The Game Was Rigged from the Start — Modding Fallout: New Vegas


With the launch of Fallout 76 and the mostly tepid response following it, I’ve seen a fair number of folks express interest in revisting some of the older titles in the Fallout series. Fallout: New Vegas in particular is the one I’ve seen most amount of interest in. It’s been several years since I played NV and I, like I imagine a lot of people, are curious as to how it holds up. It’s often praised as being the good one of the first-person Fallout games and the recent Fallout discourse has left me keen to return to it.

Though there are plenty of valid reasons for wanting to experience a game again in its original form, over the years I’ve grown quite attached to the modding scene around the Bethesda/Obsidian Fallout games (and similarly the Elder Scrolls series). There’s an immense volume of fantastic mods available that range from anywhere between minor adjustments/tweaks to full-blown expansions. That said, there are so many mods out there that it can be difficult knowing which are worth trying, and the lack of steam workshop support for New Vegas means the process of installing mods successfully can be a little tricky for newcomers. That is why I thought it might be helpful to put together a thread for folks to share recommendations on the mods they have had the best experiences with, and to offer information to those new to the process of installing mods.

Finally, I’d like to make a point of saying that if you happen to try and enjoy any mods as part of replaying New Vegas (or any game for that matter) please consider supporting the creators. In the absence of any paid mod structure for these games, most creators are doing all this hard work for very little recompense. If you can afford to give something back I’m sure they’d greatly appreciate the thought.

Installing mods for Fallout: New Vegas

First and foremost, if you are completely new to modding and/or installing mods I’d recommend taking a look at Outside of Steam Workshop, which isn’t available for New Vegas, it is probably the best resource for finding & hosting mods for a variety of different games. Making an account on there is a good way of keeping track of the mods you might want to try out at a later date, although I should mention that there is nsfw content on the site (which I believe is hidden by default). Nexus also has easy links to allow for direct donations towards mod creators (as well as a patreon that claims to give all its earnings towards creators).

Nexus also offer a mod manager tool that makes the process of installing mods & keeping them updated far simpler. I’m most familiar with the older app called Nexus Mod Manager (NMM) however they have recently put out a new tool called Vortex which seems to serve a very similar purpose albeit with a cleaner interface. For the purpose of this post I’m going to assume that you will be using one of those apps to help install/manage the mods you want to add to New Vegas.

Some folks have pointed out that Nexus Mod Manager has caused issues in the past while using it for New Vegas, so I’ve added in some tutorials for the Fallout Mod Mananger (FOMM). It’s a pretty similar tool but used exclusively for handling mods for FO3 & F:NW.

Another great resource I would recommend are the variety of mod showcases/tutorials that Gopher has created over the past several years. I can’t speak to his whole channel but his modding videos were what initially helped me become accustomed with the process. They are some of the most clear & well-presented out there. I’ve included below some links to particular videos to help folks get started with installing mods.


Vortex Tutorial

Nexus Mod Manager Tutorial

Fallout Mod Manager Tutorial

Modding Fallout: New Vegas

PC Gamer’s “The best mods for Fallout New Vegas”

Recommended Fallout: New Vegas Mods

It probably won’t be until the new year before I have the time to replay New Vegas however I’ve thrown together a google doc for keeping track of the recommendations y’all share as well whatever mods I may find. Ideally it can grow to be a useful resource for curating the best the mod community has to offer. Included also are links to the aforementioned mod managers and a couple of other tools that I’ve found useful in the past.


(link to skill calculator/character builder:

As with anything on these forums, please be mindful of our rules around explicit/harmful content, making sure to use the appropriate content warnings when necessary. I look forward to seeing what everyone recommends for modding Fallout: New Vegas!


Awesome, thought about going back to NV a few months ago, definitely going to keep an eye on this.

Just reminded me to check a NV mod I followed a long time ago. I hadn’t seen anything about it in a while, bit it looks like it’s in Beta :astonished:


I recently went back to new vegas and nexus mod manager was a total disaster for me so I’d recommend using another mod manager instead.


