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Level Turn
1 32768
2 16384
3 8192
4 4096
5 2048
6 1024
7+ 512

Skills are raised upon practice (combat, crafting, tools usage). Practice is is multiplied by your current focus / 100; therefore focus pool level above 100 provides a bonus to the amount of skill gained, while amounts below 100 provide a penalty. The focus pool is not capped, but it requires higher morale to increase to higher levels, every few turns your focus is increased or decreased depending on your current morale. You can increase the speed at which you gain focus by increasing your morale.

As of 0.C (Cooper), performing a crafting or construction task of certain difficulty can only bring your skill to (difficulty*1.25)+1, rounded down. For example, boiling water and digging pits (skill 0) will only bring cooking and construction to 1. Even the easiest task will still stop skill rust.

You can also increase skill levels by reading books or being taught by NPCs. Note that reading skill books costs focus, but being trained does not.

You can toggle on and off the skill-gain of individual skills by pressing RETURN in the Skills section of the player menu @.

The Melee and Firearms skill will improve both accuracy and damage of their respective weapons, but not as much as the weapon's main skill (handguns, cutting weapons etc.)

Stats will also affect a player's skills by making them more/less effective depending on the value of the stat. Dexterity will affect the accuracy and effectiveness for most attacks. Strength will affect the damage of all melee attacks. Intelligence can improve certain skills, increase the rate of learning, and reduce the time needed to read a book. Perception can increase a player's accuracy for ranged attacks, and increases trap detection.

Skill Rust

If skill rust is turned on, skills will degrade after a while without practice. Every X turns, there is a percentage chance the current practice percentage may be decremented. This chance is multiplied by 1.33 with the Forgetful trait and by 0.66 with the Good Memory trait. Skills that are displayed as red or pink have gone long enough without practice that they are in danger of rusting. If rust takes the current practice percentage below zero and the current rust setting allows level loss, the skill level will be decremented and then the practice percentage will be set to 99%.

The Enhanced Memory Banks bionic will prevent skill rust as long as power is available.

Setting  % Chance Level Loss?
Off 0 No
Vanilla 50 Yes
Capped 50 No
Int 50 - (Int-8)*3.5 Yes
IntCap 50 - (Int-8)*3.5 No



Your skill in bargaining, haggling, and trading with others.

As of 0.B (Brin), trade values are governed by a comparison between your bartering skill and that of the NPC, with the more skilled party getting a better deal. There are Static NPCs willing to trade with you, and they are fairly skilled at bartering, so if you want good stuff in trade, it would be a good idea to take a point or two of skill in Bartering.


Your skill in accessing and manipulating computers. Higher levels can allow a user to navigate complex software systems and even bypass their security. Theoretically Computer skill can be increased by bypassing the security of computer systems but the gain from bypassing the security of a single system is so minute that its not practical to increase the Computer skill by this method. Furthermore, failure in bypassing the security of a system can cause some anti-breach systems to be deployed (manhacks, electric shocks and such) which can prove dangerous and sometimes, fatal. In practice, Computer skill can only be increased by books as opposed to most of the skills which can be increased by experience.


Your general competence in building construction. This governs the complexity of structures that can be built, and the time required to build them; difficulty levels presume that you're working by yourself.

You can raise this skill by deconstructing and reconstructing furniture and by chopping trees (using the construction menu, smashing doesn't count). To effectively raise this skill by this method, its necessary that the constructed furniture requires the same skill level as your current skill level.

In Craft boxes in the wiki and on the Item Browser construction may also be referred to as "carpentry".

In the experimental version the construction skill has been removed, the various constructions now have different skill requirements, related to the type of construction. Such as cloth related constructions are now Tailoring, food constructions are now a Cooking skill, and the general ones are now part of Fabrication, etc.


Your skill in combining food ingredients to make other, tastier food items. It may also be used in certain chemical mixtures and other, more esoteric tasks. You can raise this skill slowly by cooking food and other items which use this skill; several cookbooks and chemistry textbooks exist to speed the process.


Your skill in operating and steering a vehicle in motion. A higher level allows greater control over vehicles at higher speeds, and reduces the penalty of shooting while driving.

Low skill levels will result in you "fumbling with vehicle's controls", which turns the vehicle without your intervention. Since driving skill is trained by maneuvering the vehicle, recovering from these fumbles will eventually reduce their frequency; driving vehicles over a long distance will also achieve this, and books exist to raise your skill to 3 and 4. Increased skill levels will cause you to drive vehicles in an increasingly stable manner, and at 4, you will no longer fumble with the vehicle's controls.


Your skill in dealing with electrical systems, used in the craft and repair of objects with electrical components. This skill is an important part of installing and managing bionic implants.

