The NCR Chemical Trooper is an expert at both military small arms and the use and creation of common chems and other aids. Some specialized explosive skills help to round out this build, and keep the fun factor high.
DLC Required: All (Uses Perks from all DLC sources.)
Max Level Required: 30 (Nothing is stopping you from going to 50, however.)
Logan's Loophole Friendly: Yes (None of your required perks are higher than level 30)
Perks Required: 11
Required Skills Maxed: 3 (To meet perk requirements)
Traits Required: 1 (Optional role playing trait is presented as well.)
1. Attributes and Scores
SPECIAL BASE SCORES:
Strength - 6 (As a courier, you need to be able to haul a decent amount of gear around in a pinch.)
Perception - 5 (Average, but that's all you need. )
Endurance - 6 (You've got to be hardy in the Mojave, and being tough always helps.)
Charisma - 5 (This porridge is just right. You aren't a smooth talker, but you can manage.)
Intelligence - 7 (This is vital, as it determines skill points and gives a boost to Science and Medicine.)
Agility - 5 (Good enough to not shoot yourself in the foot. Guns matter, but aren't vital.)
Luck - 6 (You survived a pair of point blank shots to the head. That's lucky, plain and simple.)
This is, again, a very average looking score on the surface, but with implants and a couple of Intense Training sessions it gets more defined.
SPECIAL MODIFIED SCORES:
Strength - 7 (An implant makes the difference here. Save those caps.)
Perception - 6 (Another implant here, and a small boost to explosives to boot.)
Endurance - 8 (A combination of Intense Training and an implant. Get tough.)
Charisma - 5 (Sorry, no change here. No real use in this build.)
Intelligence - 8 (One intense training session or an implant gets you some serious smarts.)
Agility - 6 ( An implant to help you get a better accuracy rating in VATS.)
Luck - 7 (Another implant here, helps lady luck smile at you, and boosts crit chance.)
These are the traits you'll pick at character creation.
Skilled: Grants a +5 to all skills at the cost of 10% experience reduction. Big deal. There are infinite enemies and you'll level up anyway. This is a no brainer.
(Optional) Trigger Discipline: This is purely for role playing purposes. It does slow down your rate of fire outside of VATS and improves your accuracy overall. However, what the game doesn't tell you is that it increases AP usage by 20% in VATS for all weapons (a serious oversight by the developers), making this more for players who like to manually aim. It stacks with some perks, notably Sniper, and can net you an increase of 87.5% on head shot accuracy in VATS.
(Optional) Logan's Loophole: This build could actually benefit from this trait, as none of the perks are above level 30 anyway, and it gives you another free perk slot thanks to the benefit it provides. Doubles the duration of chems and makes you immune to addiction, but locks your level cap at 30, which means some skills will never get any better. Not a major issue, and with the use of chems this could be a fun way to play.
We'll start with the tagged skills at the beginning of the game. Some folks like to choose what benefits them in the tutorial and then change to their "true skills" when they venture out into the wasteland. I'm not one of those people. These are what you get stuck with, and represent your characters basic and advanced training in the NCR.
*Guns - The choice between Guns and Energy Weapons is a purely role playing choice. If you want to stay true to the spirit of the NCR, go with Guns, if you want to focus on synergies, go with Energy Weapons. I choose guns to drive home that basic familiarity with old world projectile weapons. Max it out fairly early if you can.
Medicine - Some would argue that this is out of place for a build that isn't a combat medic. I would agree, but the ability to craft chems is tied into the Medicine skill, and combined with the basic medical training all soldiers get, this makes the most sense. I wouldn't push this past 50 or 60 in game, but it is tagged.
*Science - The vital skill of this build. Science allows the creation of several helpful chems, as well as Stimpacks and some explosives. From a role playing perspective, this makes more sense than Survival, even though Survival allows access to more recipes in the long run. This one goes to the cap, early.
Beyond the big three, you will have a few more skills that can help you out. Skills that need to be maxed quickly will be marked with an asterisk (*). If you're worried about having the skill points to do so, don't be. With these scores and perk progression, you'll end up with 696 total skill points earned at level 50 (416 at level 30 with Logan's Loophole), more than enough to max the big three and a couple of others.
*Explosives - This skill makes the build. The ability to craft and use different explosive weapons is a basic one for NCR soldiers and gives you more combat options. There are a few perks that require high skill levels, so it's best to just max this one out early.
Lockpick - This is basically a requirement for all Fallout games. You don't need to max it out, but doing so is easy once you've got the other skills capped.
Survival - This allows some serious crafting options, but I don't think you need to focus on getting it maxed early. You should start with a value of 22 thanks to your traits and scores, and that will easily allow some useful recipes with a temporary skill magazine boost. After level 4, it will be at 24 with no skill points used. Take your time with this skill and get creative with your gear if you need to.
Repair - Vital. You need to be able to keep your weapons in working order and this is a requirement for some perks. You don't need to max it out, but you can and should.
