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Fallout New Vegas Pacifist Build

The build is ideal for those that enjoy a pacifist-shooter playstyle! I’m not sure whether that makes you more or less likely try it, but there ya go.

The Build

This build is similar as the last one I created, except this one being focused around shotguns and explosive weapons, two weapon category that combo perfectly with each other. YOU can pretty much just go guns blazing but without killing anyone. If you ever want something dead but you don’t want to kill them directly, then you’ll have to stick with your Companions, they don’t disappoint, they can quickly come to your aid in case the enemies will try to get you killed. NPCs killed by your Companions doesn’t count as a kill, which is actually a massive plus for a zero-kill run. So anyway try this build out. It’s quite an effective mix for wanting to get things done quickly with a minimum fuss.


S – 6 + 1 (Implant)
P – 6 + 1 (Implant)
E – 7 + 1 (Implant)
C – 8 + 1 (Implant) + 1 (The bear slayer, Scourge of the east, Deadman’s burden, Divide survivor)
I – 6 + 1 (Implant)
A – 6 + 1 (Implant)
L – 1 + 1 (Implant)

Tag Skills

Barter/ Guns/ Speech


Fast Shot: Not every weapon in FONV has a great fire rate, but this trait can change that. If you’re going for a full combat build it’s definitely worth having, especially when you’re using Shotguns.

Small Frame: Players will get a +1 agility permanently. As with all things, there is a downside though, this trait will stop you from creating much havoc in fights early by taking your limbs out of it almost immediately. Pick the Adamantium Skeleton perk if this grows to be a problem, the trade-off should be more than worth it.


Level 2 – Intense Training: Agility
Agility is useful up to a value of 8 (or 9 if you choose to increase it with the Intense Training at level 4). With 8 points in Agility, your reload is fairly quick.

Level 4 – Intense Training: Agility
It doesn’t hurt to have more points in Agility. Maxed Agility is definitely a must-have, to help improve your Shotgun’s s̶h̶i̶t̶t̶y̶ reload speed. It should also benefit from not being exposed to attacks as often with reloading because Shotguns tend to not reload fast enough.

Level 6 – Toughness
You aren’t a frontline tank, but you can reduce the odds of you dying by having this perk early. Combined with the Big Brained perk and the extra DT from the Sub Dermal Implant, it simply improves your survivability quite nicely.

Level 8 – Toughness
It can’t hurt to have another rank of this perk (if you feel it’s not enough). Toughness is something you may need if enemies are poking you a lot. It makes you a tough cookie to crack.

Level 10 – Night Person
It lets you have a +2 bonus on both Perception and Intelligence from dusk till dawn. The Perception and Intelligence attributes play a much bigger role in the dialogue, and there is A LOT of dialogue.

Level 12 – And Stay Back
This give Shotguns some stopping power. Each pellets has a 10% chance to knock your target to the ground. Enemies that are knocked down doesn’t stay on the ground for long as they are knocked for only a few seconds. It’s harder to do to a group but sometimes you can pull a single enemy out of the pack. Ever since I’ve gotten it I’ve barely had to put in any work myself as I simply let my companions mess up everything I ever have to come across. Nothing can really touch you and locking just feels too good.

Level 14 – Animal Friend
I prefer this perk simply for the convenience of being able to prevent animals from attacking you and instead they shift to attack anything that is hostile towards you (except other animals). Honestly a benefit, distraction and extra damage as well. Not to mention it helps considerably against Big MT nightstalkers. These Big MT variants are considered by most to be the hardest enemies in the game and whilst not necessarily a threat by alone, they’re scary in groups.

  • Under-leveled players that don’t have the Animal Friend perk will find it difficult to complete the game’s Old World Blues DLC.

Level 16 – Fast Metabolism
Increases the amount of healing done by stimpaks. Incredibly strong with percentage healing perk like Better Healing – giving you even more heals.

Level 18 – Rapid Reload
If you’re enjoying Shotguns that much then increasing your reload speed is a must, which can be really handy when you’re against many enemies that are quickly closing down on you. You can heavily improve your reload speed by having your Agility maxed out, that way would make you less exposed to damage.

Level 20 – Adamantium Skeleton
As you get hit in a fight, your limbs takes damage and when it breaks you get a negative effect on your character which severely limit your effectiveness in combat. This perk is really most useful against limb damage and it’s an absolute must to counteract the downside of the Small Frame trait. Fragile limbs are things you’d rather not want to have on you on the long run. Being staggered and crippled all have the potential to make you go from a Ramboesque person to a sitting duck.

  • Its effect stacks additively with the Tough Guy perk for more stronger limbs.

Level 22 – Animal Friend
The second rank of this perk makes animals go kamikaze mode.

