Eyes like chips of ice gazed across the various weapons, piles of ammunition, and bins of discarded weapon mods. Weather worn skin hung from the man’s face, forming piles of wrinkles in places, but stretched almost too thin and translucent in others. Each line told a story of how every inch of skin had been to hell and back….and that didn’t even count the time in the irradiated wasteland. Graying whiskers twitched side to side as those chips of ice, burdened with experience and loss far beyond what mortal man should endure suddenly halted as they came upon the dusty old laser pistol hidden in the corner. Slowly, cautiously, cracked, calloused hands picked up the weapon to inspect it. It was old, at least as old as hands that carrased its plastic and steel shell. A voice broke the silence, deep and gravely, as if the earth itself spoke forth, “Nice pistol….bet with a little love and affection she would make a handsome rifle….had one like her once…..long ago. Good gun.” Another voice, almost as different as night is to day chimed in, “Feel free to test the grip, she’s a good pistol, had her a long time, definitely an old, faithful gun.” The worn earth spoke again, a soft chuckle booming like distant thunder, “Old Faithful you say? I like the sound of that…..”
Greetings! Greetings, good day, and top of the morning/evening/afternoon/random moment in time to each and every one of you beautiful wastelanders! Now as this is a no nonsense build, a real straight shooter you might say……..ermmm right…. A no nonsense, practical build, with a practical, reliable weapon. Without further tomefoolery and ridiculous banter I present to you my Arms and Artifacts Fallout Character Building Event: The Faithful Ranger featuring the fantastic laser rifle (pistol) Old Faithful!
Overview of the Build:
Now we find Old Faithful very early on in our travels, easily gotten in the very first level or two as we run south from our exit from Vault 111 towards that Great Green Jewel of the Commonwealth: Diamond City. In Diamond City we have a variety of colorful merchants with some very useful and powerful weapons, armor, and other gear. One such denizen of Diamond City is the always friendly Arturo Rodriguez, the owner and operator of Commonwealth Weaponry. While Arturo has some great things to buy, we only care about one specific item: the laser pistol Old Faithful. This little baby as the “Instigating” legendary effect which means double damage to enemies at full health. Well that’s a good perk….but not on a pistol….least of all an energy pistol which is usually more about many shots than one super shot. Luckily for us laser weapons, and energy weapons as a whole in Fallout 4 are INCREDIBLY versatile. Any laser pistol can be turned into an automatic pistol, a semi-auto rifle, and everything in between. So what type of weapon would most benefit from the instigating effect? You guessed it….an energy weapons sniper build!
S.P.E.C.I.A.L Stats and Perks:
Right so, let’s get our S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats and perks out of the way first so that we can break them down as to why we are taking them, and what benefit they provide us to make Old Faithful in an exceptionally powerful weapon, not just for first level, but an ENTIRE playthrough.
Strength six might seem like a lot but it really is a fantastic option for us as not only is the Faithful Ranger built for a sniper energy weapons build….but it is built for SURVIVAL mode! Deep access into high strength gives us armorer for modifying any chosen armors, more on them later, as well as more carry weight that is extremely valuable for our ranger on survival mode.
Next we have perception and charisma. Perception starts at a modest one base point, with a very early perception bobblehead from the Museum of Freedom in Concord netting us that juicy second point to pick up rifleman which will majorly buff Old Faithful’s damage. Charisma gives us more utility with Lone Wanderer for even more carry weight (A LOT of carry weight actually) and some damage reduction, useful on survival mode for sure. We also get local leader which will be great for our settlements as we are a Minutemen build! More on that later.
Next we get our two main stats with intelligence and agility. Intelligence gets us a little bit of medic for healing and making stimpacks on survival mode, very useful for our ranger build and fitting for the roleplay of being self-sufficient. Scrapper gives us good resources for our Minutemen settlements, but also gets us those more rare components that we need to modify Old Faithful into the super sniper we know she can be. Science is our main weapon crafting perk and as this is a level 30 build it is extremely nice that laser weapons only need a maximum skill in science of three points to unlock all our modifications. As we get this at level 28 that means we have all modifications unlocked for our gun at this level vs. many other weapons that need say gun nut 4 at level 39 to make! A whole 11 levels sooner! Even before 3 ranks we can immediately turn Old Faithful into a really solid laser rifle at rank 1.
