombs from the many places that have them, then turn them over to Murphy.He can make one ultrajet for every eight boxes you sell him. Whenever he has atleast one ultrajet in his inventory, you can access his merchant services andbuy them from him.
NOTE: If your Lockpick skill is 75 or higher, you can sneakily pick open thefootlocker that's on the floor next to the desk and steal ultrajets instead ofpaying for them.
* Nuka-Cola Quantum & Miss. Quantum Pie: Bottles of Nuka-Cola Quantum will add20 to your action points. This isn't the best option due to the facts that youget fewer action points than you can from jet or ultrajet, you get 10 rads addedon, each bottle weighs a pound, and there are several better uses for quantums.One small advantage is that they're a bit less addictive than the chems. If youreally want an extra +20 action points beyond the +70 that you can get from jetand ultrajet, you should finish the misc. quest "The Nuka-Cola Challenge" andhave Sierra turn quantums into Miss. Quantum Pies. They also weigh a pound each,but they're not addictive at all, they only add on 5 rads, and they also give a+1 to Strength. The disadvantages include having to hunt up vodka and the veryrare flour for the pie-making, having to go to Girdershade every time you wantpies made, and the -1 to Intelligence.
* Fire Ant Nectar: These special chems can only be gotten from the fire antsthat are in and around Grayditch, which is a ways east and a bit south ofMegaton. The whole fire-breathing ant problem is the subject of the "Those!"misc. quest. Fire ant nectar doesn't directly affect action points, but insteadadds 4 to Agility. If your Agility is 6 or under, the nectar will add 8 to youraction points, otherwise it'll only add (10 - Agility) X 2 to your actionpoints. You'll probably prefer to save the nectar for its temporary +25 fireresistance or sell it to Dr. Lesko after the quest is over.
* NukaLurk Meat: This is another very rare action-point-increasing item, thoughit at least gives you 10 temporary action points and restores 20 hit points. Youcan only get NukaLurk meat from NukaLurks, which can only be found in the Nuka-Cola Plant (a long ways directly south of Megaton).
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--- THE GAUSS RIFLE ---
Orvoc wrote in to inform me that non-stealthy ranged weapons such as the gaussrifle can be used for sneaky shots if you stay out of an enemy's line of sight.While testing this out, I discovered that if you're far enough away from thenearest enemy, you won't be detected even if you don't duck out of sight afterfiring. If you're closer, fire from a position next to something that you canduck behind immediately after firing. This is rather tricky to pull off,especially if there are several enemies nearby, so always try to keep yourdistance.
As for weapon choice, you should always use the gauss rifle from the Operation:Anchorage add-on for this, since it's the most powerful scoped weapon in thegame, has a lot of health, has a blast radius, and always scores a knockdown oncritical hits. When you find a powerful enemy alone, you can V.A.T.S-shoot himin the head at close range, back off a bit and wait for your stealth indicatorto read "hidden" again, and repeat. If the enemy is an NPC rather than acreature, you can run up to him and steal his non-equipped inventory while he'sdown (just like with the Paralyzing Palm perk). With enemies that are in agroup, either zoom-shoot them all from a safe distance or use a stealth-friendlyweapon to lure them away from the group one at a time so you can deal with themindividually.
--- POWER SAWS ---
Old Crow left a comment on Game Guide World about using the unique ripper calledJack because it can score critical hits and does increased limb damage. Checkingall of the game's power saw weapons (rippers and auto axes), I discovered thatJack is indeed the only one that's capable of scoring critical hits outside ofV.A.T.S., and it's the only one that does 150% of regular limb damage. However,those advantages are pretty much nullified by the facts that any saw weapon canscore a sneak attack critical in V.A.T.S., and dart guns can instantly crippleboth of a target's legs (the only really useful type of limb damage) at range.
It also seems that saws do more damage in V.A.T.S. than out of it, whetheryou're sneak-attacking or not. Due to that, the auto axe called The Mauler isthe best saw weapon to use if you're wanting to go that way, since it does moredamage than any of the others. However, shishkebabs are still superior due tothe fact that they have a much lower action point requirement. With 135 or soaction points, you can use The Mauler or any other saw weapon only twice, butyou can use the shishkebab four times. Four shishkebab hits adds up to moredamage than two hits with even The Mauler, especially since at least one of itslast three hits is likely to be a critical hit. (Plus, shishkebabs weigh muchless than auto axes, or even rippers.)