I’d recommend BIS Brumbeks Inventory Sorting as a qol mod. It adds a 4 letter prefix to all the items in the game based on their type which can help cut down on the time you spend scrolling through your inventory. It’s been a while since I played though so there’s always a chance a better mod has made this redundant.


I also had trouble with the Nexus Mod Manager for Fallout New Vegas. I used a mod manager called Fallout Mod Manager, or FOMM for short, for Fallout New Vegas and all the mods I used worked with it.


Yo, this is awesome! I’ve been meaning to play New Vegas for so long, as it seems really my style, and I’ve owned it for years, but I wanted to put some mods in.

But also importantly, I get paralyzed by choices, and can’t figure out what kind of build I want. I was considering to do a non-violent run, but figured it wouldn’t be great for a first play-through. (Same issues with Fallout 2 actually) Any advice for a first run?


I have to ask first. How much you know about the plot? What kind of spoilers are you okay hearing about? Do you want to know what skills to level first?


One thing I’ve wanted to try but never got round to was A Tale of Two Wastelands which takes all of FO3 and ports it over to FO:NV, so you can run through both games all at once.


The main things I’m concerned about are:

A) Are there any builds that will ruin my experience? How bad of an idea is a non-violent playthrough for my first actually?
B) Are there any must-have abilities or skills? Lockpicking, medicine, etc?
C) Are there any side-quests that you recommend highly?

That kind of stuff.

I was planning on doing a slightly stealthy, sniper-type character, but, again, wasn’t sure how that would fit.


Appreciate the folks pointing towards FOMM! I’ve edited it into the OP with an additional tutorial for anyone who decides to go that route with installing mods. Though I’ll probably use this opportunity to check out Vortex, personally.

I’ve also edited in the mod suggestions y’all have shared into the google doc. I don’t think I’ll be going for something like Fallout: New California or A Tale of Two Wastelands for my playthrough, I’m mostly interested in the vanilla (original) content as far as the writing & quests go. I’ll be on the lookout for quality of life mods, some visual-enhancing mods, maybe minor gameplay tweaks that improve the balancing of certain aspects of the game. That said, I’m happy to include most anything (within reason) on the google doc for those looking to totally change the experience of playing New Vegas.

@vehemently I believe it is possible to complete New Vegas non-lethally though for a first playthrough I may recommend against it? Like some of the Bethesda-made open worlds, there’s a number of ‘dungeons’ that are full of hostile enemies that would be very difficult to bypass on a non-lethal build, effectively meaning there’ll be some side quests you’d really struggle with (as they tend to bring you to these sorts of locations).

It’s been long enough that I can’t really speak to a lot of the most enjoyable builds or side quests but hopefully other folks can help steer you right with that stuff!


A stealthy character early on might be difficult. The game has a setting for if you want true iron sights or a fallout 3 style dot. There’s even one rifle, cowboy repeater, that is almost unusable with true iron sights. Early on there is a weapon in cave off the beaten path with a scope and silencer called the ratslayer. As for skills, you already probably know the rewards for speech and science checks are totally worth it. Early on however you can get some free shit in the first town with repair, speech or barter, and explosives. For your question on nonviolence, it’s not impossible. You’d have to completely main line the story though. It takes skills in speech and science… and faith in the AI in certain missions. In certain areas, it would be impossible. Not sure the first side quest has a peaceful resolution though. I’ve never felt the survival skill was ever necessary. Don’t think about crafting your own bullets either. That system in vanilla would probably actually cost caps honestly. Oh and I highly advise skipping the dlc that starts at a northern most point. It’s entirely white saviors saving simple natives from savage natives. Last thing I can think of is don’t just try to head north straight to Vegas. It’s deathclaws and giant wasp territory. I’ll probably think of other stuff tomorrow. It’s 6 am and I haven’t slept yet.


