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Knowledge, wisdom and the ability to think quickly. A high Intelligence is important for any character.

Fallout in-game description

Intelligence is one of seven primary statistics in the SPECIAL character system.

Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics

Modifies: the number of new skill points per level, dialogue options, and many skills.

One of the unique qualities of Fallout and Fallout 2 was the difference in gameplay caused by creating a low Intelligence character. If you have a low Intelligence, many non-player characters will simply shrug you off, while others will insult or even attack you. It is possible to complete the game as an idiot, but most side-quests are impossible to do, and character growth is limited, as is the story involvement possible - while you can certainly bumble through the main quests, almost all plot details and background information will be left missing. Furthermore, due to limited-at-best non-player character interaction, almost all side-quests are unavailable. Because of this, playing as a low Intelligence character is only recommended for experienced players looking to role-play, or as a humorous replay option.

Ways to increase Intelligence

  • In Fallout, the Brotherhood of Steel in Lost Hills can perform an operation to permanently increase Intelligence by 1, assuming the player can afford it.
  • Intelligence can be raised permanently in Fallout 2 using ACE and the Yellow memory module (+1) and by the Hubologist zeta scan in San Francisco (also +1 Luck, though you may have to save/reload to get a bonus rather than a penalty).
  • In both Fallout 1 and Fallout 2, Mentats can be used to temporarily raise Intelligence by 2.

Fallout 3

Modifies: Medicine, Repair, and Science skills, as well as the number of new skill points per level.

Intelligence determines the number of skill points you receive each time you level up. The base number of skill points gained per level is 10+ Intelligence. Skill points gained for raised Intelligence are not retroactive for past levels, so increasing this primary stat early if at all is the best. Also, temporary modifiers to Intelligence (e.g. from Night Person or Button's wig) do not affect the number of skill points gained when leveling up.

Value Skill Points / Level Skill Modifiers
1 11 Medicine +2, Repair +2, Science +2
2 12 Medicine +4, Repair +4, Science +4
3 13 Medicine +6, Repair +6, Science +6
4 14 Medicine +8, Repair +8, Science +8
5 15 Medicine +10, Repair +10, Science +10
6 16 Medicine +12, Repair +12, Science +12
7 17 Medicine +14, Repair +14, Science +14
8 18 Medicine +16, Repair +16, Science +16
9 19 Medicine +18, Repair +18, Science +18
10 20 Medicine +20, Repair +20, Science +20

Intelligence-based Perks

Perk Requirement Level Additional Requirements
Daddy's Boy / Daddy's Girl 4 2
Gun Nut 4 2 Agility 4
Swift Learner 4 2
Comprehension 4 4
Educated 4 4
Entomologist 4 4 Science 40
Nerd Rage 5 10 Science 50
Computer Whiz 7 18 Science 70
Warmonger 7 26

Ways to increase Intelligence



  • If you have 3 Intelligence or less, Dean Dewey will call you a "special needs" child and escort you to a classroom.

Fallout: New Vegas

Intelligence affects skill points differently than it did in Fallout 3. The number of skill points gained each level is based on the formula 10 + (0.5 * IN) per level, including level 1, where IN is your Intelligence. If you get a non-whole number of skill points per level (e.g. 10.5 for INT 1) it will be saved for the next even level up (see Skill Rate).

Intelligence-based perks

Perk Requirement Level Additional Requirements
Retention 5 2
Swift Learner 4 2
Comprehension 4 4
Educated 4 4
Entomologist 4 4 Survival 45
Pack Rat 5 8 Barter 70
Nerd Rage 5 10 Science 50
Computer Whiz 7 18 Science 70
Voracious Reader Lonesome Road (add-on)Gametitle-FNV LR 7 22
Lessons Learned Lonesome Road (add-on)Gametitle-FNV LR 6 26

Ways to increase Intelligence


Intelligence in quests and exploration

  • When speaking with Arcade Gannon, if you have Intelligence of 3 or lower you can convince him to become your companion by stating "This place is really complicated and stuff. You're smart, can you help me do... stuff?".
  • Having a character with Intelligence of 3 or less can grant 'special' Intelligence checks. If the player's Intelligence is really low, dialog options will appear to be short and monosyllabic, with barely any sentience.
  • When first meeting Ignacio Rivas at HELIOS One, he will ask the player what their interest in the place is. If the player's Intelligence is high, they may respond with "My interest in this place is scientific." However with a low-Intelligence player, the same option will be available as "I is scientistic."
  • If the player has a low enough Intelligence, they will admit they don't know what a fish is during a conversation with Cass.
  • An intelligence of 8 is needed to trick Silus into thinking you are an agent of Caesar's Legion on a mission to kill him. Silus will take the bluff and inform the player about Caesar's brain tumor and indirectly about Ronald Curtis.
  • An Intelligence of 6 is needed to tell Veronica that the Brotherhood of Steel are only hostile if you use plasma or laser weapons around them.
  • Old World Blues (add-on)Gametitle-FNV OWB An Intelligence of 6 is needed for Dr. Mobius to reveal that they are still planning how to save themselves.
  • Old World Blues (add-on)Gametitle-FNV OWB An Intelligence of 8 is needed to reveal the fact that Dr. Mobius scattered the personality chips across Big MT.