With agility we get a lot of our sniper/ranger skills. First up is sneak for good mobility, sneak kills, ranging, and avoiding things like mines and such which are LETHAL on survival mode. Action boy/girl gives us a lot of great action points that we can use on VATS shots or just keeping ourselves mobile and quick on the battlefield. Ninja lets us have those sneak critical modifiers, though as laser weapons do not have a silenced option we will be skipping the normally staple sniper perk of mister sandman. Last but not least is scrounger in the luck tree as this really helps us get a good amount of ammunition, mostly in the form of the fusion cells that we will use, but other types as well which we can haul around with our good carry weight and trade for caps for more useful items and gear when we stop into town. A great option on survival versus lugging around heavy legendary weapons or armor, or other higher value high weight items to sell.
Gameplay and Roleplay:
As this build is part of the Arms & Artifacts event, the Faithful Ranger is built entirely around the Old Faithful gun. This means it dictates not just our gameplay but our roleplay as well. As evidenced in our perks and stats, this build plays out like many sniper builds. Moving silent, stealthily picking good targets and sniping enemies from a safe distance before moving position and starting over again. Be mindful though, you do not have a silencer for laser weapons and as such if you put yourself into a bad location, you can be overwhelmed with enemies alerted to your presence. You do have good AP though so use VATS at close range, especially with things like ghouls. This non-silent sniper style that still uses sneak and other stealth approaches is a lot of fun to play and quite different than your traditional sniper build. You end up playing this build like…a ranger. For those of you who have gone the route of the archer in Skyrim or other similar games (is it even possible for someone reading this to have not played Skyrim?) this really feels like that.
This pushes us towards some roleplay. Play this build like you would a traditional fantasy ranger. Live off the land. Stalk the wilds, killing raiders, monsters, and creatures for food and protection. Protect those innocents out there from the horrors of the wasteland. Given our ranger style, plus our weapon really reminding me of a laser musket, and even the name harkening back to a better time in history, all of this really screamed Minutemen to me. Very early on, our benevolent ranger will find his way to Concord, meet Preston and the others from Quincy, and find the first shreds of good left in this world. Protect these people, escort them back to Sanctuary, build up their settlement with your ranger skills and set about helping Preston restore the Minutemen to their former glory. With your laser rifle in hand, there isn’t an enemy of the Commonwealth you cannot put down with stealth, science, and survival instincts. However, despite your friendly demeanor you are every bit the Lone Wanderer. As always with the no companion style, Dogmeat is always the exception and feel free to use him. He is a wonderful addition to a ranger character and provides extra utility, though at times on survival mode can be a liability. Your call.
As far as settlements go I thought what made the most sense to me, given our ranger build, our Minutemen quests, and pure logic of the practicality of our character, I built a series of major settlements surrounded by a plethora of supply caches and camps. Taking larger settlements like the Castle, Sanctuary, the Slog, Bunker Hill, and other larger locations with pre existing settlers. The smaller locations, those abandoned prior to your arrival like Coastal Cottage, Croup Manor, Taffington Boathouse, Jamaica Plains, and more; you can build into small camps, resupply points, and rest stops for your survivalist character hopefully playing on survival mode, typically using only the materials at hand to build it up. With local leader you can build workbenches at them all to help you keep up your gear, strip mods, and scrap resources. You can then link these together with your supply lines. A few locations like Tenpines Bluff and Oberland Station are small locations perfect for a personal camp but have existing settlers you cannot move to your bigger towns and killing them would completely destroy immersion. Luckily there is a great solution in turning them into provisioners. For example taking the two Tenpines settlers you can send one to Outpost Zimonja, and the other back to Sanctuary, linking those two camp sized settlements back to your northern capital town and main network of supplies. Treating your provisioners almost link junior rangers under your command felt very natural and was nice coming upon one in your travels.