Apart from reading books on the subject, you can raise this skill by disassembling ( any electronic device you find and don't need (like any flashlights after your first). Moreover, disassembling flashlights will cause you to learn the recipe which can be used to create more flashlights thus increasing your overall skill. With that said, repeated flashlight assembly/disassembly was considered excessively grindy and resulted in the XP cap based on recipe difficulty in the newer versions, so to effectively increase skills by this method make sure that the item you're constructing is requiring the same skill level as your current skill level, i.e. the required level should be equal to your current skill level.


Your skill in working with raw materials and shaping them into useful objects. This skill plays an important role in the crafting of many objects. Though several relevant books are available, this skill can be effectively raised by crafting weapons and objects which can be disassembled. To raise this skill by this method make sure that the required skill of the said object is same as your current skill level. Objects which can be disassembled (such as bows) and are best suited for this method.

First Aid

Your skill in effecting emergency medical treatment. Higher levels allow better use of medicines and items like bandages and first aid kits, and reduce the failure and complication rates of medical procedures. This skill plays a vital role in the installation of bionic modules and allows for better use of medical equipment. There are a few good books on the topic. At level one you learn to craft the various splint items.

Using medical items very slightly increases this skill.


Your skill in engineering, maintaining and repairing vehicles and other mechanical systems. This skill covers the craft of items with complex parts (like homemade guns), and plays a role in the installation of bionic equipment.

Apart from reading books on the subject, you can easily raise this skill by removing and reinstalling parts of a vehicle, or using a soldering iron to repair plastic items.

As of 0.C (Cooper), experience from removing non-destroyed car parts is not capped.


Your skill in speaking to other people. Covers ability in boasting, flattery, threats, persuasion, lies, and other facets of interpersonal communication. Works best in conjunction with a high level of intelligence. Even though NPC's may seem like a waste of time, this skill can increase the chance of getting some free equipment from NPC's that spawn in shelters.


Your skill in surviving the wilderness, and in crafting various basic survival items. This also covers your ability to skin and butcher animals for meat and hides.

For a more efficient butchering you'll need this skill at level 3, dexterity at 8 and strength at 4 or higher.

Apart from reading books on the subject, you can easily raise this skill by foraging (examining underbrush), butchering corpses (including those of zombies), crafting stone hammers and, later, digging sticks and snare triggers.


Your ability to stay afloat and move around in bodies of water. This skill keeps you from drowning, affects your combat effectiveness and speed in deep water, and determines the detriment of swimming with heavier gear.

When your swimming skill is too low to let you stay afloat, you'll still be able to walk on the bottom of the water body.


Your skill in the craft and repair of clothing, bags, blankets and other textiles. Affects knitting, sewing, stitching, weaving, and nearly anything else involving a needle and thread.

A good way to increase this skill is repair clothing you find when looting which that you don't plan to use for yourself. Avoid practicing on your own clothes at lower levels, as you might destroy them in the process. Sweatshirts are generally a safe practice item, as are Linux t-shirts of the Wrong distribution.

Tailoring and sewing apply to gear that is at least part cotton, wool, leather, fur, or Nomex. Other gear (plastic, Kevlar, steel, etc) may require a welder or a soldering iron to repair or refit. Using a soldering iron or welder to repair items raises your Mechanics skill instead.


Your skill in setting and disarming traps safely and effectively. This skill does not affect the evasion of traps that are triggered (see dodge below). You can easily raise this skill by disarming various traps; some houses' residents have been known to rig their place, and Lab goo pits are plentiful in larger facilities. (Goo pits are not fatal. Failing to disarm will cause you to be slimed, reducing your speed, but this effect does no physical damage). Land mines require a high level of Trapping skill to successfully disarm, 7 is not overkill here. That said, a single shrapnel to the head from an exploded landmine can easily kill you.

Trapping skill is about twice as effective at spotting traps as the perception stat.


Your ability to dodge an oncoming threat, be it an enemy's attack, a triggered trap, or a falling rock. This skill is also used in attempts to fall gracefully, and for other acrobatic feats. Some books exist to teach Dodge, but in practice you'll pick it up on the job. A point in chargen (buying two levels of Dodge) is generally considered a reasonable investment, thanks to the danger of live practice at low levels.

High levels (16+) of strength gives a dodge malus of 1, and low levels of strength (5 or lower) give a bonus of 1.


Your skill and finesse in personal combat, both with and without a weapon. Higher levels can significantly increase the accuracy and effectiveness of your physical attacks. High melee skill protects melee weapons from being damaged by regular use

High melee skill (3) will grant you the ability to automatically find out any item's average damage and critical chance in melee. Sort of like dweomery.

The dexterity stat also affects your accuracy.

Bashing weapons

Your skill in fighting with blunt weaponry, from rocks and sticks to baseball bats and the butts of rifles. Skill increases damage and accuracy.

Bashing weapons skill is less efficient at raising accuracy than other skills.

Bashing weapons have a damage cap dependent on user's bashing weapon skill and strength: 5 + strength + skill. This severely limits usefulness of heavy bashing weapons in combat, even for very strong characters.

