Wasteland 3: Skills, perks, quirks, and CLASSIC attributes

Wasteland 3 Skills Guide Classic Attributes Stats Perks Quirks


Backgrounds are akin to origin stories of your custom Rangers. There’s a description related to these, although you’ll mostly just focus on the stat boosts they’ll provide.

You’ll find these selections in the identification panel when creating a custom character and you’re always required to have one:

Background Effect
Bookworm +5% XP bonus
Desert Cat +1 Perception
Disciple of the Metal +15% fire damage bonus
Explodomaniac +15% explosive damage bonus
Goat Killer +5% crit chance
Grease Monkey +10% damage vs. robots and vehicles
Lethal Weapon +10% melee damage bonus
Mannerite Kiss Ass +1
Moneybags Barter +1
Mopey Poet +5% Evasion
Paladin +10% crit resistance
Raider Hater +10% damage vs. humans
Sex Machine +0.2 combat speed
Stoner +10% status effect resistance
The Boss Hard Ass +1
Vicious Avenger +2 penetration

Ideally, I’d go with one custom Ranger (aka. the “party leader”) with “The Boss” as a background. Early on in the Ambush Site, Wasteland 3‘s tutorial level, you’ll find an accessory that increases Hard Ass by a point. That means you’ve got Hard Ass +2 already for any necessary speech checks.

You won’t need “Mannerite” since Marshal Kwon has Kiss Ass and you’ll recruit him soon. Kwon also has Sneaky Shit leveled-up and it gives him extra Perception, so no need for “Desert Cat.” In any case, you might want “Raider Hater” for your other characters since you’ll encounter a lot of human opponents anyway, while your sniper uses “Goat Killer” due to the increased crit chance.

Wsl Skbld 5a


Quirks were introduced as part of Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut. They provide a significant buff while also netting a drastic penalty. Quirks can only be selected when creating a new character. However, you’re not required to pick one at all (and you can completely ignore these if you don’t want the positive/negative effects).

Here are the quirks in Wasteland 3:

Quirk Positive Effect Negative Effect
Blunderer +15% melee damage bonus -50% crit chance
Bop Bag +6 armor -0.4 combat speed
Circus Freak +0.4 combat speed;
+25% crit resistance
-10% evasion;
-1 second detection time
Death Wish +3 AP; +3 AP (max) cannot wear any kind of armor
Doomsday Prepper +35% status effect resistance cannot read skill books
Lone Wolf +20% initiative Leadership skill effect doesn’t benefit character
Medical Marvel +5 Constitution/HP per level cannot be revived when downed during combat
Mime +2 seconds detection time -10 con/HP;
-0.5m throwing range
Poindexter +1 skill point every 2 level-ups -8 con/HP;
-3 con/HP per level-up
Prospector occasionally find gold nuggets when digging for buried items -1 quick slots (item slots)
Pyromaniac +25% fire damage and explosive damage bonus +15% chance to catch on fire when using explosives
Sadomasochist +33% melee and ranged damage bonus +33% damage taken
Serial Killer -1 AP +3 AP per kill (once per turn)
Two-Pump Chump +2 AP for the first two turns After the first two turns, lose -1 AP and -15% hit chance for the next six turns
Varangian Blood When an ally is downed, gain +100% crit chance and +3 AP for one turn After Berserker Rage has ended, -4 AP for the next two turns
Waste Roamer 100% resistance to bleeding, poisoned, shocked, burning, frozen -15% XP bonus
Way of the Squeezins +50% damage when drunk -20% melee and ranged damage bonus

Build summary

The sniper

My sniper already started out with a lot of AP thanks to the high COO attribute — 10/1/1/1/1/6/1. Then, I selected “Death Wish” to increase AP even more. She’s able to fire two sniper shots in a single turn. Because snipers attack from a distance, you won’t be in a lot of danger; you’ll be fine without armor and you can still equip utility/accessory items.

The extra skill points allowed me to begin with Lockpicking 2, Sniper Rifles 2, Explosives 1, and Animal Whisperer 1 (because I wanted to get a pet cat from the first level). Later, once I found a rocket launcher, I ended up equipping my sniper with a rocket launcher in the alternate weapon slot. I can’t tell you how awesome it is to start with 14 AP and be able to fire a rocket, reload your launcher, and then fire another rocket all in the same turn. Also, the crit chance comes from the INT attribute and the “Goat Killer” background.

The party leader

The “party leader” is the other character I created at the start of the game with a 6/1/1/2/1/4/6 setup. I went with the “Medical Marvel” quirk (for the extra constitution/HP). She can’t be revived when downed, but she’s back on her feet once combat ends anyway. I chose Automatic Weapons 2 (SMGs), First Aid 1, Leadership 1, and Mechanics 1.

Later, I continued to increase the Mechanics skill. It’s very important not just for exploration/accessing rooms, but because it lets you plop down turrets to make mincemeat out of opponents. Lastly, I have Hard Ass 1 from “The Boss” background, and, because of the Ranger Veteran Star accessory also found in the Ambush Site, I’d have Hard Ass 2 already.

Note: I’ve been informed by Wasteland 3 players that the “Medical Marvel” quirk might be bugged. If the character dies when out of combat (i.e., poison, burning, or stepping on a mine), you won’t be able to revive them. You should have a save ready just in case. Or, better yet, use the Nitro Spike medical item (it revives all downed characters).

The other Rangers

My two other custom characters recruited in Ranger HQ had the “Raider Hater” background and “Serial Killer” quirk. The -1 AP malus is negligible since they’re not using heavy weaponry. For the most part, I’d use other companions (i.e., Lucia or Kwon) to lower the health of mobs. Then, these Rangers with the “Serial Killer” quirk mop up and gain extra AP via kills.

Note: Don’t forget to check our Wasteland 3 campaign walkthrough so you have an idea regarding the various skill/speech checks. Your first two characters will be good to go if you can pass all the necessary hurdles in the Ambush Site level. The next two you create should complement your initial duo plus Kwon and Lucia since you’ll also recruit them fairly early on.

Wsl Skbld Ambush Site

Skill mules and INT dumps

Remember, you can create custom Rangers whenever you’re at your HQ. You can replace those you don’t need or those who aren’t performing up to par (i.e., you didn’t like the build). The levels of these randoms are also scaled depending on the average levels of your other characters. This allows you to create troopers that’ll be “skill mules” with high INT and bonus skill points on character creation.

A “skill mule” has skills that aren’t necessary for progression in Wasteland 3. Examples include Barter, Toaster Repair, Weapon Modding, or Armor Modding. What you can do is max-out INT for these recruits — aka. “INT dump” and pick the “Poindexter” quirk — so that they have a lot of skill points on character creation.

For example, I created a level 10+ Ranger from scratch and gave them 10 INT and “Poindexter.” Then, I leveled-up Barter, grabbed Barter perks, sold junk, and bought ammo and other goodies. I then dismissed this random fella, but I’d add them back to my party from time to time if I needed to sell stuff. The benefit is that you don’t need to sacrifice the combat and exploration capabilities of your “main” squadmates just for bartering or modding purposes.

Wsl Skbld 4a

Wasteland 3 is available via Steam. For more information, check out our guides and features hub.

Jason Rodriguez
About The Author
Jason Rodriguez is a guides writer. Most of his work can be found on PC Invasion (around 3,400+ published articles). He's also written for IGN, GameSpot, Polygon, TechRaptor, Gameskinny, and more. He's also one of only five games journalists from the Philippines. Just kidding. There are definitely more around, but he doesn't know anyone. Mabuhay!