One last note for your faction play, feel free to play the field a little. You are a nice character and genuinely care about helping others so doing some work for the Railroad, even the Brotherhood with helping Danse at Cambridge can be a nice depth of play. Additionally, help those in Diamond City, help Billy, free Bunker Hill from raider fear, and enjoy the good karma options in the DLCs. Help Ada defeat the Mechanist, aid Far Harbor, Acadia, even the Children of Atom in a peaceful solution….or not as you can be a little creative here depending on how anti-synth or pro-human you want to be, just like your work with the BoS. Lastly free the good people of Nuka-World from the tyranny of the Overboss and his goons. Do good things for the Commonwealth and protect the people, your people now, from the horrors and terror of the wilds of the Wasteland as they seek to eek out a corner of the world for civilization.
Unsurprisingly, your most important piece of gear is your rifle: Old Faithful. With a modest perk layout of Science 3 you can give it all the necessary modifications. By the time you get your chosen gun you should have picked up Science 1 as one of your first perks. This gives you all the tools you need together with a little scrap to change Old Faithful from its base pistol configuration to a terrific early game rifle. This is how I would suggest you modify Old Faithful from Science 1 to 3.
Capacitor- Boosted Capacitor
Barrel- Sniper Barrel
Grip- Full Stock
Sight- Reflex Sight
Muzzle- Beam Focuser
Capacitor- Maximized Capacitor
Barrel- Improved Sniper Barrel
Grip- Marksman’s Stock
Sight- Reflex Sight
Muzzle- Fine-tuned Beam Focuser
Capacitor- Overcharged Capacitor
Barrel- Improved Sniper Barrel
Grip- Recoil Compensating Stock
Sight- Reflex Sight
Muzzle- Fine-tuned Beam Focuser
Note- You might notice the reflex sight for what I call a sniper build, while you are more than welcome to run a scope I found the reflex sight was really useful for all the medium to close range shots I ended up taking. With good sneak you can sneak right into buildings and other close locations and get stealth headshots that with a scope would be much, much more difficult. If you don’t mind hip shooting at close range I would add a series of increasing better scopes. Also laser weapons in general seem more suited for medium range fighting vs the extreme distances that say a ballistic sniper rifle enjoys due to the physics of the blasts.
As far as armor goes you really can do a lot. The minuteman outfit you get off the dead guy out front of the Museum of Freedom in Concord is a great pick up because you can layer on all the armor from the dead raiders. I found leather armor to be good with some pocketed mods for carry weight, especially on survival mode because they weigh a lot less than metal or raider pieces and you will die quick no matter what your armor level. Later on you can upgrade to whatever legendaries you find. A militia hat makes a great, great, great option for the ranger look and for the Minutemen allegiance. Preston’s minuteman hat is also good. Some decent goggles or glasses also go nice, in my case I chose the patrolman glasses. Later game as you get into the DLCs you can pick up some really nice pieces, the one which grabbed my attention the most was the marine armor from Far Harbor. This has always been one of my favorite armors in the entire game and finds its way into a lot of my playthroughs and characters. With the assault modded version you get from the caches you unlock via DiMa’s memories you are all set (as to make this yourself needs science 4 and armorer 4, very high level perks) and ready to go minus your secondary mod. As always, due to the marine armor’s sheer weight light (no perk requirements) and ultra-light (armorer 3) modifications are almost mandatory, especially on survival. However feel free to run whatever you want. Even Preston’s duster is a great item to wear and fits the theme and aesthetic. Nuka-World also has some great pieces with the western style clothing and hats. Don’t be afraid to make your Faithful Ranger your own!
Well I do believe that about does it. I thank each and every one of your for getting this far. This build was a ton of fun and a really nice way to bring together Fallout with some elements that reminded me of a Skyrim-esque ranger playthrough but still fit wonderfully into the world that is the Wasteland. Getting to play on survival mode only adds to this and makes for a very enjoyable playthrough. Old Faithful is a dutiful rifle and your best companion from very low level to max level along your journeys in the Commonwealth and beyond. Treat it as such! Remember that while you might be a ranger, in this world overcome by the wilderness, you must bring balance back to things as you, the Faithful Ranger stalk the urban jungle of downtown Boston, and the reaches of the Commonwealth. I once again thank you for reading, hope you enjoyed and I encourage all of you to check out the other builds produced for the Arms and Artifacts build event by clicking on the event tag above. Thank you and good hunting!