Fallout: Wasteland Warfare – Development Blog 2: S.P.E.C.I.A.L.

Posted by James (admin) on August 16th, 2017

In this development blog about Fallout: Wasteland Warfare game from Modiphius, we’re talking about how the Fallout S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats are integrated into the game.

During Fallout: Wasteland Warfare, players will attempt activities such as shooting, lock-picking and melee.  The result is determined by the roll of the d20 Skill dice plus usually one or more Effect dice based on the weapons, gear and/or abilities.  (We’ll be talking about the Effect dice next time, and will look at the various skills used to interact with the wasteland soon too.)

Every model has a set of skills which are represented by icons found next to each of the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats on their unit card. For a skill roll to succeed, the result rolled on the Skill dice must be equal to or lower than the value of the stat which the relevant icon is next to (after adding or subtracting any modifiers).  If a model does not have a specific skill icon of their unit card, it can not make a skill roll of that type; for example, Brotherhood Field Scribes do not have a Heavy Weapons skill icon which means they can not make a skill roll to use Heavy Weapons.

There are a few bonuses and penalties that can adjust the value of the skill that the player needs to roll equal to or less than, such as cover, using a ranged weapon in melee, as a result of using Luck; however, they’re quick and simple.  For example, a Brotherhood of Steel Paladin receives a +1 bonus due to a Long Scope added to their rifle, but also a -2 penalty because the target is in cover; therefore, their rifle skill of 6 is adjusted to 5 and the Paladin needs to roll 5 or lower on the Skill dice to be successful.

Before we go further: Why a d20 for the Skill dice?

We chose this carefully so the S.P.E.C.I.A.L stats can be meaningful in gameplay.  The S.P.E.C.I.A.L stats primarily range from 1 to 10.  If a d10 was used for skills with these stats, a skill of 1 would be almost useless at 10% whilst a 10 would be too powerful at 100%.  It would result in most units ending up with stats forced into a narrower middle range in order to make them fun to play and not be over-/under-powered and this would lose the unique differences that make them so cool.

The d20 in Fallout: Wasteland Warfare allows us to have the range of 1-10 numbers but the number of available faces means we can have several 1s – so that a skill of 1 actually has a 25% chance of success – as well as some X results (which always fail) – so a skill of 10 will always have a maximum 85% chance.  This system makes the full range of stat numbers useful, whilst each additional point in the stat still gives more chance of success.  Also, the adjusted skill value can not go lower than 1 so a model with a relevant skill always has a chance.

This is important as the world of Fallout has such massive variety that the steps in capability need to be subtle, whilst remaining relevant. We need to create a situation where lots of variety can exist without some units being so far superior to others that normal units become ineffective or even redundant.  A person with a gun is still a threat even if untrained, and even power armour will eventually succumb to enough minor threats.

Also, not every unit uses the same stat for the same skills. This allows us to create even more variety amongst units and bring out the unique traits of characters and factions.  Piper doesn’t have the toughest physique but she is agile and that allows her to last in combat – a tough but not agile Super Mutant could last by taking the damage, whilst Piper’s Agility allows her to survive.  As a result, Piper uses her Agility stat for her Health; whereas, more physically tough units use their Endurance stat for their health.  Whilst Piper’s Agility serves her well for combat, her low Endurance means she is more susceptible to things like poison effects than the units whose Endurance is higher than hers.  Field Scribes use their Intelligence when searching, whilst the Institute’s Gen 1 Synths use their Perception – both are good at searching but Field Scribes are more intelligent and Gen 1 Synths have better perception which is important for other purposes.

As a result, the units in Fallout: Wasteland Warfare have stats that better represent them on the tabletop, and this avoids situations where for example only units with high Endurance can take more wounds or only units with high Perception can be good at searching.  And, it’s really easy to see which stat is required – you just see what number is next to the relevant icon.


Next time, we’ll talk about the Effect dice that are used in conjunction with the Skill dice, and how one simple dice roll gives you the result of each action and describes what happened.

Remember, if you’re interested in receiving news on the game, sign-up for the official updates from Modiphius.  Plus, you can visit the Modiphius site to check out all the great-looking models and their status.

More news to come and I’m looking forwards to sharing more details,


Please note that due to the amount of spam comments bots try and post, all comments have to be manually approved so there can be a time delay to your post becoming visible. It’s often quicker to post on the Modiphius Fallout Forum or Fallout: Wasteland Warfare page on BoardGameGeek.com where I or someone else can answer your questions.

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