Skill points are points awarded to the player character when reaching a new level of experience. The player is then free to allocate the points to whatever skills they feel are in need of improvement.
Certain books, traits and perks give the player a skill point bonus for a specific skill as well.
The number of attainable skill points (without books, and not including what your skills are at character creation or your tagged skills) is 428. Combined with the Comprehension perk and every Vault-Tec bobblehead, you can achieve a 100% stat in all 13 skills, though it might take some time searching the wasteland for everything.
An INT of 10 means 20 skill points per level-up, making INT a very useful skill.
- While your Pip-Boy says the maximum number of attainable skill points per skill is 100, it also factors in hypothetical skill points. In other words, if a player has 98 skill points for Explosives, and then obtains the respective bobblehead, the game engine reads the total skill points as 108. The extra points don't actually have any effect on the skill itself, or weapon damage in this case, but the 'hypothetical' points can counter-act negative effects from adorned clothing/armor, or from addictions. Since a player cannot add more points to a maxed skill via point distribution at level-ups, the only way to get the extra points is from reading skill books or collecting bobbleheads.
- It was actually possible to kill your game if you were not careful when assigning skill points, especially with Broken Steel. It is very possible to make a character that, when level 30, has 100 skill point assigned in all 13 skills, which at one time would make it impossible to distribute any more, subsequently keeping the character at the "level up menu" permanently. This was fixed in a post-release patch, however.
Fallout: New VegasEdit
Note that 0.5's on odd intelligence level gains are saved for the next level. Example: You have 9 intelligence. First level up nets 14 points. You level again and net 15 points. In reality you gain 14.5 then 14.5, but obviously the game cannot allow you to increase a skill by 1/2.
Skill books will also permanently increase skills.
The perk Educated, available at level 4, adds an extra 2 points per level up. This yields an extra 52 points if taken at level 4.(Addons increase level-cap, further increasing the amount of extra skill points by 10 per add-on).
The maximum obtainable amount of skill points (without add-ons) is 502. This requires creating a character with 10 Intelligence and taking the Educated perk at level 4. It is also possible to get the maximum skill points with a starting Intelligence of 9, by getting the Intense Training perk or Intelligence Implant before reaching level 3. With the add-ons' extra 20 levels, there is a maximum of 827 points available. Also through use of an exploit involving the Skilled trait and Intelligence of seven or eight it is possible to gain 100 in every skill by levels in the upper 40s (this still requires you to obtain most skill books but does not require the Comprehension perk).