Bashing weapons rely on critical hits which cause more than 225% of regular damage, stun and bypass 50% of target's armor.

Cutting weapons

Your skill in fighting with weaponry designed to cut, hack and slash an opponent. Lower levels of skill increase accuracy and damage.

Critical hits with cutting weapons bypass 5 armor and deal about 8% extra damage per skill level.

Most of the strongest weapons in game are cutting weapons.

Piercing weapons

Your skill in fighting with knives, spears and other such stabbing implements. Skill increases attack accuracy, damage and critical chance. Low skill in piercing weapons will often cause some of them to get stuck in the target.

Piercing weapons skill scales better than cutting weapons, but its usefulness is limited by weapon choice and by the difficulty of training it.

Critical hits with piercing weapons bypass 33% of target's armor and deal extra 10% damage per skill level.

Unarmed combat

Your skill in hand-to-hand fighting. For the unskilled, it's a good way to get hurt, but those with enough practice can perform special blows and techniques to quickly dispatch enemies. Unarmed combat increases accuracy significantly more than weapon skills, but isn't efficient at raising damage directly. Instead it relies heavily on critical hits, which receive the same bonus to damage as bashing weapons (225% damage, extra strength scaling and 50% armor piercing).

Raising this skill allows you to use more powerful martial arts techniques. Upon reaching level 2 in this skill, you'll automatically learn Brawling, but its techniques take considerably more ranks to activate.

Some weapons (such as brass knuckles) use unarmed weapon skill rather than bashing weapons skill for all calculations. When using those weapons, you still count as unarmed for most purposes.

Unarmed damage is bashing and follows the same rules with one exception: unarmed "weapon" damage is rolled randomly rather than being set to weapon damage. Bonus damage from unarmed weapons is applied before this roll. As a result per-hit damage of unarmed attacks tends to be low. Unarmed attacks make up for it with martial arts techniques, high accuracy and reliable critical hits.

Mutated survivors with usable natural weapons will use them more often at higher unarmed skill levels. This will happen even when wielding actual weapons. Mutated body parts (except claws, which simply boost unarmed damage) will not gain more damage through skills, only their frequency and accuracy is increased. Mutated body parts (except claws) can't hit critically.


Your overall skill in using firearms. With higher levels, this general experience increases accuracy with any gun, but is secondary to practice with the type of gun in question.

It also allows you to apply modifications to your guns.

Remember, the accuracy for any ranged attack is affected by the dexterity and perception stats.

Low perception will prevent training ranged skills with inaccurate weapons.

If you want to level this skill quickly you could take ample amounts of ammunition into a field and practice "f"iring at slow, lumbering, or otherwise weak monsters with "c"arefull or "p"ercise shots. When in the target selction menu (f), pressing enter will fire the weapon from the hip, while "c" and "p" will allow for aimed shots that use the aim speed modifier.


Your skill in using bow weapons, from hand-carved self bows to complex hunting crossbows. Quiet and effective, they require strength of body (12, if you're looking for maximum range) and sight to wield, and are not terribly accurate over a long distance.

You can start training this skill either by reading a magazine or by using any bow, composite bow or crossbow you find. Those are usually found in sporting goods stores or by deactivating or triggering traps (only for the crossbow trap). Alternatively you can make one with 1 Survival.


Your skill in using heavy weapons like rocket, grenade or missile launchers. These weapons have a variety of applications and may carry immense destructive power, but they are cumbersome and hard to manage. Two books exist and it's a good idea to at least read your way to 1, if not 3, ranks before using a rocket launcher in a survival situation.


Your skill in throwing objects over a distance. Skill increases accuracy, and at higher levels, the range of a throw.

Increases both accuracy and, at higher levels, range. Throwing costs 125 moving points.

An easy way to raise this skill is by gathering some rocks and throwing them at the evac shelter walls.

The damage and range of thrown weapons is affected by strength. Accuracy is affected by dexterity and perception.


Handguns have poor accuracy compared to rifles, but are usually quick to fire and reload faster than other guns. They are very effective at close quarters, though unsuited for long range engagement.

Accuracy for all ranged attacks is affected by your Dexterity stat.


Rifles have terrific range and accuracy compared to other firearms, but may be slow to fire and reload and tend to be very bulky. Fully automatic rifles can fire rapidly, but are harder to handle properly.

Accuracy also affected by dexterity stat.


Shotguns are easy to shoot and can inflict massive damage, but their effectiveness and accuracy decline rapidly with range. Slugs can be loaded into shotguns to provide greater range, though they are somewhat inaccurate.

This skill also includes the use of flamethrowers.

Accuracy also affected by dexterity stat.

Submachine guns

Comprised of an automatic rifle carbine designed to fire a pistol cartridge, submachine guns can reload and fire quickly, sometimes in bursts, but they are relatively inaccurate and may be prone to mechanical failures.

Accuracy is also affected by the dexterity stat.