Level 24 – Pack Rat
Decreasing the weight of different items that litter your inventory (ammo, food, misc items etc) is the easiest way to fix your inventory issues. With some extra space, you can hold more items in your inventory. You’ll definitely need it if you’re a real pack-rat though.

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Level 26 – Stonewall
Deathclaws, Cyberdogs. These enemies have a thing in common. On every attack they make has a chance to proc a 5 second knockdown, which is simply devastating in every stage in the game. This perk is an excellent counter to that, since it grants invulnerability to knockdowns, also it boosts your DT pretty decently when facing melee attackers. Stonewall is a good perk, but the further in the game I’ve gotten, I’ve been knocked less. I’m not sure if this is due to not facing enemies who knock me out constantly (deathclaws, cyberdogs) as much as I did earlier on. When in doubt, whip it out.

Level 28 – Hit The Deck
This will give you some explosive damage mitigation and you will desperately need it in the late game (trust me, this will save you more times than you can probably imagine). A side benefit of protection from explosives is that you can use your own explosive weapons much more recklessly.

Level 30 – Strong Back
The more carry weight you have, the more stuff you can carry. That becomes increasingly necessary as you find more and more items that you want to use as you play. So if you’d prefer to always be overly ready and carry a lot of items, this can be a good perk for you!

Level 32 – Heave Ho
Essential, obviously. This perk is really nice if you want to shoot your bombs from REALLY far away. Thanks to the increased projectile distance, makes Grenade rifles and Fatman do better at long range combat. The longer range also lets you prevent from getting too close to the action and comfortably be able to hit your targets while also eliminating the chance of getting hit by the explosion – which of course will result in self damage.

  • Without this perk, you’re going to find yourself at a severe disadvantage when fighting enemies at long range.

Level 34 – Splash Damage
This is a must-have to hit things much easier with explosives. Part of the reason you want Hit the Deck is because there is a high risk involve when blasting targets at close range.

The Build (cont)

Level 36 – Heavy Weight
Decreasing the weight of heavier weapons is a must if you plan on carrying around bigger weapons like the Missile Launcher or Fatman.

Level 38 – Burden To Bear
Additional carrying capacity is always good, you’ll be able to have a nice arsenal of weapons on hand at all times, as well as numerous other items to help you out a long the way.

Level 40 – Chem Resistant
This will reduce the likelihood of getting addicted.

Level 42 – Implant GRX
The Implant GRX will make the fight much more easier by allowing you to briefly slow down time and land as many hits as possible on your target. But you can use it effectively to give yourself a breathing room in a tight situation when otherwise all guns are on you; as you can prevent most of their attacks until you can run away safely during the duration of the slowed time effect.

Level 44 – Implant GRX
Have some more of that “Get out of jail free” cards up your sleeves. What’s not to love? The Implant GRX(s) are there for you to use, so that you can slow down oncoming melee attackers in case there are too many to knock them all back – so they can’t just easily reach your face and attack those you wish to protect.

Level 46 – Life Giver
This adds a little bit of health.

Level 48 – Quick Draw
The longer the draw/ holster animation, the more it benefits from Quick Draw.

Level 50 – Ain’t Like That Now
This perk is essential for the final level, this will effectively boost the fire rate of your weapons. Something particularly useful for Shotguns, since it will make knockback more likely to proc, which can be quite debilitating since it has a high rate of occurring. Combine this with the Fast Shot trait and enemies will fall really fast like a sack of potatoes. This will give your Companions an edge against multiple enemies.

Special Perks

Big Brained
More DT and addiction resistance.

Poison is one infuriating effect which you will want to focus on stopping as soon as you get it. With this perk poison doesn’t affect you at all.

You may find yourself getting interrupted when enemies hit your broken torso. This perk prevents that, your torso part won’t be receiving damage anymore! No more flinching! The bonus Strength is just the icing on the cake.

Item Selection

While you can technically go through the entire game without killing anyone, the reality is that you still need to be prepared just in case things get bad.


I can’t stress enough how important Shotguns are for this build. Especially since the And Stay Back perk would put a stop on a oh-so-common problem that’ll leave most opponents with little to no choice but to just helplessly stuck in place as they get pummeled by your Companions. Shotguns won’t be dealing nowhere near enough damage to be of any help other than keeping some enemies away from you.

Hunting Shotgun
It’s strong, reliable and it’s good for any situation. A fully modded hunting shotgun has a tighter spread on it, given benefit when dealing with large distance targets and easier to knockdown enemies with. This is especially useful against bigger enemies – super mutants for example. Making it easier to hit all pellets at once. Also has a somewhat long reload time if you use up all the shells.

