SPECIAL is the ruleset that powers Fallout online, The name "SPECIAL" is an acronym standing for the primary statistics in the system:
- S is for Strength which modifies Hit Points, melee damage, and Carry Weight.
- P is for Perception which modifies Sight, Sequence, and ranged combat distance modifiers.
- E is for Endurance which modifies Hit Points, Poison and Rad Resistance, Healing Rate and additional Hit Points per level.
- C is for Charisma which modifies Party Points, NPC reactions, and more.
- I is for Intelligence which modifies additional Skill points per level, dialogue options, and many Skills.
- A is for Agility which modifies Action Points, Armor Class, and some Skills.
- L is for Luck which modifies critical Bypass, weapon failures, and certain unseen factors as you play.
These are a character's core properties, and each one can be adjusted between 1 and 10 by the player at the time a character is registered, with an initial combined default total of 40 points. A character can have more (or less) than 40 S.P.E.C.I.A.L points, however, as various factors can modify these properties, including these:
- The Bruiser Trait for example, will add 4 points to Strength.
- Small Frame adds 1 point to Agility.
- By level 12, the Gain Perks are options for players to boost a character's S.P.E.C.I.A.L during the leveling process.
- Drugs are a way to get temporary benefits to a character's primary statistics.
- Addiction to drugs can be penalizing.
- Some food items have penalizing effects.
- Poison and radiation levels can also drop a character's primary statistics.
- Crafted armor and weapons often have S.P.E.C.I.A.L bonuses.
- Certain items like Mirrored Shades can boost a character's primary statistics.
- With expensive surgery, Implants can also boost a character's S.P.E.C.I.A.L.
These factors are also involved with the availability of certain perks and might modify certain mechanics of the game not explicitly listed here. It is a good idea to keep an eye on the Changelogs.