Damage Threshold is a combat statistic in Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel. It was removed in Fallout 3, leaving Damage resistance as the only armor statistic. However, it was restored in Fallout: New Vegas.
Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout Tactics
In the original Fallout games, DT (Damage Threshold) is one of three stats by which a character can reduce or avoid damage. The other stats are AC (Armor Class) and DR (Damage Resistance). DT occupies the "middle step" for combat and simulates the effect of how tough armor can immediately stop a bullet cold, no matter how many successful shots are fired (like a real-life tank).
More specifically, after AC is checked for a successful hit and before DR is checked to further reduce the damage, any incoming damage is immediately reduced by DT:
Unlike in Fallout: New Vegas, damage can be completely negated by DT. In such a case, the player gets a message that an attack dealt "no damage," which can be frustratingly common when using weaker weapons against power armor or Wanamingos.
Fallout: New Vegas
Imagine that there is an amount of damage that armor directly subtracts from damage... a "threshold" of damage, if you will. While a small percentage of damage may get through even the thickest armor, damage threshold can effectively neutralize a lot of small arms.”— J.E. Sawyer
Fallout: New Vegas mostly moves away from the use of Damage Resistance (DR) in Fallout 3 to Damage Threshold (DT). However, there are still places where DR is used, and because the math is a little bit more involved than in Fallouts 1 and 2, no discussion of DT is complete without referring to DR (though see the individual DR page for details on that mechanic alone).
The combined statistics of DT and DR (with DR being applied first, contrary to previous Fallouts) determines the final damage of each attack. Like in previous games, DT is an outright subtraction: if a shot is fired with a damage value of 40 against a DT of 10, then 10 damage will be ignored. However, unlike in Fallouts 1 and 2, DT cannot outright reduce an attack to below 20% of its adjusted, pre-DT damage. This adjusted, pre-DT damage itself depends on any DR a player has, which itself is capped to a DR of 85.
So to adjust our earlier example, if a shot of damage 40 is fired against a character with 95 DR and 10 DT, the damage is first reduced to 6 (95 DR is capped down to 85% reduction), and then subtracted by 10. The final result (-4) is less than 20% of the pre-adjusted original (6), so the final damage is instead 1.2.
In F:NV, the red shield appears next to a target's health meter when you hit it for damage that is equal to or less than the target's damage threshold. A HUD-colored shield appears next to the player's health meter when the player is hit for damage equal to or less than the player's damage threshold.”— J.E. Sawyer
Damage which is reduced to below minimum value is indicated with a shield icon next to the health bar (either the PC, or the non-player character's). When all of an enemy's DT (if it's not 0 to begin with) is overcome with armor piercing attacks, then a broken shield icon will be appear in its place instead. The shield icon is shown during V.A.T.S. and on the HUD's health bars once damage has been inflicted upon a target and will remain for 3 seconds afterwards.
The default value for DT is set at 0, this is then modified mainly by the DT value of armor and clothing worn. Other attributes that can also affect the DT value both permanently or temporarily of a character are perks, traits, consumables and ammunition.
- Despite DT being the determining factor for armor in New Vegas, when repairing armor merchants will list DR instead. All armors when viewed from the repair screen have a DR of 0. This is fixed in patch 1.1.1.
- In the initial release of Fallout: New Vegas, all creatures such as super mutants, robots, or deathclaws had twice as much DT as intended (in other words, twice the amount of DT as was entered in their G.E.C.K. page). This was corrected in the 1.2 patch. A similar bug affects the DR of creatures in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, which has not been corrected.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, the only articles of clothing that provide DR are the Rebreather, which is acquired during the quest Volare!, the Vault 11 jumpsuit, and the scientist outfit.
- While wearing one of the said items above or after having taken Psycho, Slasher, or Battle Brew, your Pip-Boy 3000 will crossfade between showing your DR and DT. Taking the DR items off or having your DR chems expire while your Pip-Boy has DT partially faded out or completely replaced with DR will keep your DT partially faded out or render it completely invisible. Removing the DR item or putting away your Pip-Boy only when the armor display is fully on DT is highly recommended.