[Let’s Study] Fallout the Roleplaying Game, Part 5: Survival

Everything you need to worry about outside of getting shot, stabbed, blown up or vaporized is in this chapter. Fallout has always lent itself well to survival mechanics. It opens up with options for several survival considerations that a GM can use in their game.

These mostly revolve around the core penalty of Fatigue. Hunger, Thirst and Sleep all are tracked along several states and as you get more and more deprived, you start gaining Fatigue which in turn deals damage. As much as this feel like a bit much in terms of bean counting and tracking statuses, it’s what hammers home the importance of Scavenging.


Outside of Quests, this is what your Fallout character will likely be doing to offset the survival mechanics above (and for sweet, sweet loot!)

Scavenging locations are described by the GM through several attributes:

  • Category – this determines a number of factors such as the kind of obstacles, hazards and occupants it has
  • Level – This determines the general challenge level of NPCs present in the location
  • Scale – The size of the location overall, bigger places usually have more loot, bur are also more likely to be occupied
  • Degree – This is the degree to which the location has already been searched and looted prior, this determines the difficulty of Skill Tests to search the location for loot
  • Items – Every location has a list of item categories which determine which loot tables to roll on and for how many times
  • Other Details – Obstacles, hazards and occupants are detailed here

Of course, Scavenging means you run into all sorts of trouble. This takes the form of Inhabitants, Obstacles and Hazards

  • Inhabitants – People or creatures already occupying a location. They might be friendly, but don’t count on it!
  • Obstacles – Anything that limits accessibility to loot counts as an obstacle. These are usually physical obstacles like locks, fences, gates, and such.
  • Hazards – These represent aspects of a location that are dangerous by their nature. These can be anything from heat / cold, sharp objects, heat, and anything that can actively harm a person scavenging for loot

A successful Scavenging attempt lets you roll on the various Loot tables. Depending on the nature of the location, these can be anything from Ammunition, to Clothing, Food, Chems or Junk, which is important as Junk can be salvaged into the materials necessary for Crafting!


Making the most of what you have is the other aspect of Fallout’s Survival. Hardly anything you find in the Wasteland will be in perfect condition, so it’s important to be able to be able to fix things, or build new things if you have the know-how and the means to do so.

Fallout 2d20 does this by Workbenches, which are spaces which have the right tools and space to create or fix things. These are armor, chemistry, cooking, power armor, cooking and weapons workbenches.

Of course just because you have access to the workbench doesn’t mean you’ll know how to use it. Recipes for workbenches are rated from Common, Uncommon and Rare. Common Recipes are known to everyone, but Rare Recipes might require studying under a specific NPC or as a GM reward.

What follows is a listing of recipes sorted by the workbench necessary to make them.

The Survival and Crafting Rules of Fallout are pretty involved, and seem to be easy enough to treat as optional. Depending on the preferences of the play group, some of them might enjoy this sort of play, while those who are more oriented towards less granular resource counting can simply handwave such things.

Personally, I feel it groups might miss out if they remove these mechanics. Sure it slows things down, but if you remove them you take out a great deal of what makes living each day in the Wasteland so remarkable, as you’re fighting against all of these elements.

Next up, a very quick look at the setting chapters detailing the Corporations of Pre-War America, Vault-Tec and the Commonwealth.

If you’re looking to grab the Fallout RPG, you can pre-order some really snazzy physical versions right now at the Modiphius Website!

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