Level names and statistics

Value Name Skill Points Skill Modifiers
1 Sub-brick 10.5 Medicine/Repair/Science +2
2 Vegetable 11 Medicine/Repair/Science +4
3 Cretin 11.5 Medicine/Repair/Science +6
4 Knucklehead 12 Medicine/Repair/Science +8
5 Knowledgeable 12.5 Medicine/Repair/Science +10
6 Gifted 13 Medicine/Repair/Science +12
7 Smartypants 13.5 Medicine/Repair/Science +14
8 Know-it-all 14 Medicine/Repair/Science +16
9 Genius 14.5 Medicine/Repair/Science +18
10 Omniscient 15 Medicine/Repair/Science +20

Low Intelligence Characters

Fallout 1 & 2

When the Player Character in Fallout and Fallout 2 has less than 4 Intelligence, the biggest change in gameplay is undoubtedly the dialogue. Upon reaching Shady Sands, the villagers take pity on you, and Aradesh just shrugs you off. The best you can speak is in half-word sentences or gibberish.

The real downside, though, is that you have no chance to do about 90% of the side quests. No one will talk to you or even give you the time of day (Even though you have it on your Pip-Boy).

In Fallout 2, you may meet Torr, the "town simpleton of Klamath", who would normally give you a quest to under go protection of his brahmin against "the evil bugmen". He will appear highly intelligent to you, as if being stupid is a culture and language all its own, and two unintelligent people can have a complete, thought-provoking, and fully articulated conversation between them.

Another person you may have an "intelligent" conversation with in Fallout 2 is AHS-9, who becomes able to understand you after you become aligned and gives you the quest to Kill the Shi Emperor

When talking to Algernon in the basement of New Reno Arms you can start a "childhood cop and robbers" type dialog in which you accidentally shoot and kill him.

Fallout 3

In Fallout 3, there are conversation situations where characters with low Intelligence are granted other speech options, often relating to their low intellect. However, these options are few and far between, unlike the other Fallout games where one could play the entire game as a person with low Intelligence. One instance is in Roosevelt Academy, where if you activate Dean Dewey when you have an Intelligence of 3 or lower he will deem you a "special needs" child, and escort you to a 'proper room'.

Fallout: New Vegas

In addition to alternative Intelligence checks, low Intelligence changes some dialog options when speaking to vendors and non-player characters. For example, when speaking to Miguel at Miguel's Pawn Shop, the option to start trading is "Me buy things", and when speaking with Dr. Usanagi at the New Vegas Medical Clinic, after she gives you the initial description about implants you have the dialogue option "You sell plants, too?", which will cause her to re-explain the implants and suggest you take the implant to make you smarter. If you take her up on this deal she will state that she thinks "you could really benefit from it", and offer the implant at a discount.

In place of the gibberish of past games, however, the player will simply not completely understand a conversation, confuse what someone is saying with something else entirely, or not understand what situation they are currently in. In the REPCONN Headquarters, for example, a character with an Intelligence of 2 or less can bypass a robot that demands a password by randomly shouting "ICE CREAM!". Normally, the player would need a Luck of at least 7 to guess this.

Low Intelligence characters attempting to do the That Lucky Old Sun quest will be granted several unique and highly entertaining dialog options when conversing with Fantastic and Ignacio Rivas. An example is when informed about the hostilities between the Followers and the NCR, the player can choose to respond, "Do Flowers and NCR bear play together?"

When first speaking to Ranger Milo he will inform the player that some "Legion snakes" are held up in Nelson to which the player can respond 'Snakes are small. Why don't you just use a gun or whatever to shoot them." He will then call you a "special folk" and explain that they are not really snakes but "like snakes."

While helping Argyll in Nellis medical station while doing the quest Volare!, the Courier is given an option in only one of the options to "CHOP CHOP CHOP!" instead of giving him treatment. Ironically, the Courier actually saves the patient and Argyll comments on it, saying it was "dumb luck".

Notable quotes

  • I don't care if you were dropped on your head as a kid. No guns in the city limits. - NCR Gate Guard.
  • Glug glug glug glug glug glug! - the Vault Dweller
  • *Snfff* You big meenie... *snff*... me go sumplace 'n have partee wiff clowns... *snfff*... and ice cream... and kake... and me no invit meen peuple like YOU! - the Chosen One
  • Most people have evil spirits. You? You have stupid spirits. Go see shaman, get hole in head... Big hole... Very big... Huge. -Sulik
  • Hep Torr hep moo-moo. (Yes, of course I'll help you fend off the predation of your family's brahmin by these nefarious bugmen.) - Chosen One
  • Me help shoulders make shinies warm. - the Courier
  • I IS SCIENTISTIC! - the Courier
  • What are Flowers of Pock-lips? - the Courier
  • Ooh Shiney Robot - the Lone Wanderer
  • ICE CREAM! - the Courier
  • Me pet aminals - the Courier
  • I no hurt anyone - the Courier
  • Where I send shiny juice? - the Courier
  • Me take you job cause me is smarter - the Courier


If the player's Intelligence stat is the most extreme (highest or lowest), Doc Mitchell will either say "Look at that. Maybe them bullets done your brain some good." (for highest) or "Sorry son, I fixed up your head as best I knew how, guess I missed a spot." (For lowest)

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