Lever Action Shotgun
So far I’ve been using the lever action shotgun and it’s been working wonders for me. It may not do a whole lot of damage, but it does have a decent attack rate, so you can use it in combat to basically knock enemies down repeatedly. The small size of its ammo cap is also cause for concern being only able to hold five shells. You have to reload each shells one at a time, really annoying for me.

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Sawed-off Shotgun and Big Boomer
The Sawed-off is King. Because it spread over a greater number of pellets than any shotgun thus making crowd control somewhat easier meaning more chance to knock them off when you’re right next to your target. This is the weapon you use if you meet an enemy in a somewhat confined space and are able to blow them in one shots. I’ve found it to be the quickest, most reliable way to take an enemy down without killing them. Oh and if you’re curious, if all the enemies are closed together, there’s a chance to knock them all in one shot. The Big Boomer does a whole lot of damage at close range and it’s better at medium-range due to its tighter pellet spread.

Caravan Shotgun
I rarely used the Caravan Shotgun at all in the early levels, because they had little stopping power. Yet its two quick shots and faster reload made that gun a close friend of mine in the later levels.

Riot Shotgun
Crowd control is just as vital in this build, if not moreso and this weapon truly gets the job done on that front. The rate of fire feels almost as fast as some of the other shotguns you can get. Moreover if you have the And Stay Back perk you can pretty much just run in and go full rambo and will ensure that you’re knocking away enemies more often and rendering them useless. The drawbacks of this weapon is that it eats up a lot of ammo (Those g*ddamn Cazadores are the only enemies in the game that you absolutely have to pack a full drum to take them down) and it burns a lot of durability too! The reload speed is really fast since you only have to change the clip while most other shotguns have to be reloaded one shell at a time. Generally between the great amounts of ammo throughout the game it’s quite the monster and its even good at a pretty decent range.

Bean Bags.Shotguns loaded with bean bags can do absurd amount of fatigue damage, makes it better at knocking out your target for longer periods of time. If you’re doing a zero-kill run, bean bags will be super handy in every level. The ammo is scarce in the entire game though, even merchants don’t help much in this matter so very likely you won’t be using bean bags on regular enemies.


If you’re looking to be the crowd control support type, then Explosive weapons are a good pick for you due to being the only weapons that can quickly cripple limbs around as many enemies as possible, makes fights a cakewalk when most of your enemies are crying for a doctor’s bag.

A big thing I like about the Thump-Thump for is how obscenely far its projectiles travel, it makes shots at medium to long-range easier to hit your targets. Damage isn’t that spectacular but at least it can break multiple limbs in order to slow the pursuing enemy.

Red Victory Grenade Rifle
The combination of faster projectile speed, high DPS and a wider area-of-effect works really well and you can make short work of going toe-to-toe with the big guys, slowing them and giving you a chance to reposition as necessary. The Red Victory Grenade Rifle has a short barrel tho, meaning its grenades are hard to land at long-range. You need to use it tactically. It’s marginally better at hitting your targets while you’re on the high ground.

25mm Grenade APW
IMO the 25mm Grenade APW is better. The long barrel mod is awesome allowing you to use it even from afar; it reloads faster and fires fairly quickly and holds a ton of grenades on its clip unlike the other grenade rifles which holds only one. This is great against fast-moving enemies that become a huge pain when encountered in numbers. However, the small blast radius of the 25mm Grenade APW is a severe disadvantage, make sure to aim at the opponent’s feet to maximize the chance of crippling them. Always great to have but takes time to save caps for.

Grenade Launcher
It’s the 25mm Grenade APW‘s awkward cousin that makes you deal great area damage and yield greater risk to yourself. The slow attack rate and less travel distance of projectiles will make it difficult for you to shoot enemies from afar, aiming upwards to maximize its distance is nigh-useless, you’ll just waste ammo. Because of its short range – grenades will always land near you (the Heave Ho perk will help in this matter) and take significant self-damage from the explosion. This also make you disadvantaged when there is a fast-moving target that need to be immediately slowed.

It’s not all bad, though. Because as a dirt cheap weapon it has some use. Try to use the terrain you’re fighting in to your advantage; the short range means you can position yourself on the high ground to accurately hitting your foes in fights and to minimize the risk of blowing yourself up with your own grenades. In exchange for its painfully slow projectile speed, the Grenade Launcher’s blast radius will give you enormous utility in fights, breaking off limbs of multiple enemies in an instant, slowing them could minimize their threat to you and easily destroy them with the help of a Companion who provide the necessary damage.