3. Perk Progression and Implants
Each level will have a recommended perk, but some will have choices, and depending on your play style, you can come back and get the others later. All perks presented here are required for this build to function.
But first, my recommended implants.
Implants (Dr. Usanagi): Strength, Perception, Endurance, Agility, Luck, Monocyte Breeder, Sub-Dermal Armor (40,000 caps total)
Implants (Old World Blues): Implant M-5, Implant C-13 (18,000 caps total)
Level 2: Intense Training (Intelligence), Intense Training (Endurance) - I recommend taking Intelligence first to maximize skill points. Endurance can come later, but take it sooner for the HP benefit.
Level 4: Take the Intense Training you passed on at level 2. None of the level 4 perks are useful right now.
Level 6: Mad Bomber (Explosives and Repair 45 required) - This allows you to craft some truly useful explosives, including the Tin Grenade if you have a base line Explosive skill of 45. Tin cans are everywhere and having easy access to grenades early makes a difference.
Level 8: Grunt - Improves damage by 25% with most small arms. This ties nicely in with your Guns skill and is a bit of a flavor perk too. All soldiers start as Infantry, so why not embrace the suck?
Level 10: Open - take what you want here, None of the required perks are in this range.
Level 12: Hit the Deck, Splash Damage (Both require 70 Explosives) - Choose between a 25 point to DT vs explosives or a wider range for your own explosives. I like to go with Hit The Deck first, as the bonus works against rockets and mini nukes too.
Level 14: Chemist or the perk you passed at 12. Chemist doubles the duration of chems and requires a 60 in medicine, which you should have by now.
Level 16: Chem Resistant, Chemist, Perk passed at 12, - Chem Resistant halves your addiction chance. Useful for a soldier who is constantly popping something in battle, and in general. If you are using Logan's Loophole, ignore Chem Resistant and take the perk you haven't taken yet.
Level 18: Walker Instinct, Perk you passed - Walker Instinct improves your Perception and Agility by a point when outside, and only requires a Survival of 50. Like having a constant pre- war outfit equipped. None of the other level 18 perks are useful at all. AT ALL.
Level 20: The perk you haven't taken yet. None of the level 20 perks are useful at this stage of the game. If you like one of them, take it on the next open level. Open if you are using Logan's Loophole.
Level 22: Open - Take something you like here. Go on, I won't judge you. Not much anyway.
Level 24: Open - Still around? Good, pick something you like and keep it moving.
Level 26: Open - Same song, different verse. Take a shiny perk that catches your eye. I won't tell on ya.
Level 28: Rad Absorption - The only useful perk here, and it will drain radiation over time. Not enough to let you walk around Searchlight without a rad suit though.
Level 30: Implant GRX - A 2 second, non addictive Turbo 5 times a day. Take the second rank at 32 if you aren't playing Logan's Loophole. Stacks with Chemist and the challenge perk Day Tripper for a longer duration.
4. Recommended Gear
None of these are needed to make the build work, but I like the look of them and they fit the overall aesthetic of the build in general.
(I can also provide game saves with the gear unlocked in Goodsprings upon request. Alternately, you can send me a game save and I will edit it for you. Details upon request. )
Weapons: 9mm Pistol, Marksman Carbine/All- American, Gobi Campaign Scout Rifle - This gives you a nice assortment of short, mid and long range options that nearly all fall under the Grunt perk. The Gobi Scout Rifle doesn't get the benefit, but with a base damage of 48, it doesn't really need it. I hope you don't plan to use a sniper rifle in close combat.
The All-American can be a pain to find, but you can locate it in the Armory of the highly irradiated Vault 34. It does require a Guns skill of 100 to use, so be aware of that. You can also find the Marksman Carbine here, which you can use to repair the All-American.
The Gobi is locked in a Very Hard case in the Sniper's Nest overlooking Cottonwood Cove. You can find the Sniper's Nest nearly due south of Ranger Camp Echo.
Armor: Desert Ranger Combat Armor - The best piece of Medium armor in the game, in my opinion. You might want to beat feet due north and finish Honest Hearts asap to get your hands on it. A pain to repair, as you can only do so with NCR Ranger Armor or by paying a merchant. Still, it provides the equivalent protection of power armor and weighs a lot less, clocking in at 30 pounds.
Headgear: Desert Ranger Combat Helmet/ 1st Recon Beret - The DRC Helmet is weightless and grants 3 points of defense, but can only be repaired by ranger helmets. Meanwhile, the 1st Recon beret grants a +5 to crit chance and 1 point Perception bonus, with no defense (it's a damned beret).
Other: Rebreather - This gives you the ability to breathe underwater and is a quest item, meaning it is weightless. Useful in some areas and gives the look of a protective mask. Can't be worn with the DRC Helmet unfortunately, but it makes a good combo with a regular combat helmet.
That's a wrap for this build folks, I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to give me any suggestions for future builds in the comments below. Thanks for reading.