You’re S.P.E.C.I.A.L. (Part 1)

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So instead of our usual “skills” post, we’re going to be tackling the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats system from the Fallout games!  We’re going to address each branch on its own, and go over some ways to boost your own individual stats for each one.  Originally, this was just going to be one post, but it ended up being pretty long for just one, so we have TWO posts!  Part one today, and part two on Thursday!  Let’s do it!

“S is for Strength, and that means I am strong! I can carry lots of toys and swing stuff all day long!”

Obviously, raising your strength seems pretty straightforward.  The Vault Dweller Workout is a good way to do this, however, any strength workout is going to make you stronger!  However, it’s important to address the difference kinds of strength.  Strength, roughly defined, is your ability to move weight.  That weight could be a barbell, or a sandbag, or a car, or even just your own weight.  Strength is increased by progressive increased work load – adding an extra five pounds to your deadlift every week, for instance.

Increasing the number of repetitions in a set beyond five, or increasing the number of sets beyond five, is going to result in rapidly decreased strength gains.  So, lifting fifty pounds five times will increase your strength if five reps is about all you can muster at that weight.  However, if lifting fifty pounds is super easy and you do it another ten times after that, you’re going to see very small (if any) gains in strength, that is, your ability to move MORE weight.  You’re moving weight more times, not moving more weight.

Keep this in mind if you’re looking to really increase your raw strength.  Anything that goes much above five repetitions per exercise is not going to increase your strength that much.  Might I suggest the Master Chief, Gannondorf, or Sephiroth workout?

“P is for Perception, a long funny word! It means what I tasted, smell, saw and heard!”

Increasing perception is a matter of practice, like anything else.  Obviously, increasing your perceptive abilities vary based on certain preconditions (so if you were born near or farsighted you’re going to have a hard time significantly increasing your sight.)  However whatever senses you do possess can all be bumped up a bit.  Here’s a few ideas on how to practice increasing perception:

  • Shut all the other senses down.  Try using blindfolds, ear plugs, gloves, etc to nullify your other senses and focus on just the one.
  • Use the periphery.  This doesn’t just apply to peripheral vision.  Try to focus on minute details being picked up constantly by your subconscious.  Feel the breeze on the hair of your arms, notice the scents you’re absorbing as you move through daily life.  Try to pull out subtle tastes hidden among the big ones.  Drill on on faint background noises.
  • Combine your senses.  When you smell, try breathing through your mouth and taste a bit, too.  When you’re trying to hear something, look in that direction, too.  When inspecting an object, touch it while you’re looking at it.  Make a concerted effort to use at least two of your senses in every information-gathering task you engage in.

Above all else, try to utilize every sense consciously at least a couple times a day.  We tend to rely entirely too much on just our sight and hearing to observe the world.  Bring every sense you have to bear.

“E is for Endurance, and that’s how long I can play! I’m always really healthy, and have energy all day!”

So here’s the opposite of what we were talking about with strength!  Endurance is the ability to perform an action a whole bunch of times without getting fatigued.  Running, swimming, and cycling are all fantastic ways to increase your endurance.  Endurance can also be measured by how long your can hold a load under duress.  This would be like maintaining a 90-degree hold in a pull up position, or hold a squat (horse stance, for you martial arts folks) for an extended period of time.

It should be noted that hitting the very upper echelons of either endurance or strength will usually cost you a bit it the other department.  This isn’t to say you can’t be very strong and have great endurance, because it’s totally possible!  Think about American football players, or ice hockey players.  However, a world-class strongman is probably not going to be winning a marathon anytime soon, and a world class triathlete, while strong, probably won’t be deadlifting 800 pounds anytime soon.

The Vault Dweller Workout is actually great for building endurance.  As a circuit workout, it taxes your whole body pretty equally, and the burnouts at the end will really get your cardiovascular system pumping  For an extra degree of difficulty, try cutting the wait time between circuits down to 30 seconds, rather than a full minute or two.

“C is for Charisma, it’s why people think I’m great! I make my friends all laugh and smile, and never want to hate!”

Charisma is a funny thing.  As an intangible quality, it’s difficult to quantify or measure, but you can definitely tell when someone has a lot of it, vs. when someone does not.  Charisma, however, is also a skill, which means it can be learned, trained, and improved.  Even if you’re not a particularly charismatic individual right now, you could become one if you choose to!  Here’s a few ideas to get started:

  • Be positive.  The mnemonic limerick used for Charisma is actually pretty accurate in that respect.  Charismatic people are generally positive and forward-facing, and their zeal for looking on the bright side encourages others to do so as well.  Even just making a conscious effort to smile a lot (genuine smiles, not fake ones) can boost your charisma.
  • Be decisive.  Don’t be afraid to have opinions.  Charismatic people tend to not waffle too much on issues they care about.  Their personal opinions may ruffle feathers sometimes, but their positive, happy way of expressing them (see above) can still put forth a charismatic image, even to those that may disagree with them.
  • Be encouraging.  Don’t put people down, don’t say negative things about others (even if they aren’t present.)  This goes hand-in-hand with positivity.  People remember who gossips and who doesn’t, who genuinely believes in people and who just puts others efforts down.  Be the cheerleader, and be genuine about it.  Don’t just flatter people for the sake of flattery.
  • Be inclusive.  Don’t speak in terms of “I” and “me,” speak instead in terms of “we” and “us.”  Make it clear to the people around you that you’re in it for the group, not yourself (even if you’re the leader of the group.)  Make a point of trying to include people who may be a bit outside social circles, and remember the three previous rules when interacting with them.  Bringing more people into the fold will always make you appear more charismatic.


That’s our first four letters!  On Thursday we’ll be covering Intelligence, Agility, and Luck, in You’re S.P.E.C.I.A.L (Part 2) so make sure to come back then to finish things out!  In the meantime, start incorporating some of these techniques into your daily life!  You can start becoming more S.P.E.C.I.A.L. right now!

Live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome!

Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace

PS: Don’t forget to check out my Fallout 4 Let’s Play!  New episodes every other day!

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2 thoughts on “You’re S.P.E.C.I.A.L. (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: Character Spotlight: The Vault Dweller | Be a Game Character

  2. Pingback: You’re S.P.E.C.I.A.L. (Part 2) | Be a Game Character

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