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Mercy is hands down the most OP weapon in the game. With this you can almost break a target’s limbs immediately no matter where you’re aiming; head, torso, arms, or feet. If you break an enemy’s head or torso it’s very likely that the next attack to those parts will make them pause for some time. Shoot someone in the leg and breaking it can keep them permanently crippled. So this weapon has a lot of uses against slippery enemies since a slow target is more likely to get cut to death by your companions.

Grenade Machinegun
Mercy is cool but I like the Grenade Machinegun’s fire rate more! The grenades moves so fast that it’s easy to slow down enemies in such a way that they can’t fight efficiently, giving you a couple extra seconds to run or reload or shoot them or whatever.

Item Selection (cont)

Missile Launcher And Annabelle
Although I like both launchers very much, I have to say the Missile launcher is superior compared to the Annabelle in a shooter pacifist run. Even if the Annabelle has more attack rate and damage output than the Missile launcher I would probably stick with the Missile launcher because it does less damage against a crowd of enemies. Be careful when you’re using the Annabelle because you might accidentally kill off enemies with low hp, only use it when dealing with bullet sponge enemies. Both weapons excels in the long distance for crippling enemy limbs resulting in the enemy not being able to close the gap easily. In my recent cleansing of the Deathclaw Promontory it did wonders against everything there.

GRA Fatman
Ahh.. the BFG of Fallout series. This weapon is a beast when dealing with a large number of enemies. Its AOE blast radius is gigantic surpassing the Missile Launcher and Annabelle by quite a bit and it can really pack a punch. As a result using it against enemies that are within medium range or in closed quarters will kill you. It takes some time getting used to but you will eventually figure out how far away the enemy is, to avoid being caught in the blast radius. The main usage of the Fatman is for slowing down a large group of bullet sponge enemies all at once. The reason we picked the GRA variant is because we can load the Fatman with different kinds of mini-nuke. The low yield mini-nuke has been great because the blast deal less damage and travels slightly farther than the standard mini-nuke.

You can choose whatever you want. I strongly recommend Heavy armors, since it comes with a big increase to your damage threshold. Use it together with your Explosives to keep Hit the Deck perk active at all times and to fully utilize the defense bonuses, (Explosive weapons will essentially just be a stat stick if you’d like to play passively) the combination really helps in keeping players alive in a tight spot.

Aid: Whatever floats your boat.

Secondhand Murderers

It would not hurt to have some formidable friends. Companions are the most underrated damage machine in this game and they will significantly improve your chances of survival in combat, as they can draw most of the enemy attention away from you for long enough, THEN take less damage because your companions are killing things really fast.

If you’ve taken your Charisma to its maximum, the entire fights, is a cakewalk, but you’re doing yourself a disservice if you dump your Charisma to 1. Your shotgun-explosive combo is almost guaranteed to stop most/all enemies from approaching and is of utmost importance when supporting your Companions. With so many interesting Companions across the Mojave, here are the best ones you can bring along.

Arcade Gannon

Arcade is welcomed for his “Better Healing” perk that grants healing increase which really helps you sustain. Arcade is great when equipped with energy weapons and he will be able to dish out incredible DPS fueled by your overflowing Charisma (If you decide on maxing out Charisma be sure not to miss out on purchasing the Empathy Synthesizer and the +1 SPECIAL after finishing the Lonesome Road DLC. The damage and durability it provides to your Companions is insanely good when maxed.)

Arcade in the late-game is a completely different beast. Giving him weapons like GRA Tri-beam laser rifle, Multiplas rifle, YCS 186 offer great damage which is essential in late game combat, that is where Arcade shines!

Rose of Sharon Cassidy

Her “Whiskey Rose” perk will help you mitigate some massive amounts of damage you get. It just straight-up raises your DT when you drink Whiskey, Wasteland Tequila, Large Wasteland Tequila. These items will help significantly in keeping you alive.

Upon completing her questline. She will gain the “Hand of Vengeance” perk. This makes her deal more gun damage which can be lethal if supplemented by high charisma and guns with the highest DPS. GRA Assault Carbine, Automatic Rifle, CZ57 Avenger, Light Machine Gun are some of the best weapons that guarantee great DPS!

Ed-E (Followers Upgrade)

Ed-E is basically your radar/sense device, thanks to his “Enhanced Sensor” perk. It’s really useful for detecting threats in your compass, to avoid unwanted combat during travel or to position yourself properly to gain the upper hand when combat starts. Ed-E does heaps of beam damage to his targets quite early in the game, this is only amplified when you get to upgrade him to the Followers of the Apocalypse and combined with the damage bonus from Camarader-E, results in quite impressive DPS increase for Ed-E.

Proof That I Didn’t Kill Anything

The End

I really hope this was useful to you in any way and I hope it wasn’t a waste of your time. If you disagree with something in this guide or want to suggest something, feel free to leave comments.

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