This is a little bit outside the realm of modding New Vegas but if you’re the type of person who likes to plan their character build ahead of time, with a rough idea of the sorts of traits/perks you will be shooting for, this is a handy tool for experimenting with skill distribution without doing so in-game:

I haven’t quite decided on my character but she will likely either be a smooth-talker who’s good with a gun, or a science dork who prefers energy-based weapons. Though regardless: she will be a disaster lesbian.


Think I went combo of Speech and Science for my first (only) playthrough and it certainly seemed like the best path.



Without mods, there isn’t really a way to do a non-violent playthrough in Fallout New Vegas. If you want to do a stealth build, I would recommend not having any companions because they can break stealth fairly easily. In terms of skills, I don’t think that survival is worth investing in. I would prioritize Speech, but even Barter is useful in Fallout New Vegas because there are a good amount of speech checks that require Barter. This guide is good for what you should pick in terms of traits and perks, but you can choose anything you want really and be fine. I would say that there are a lot of great side quests in the base game, so whatever interests you while playing the game is good.


Also even in vanilla, you can have one human companion and one nonhuman companion. I’d also put points into lockpick as much as the other important skills. Playing a bit passively is also advised as a lot of character types that you’ve come to believe as always hostile will not be. It’s kinda like Fallout 2 with respect to species/race and their agency.


TBH my advice would be to just think of a vague background you like and choose skills, SPECIAL, and traits based on that. The combat isn’t difficult and there are plenty of places to use all of your skills and SPECIAL stats in dialogue and the world. New Vegas is a game very much built for roleplaying in the sense of acting out a character and it does a good job of supporting a wide variety of skillsets.

Also you can totally go straight north to Vegas. Just takes caution.

Being totally non-violent on your first playthrough would be somewhat difficult though yeah. Most quests have non-violent ways to resolve them, its the rest of the world that would give you trouble. There are certain weapons in the game that deal " fatigue" damage, which does very very little damage to health and will knock enemies unconscious for a bit well before they die. They’re Unarmed/Melee weapons.

EDIT: Only thing I’d say to keep in mind when building your chatacter: Agility effects your reload speed/ and draw/holster speed. It says it effects your movement speed but that’s a lie.


i have no good insights to add about builds except that the Wild Wasteland perk is 100% recommended


Traits: Most are fine although I would avoid Four Eyes. It’s not a bad Trait but the -1 Perception influences Perk requirements for certain stats. Also don’t get Trigger Discipline and Fast Shot at the same time. Good Natured is good if you only want to get one or two combat stats. Wild Wasteland adds some goofs.
SPECIAL: Charisma is largely not that useful. It influences if companions apply extra damage and the only two Perks connected to it have a requirement of 6.
Skills: Speech and Science are absurdly good. Repair is pretty great. The only SKILL I would say you should ignore is Survival which is only wortwhile in Survival mode (which is best to avoid on a first playthrough)
Perks: Weapon Handling is good to get for any character planning on using weapons and doesn’t have high strength. Jury Rigging is another outstanding perk that is sorta a must. Educated is good but you should get it earlier tather than later. Swift Learner isn’t that useful. Do NOT take Here and Now. Do NOT take In Shining Armor unless you get a mod that fixes it.

Non-violent or at least non-lethal is a viable strategy in the main story and for a large amount of side stories however it does not work with the DLC. If you do pick this route in the end I’d recommend the NCR or Yes Man/Independent. If you want a non-lethal game there are a few weapons that can do this. Namely, Boxing Gloves, Boxing Tape, Cattle Prods, Flash Bangs, Golden Gloves, and a specific crafted shotgun ammo called 12 gauge bean bags although these are expensive to craft. Furthermore, in the DLC Honest Hearts there is a weapon called Compliance Regulator that is the weakest energy weapon in terms of damage but on a critical hit paralyzes an enemy for 10 seconds. That said, it’s in DLC that stumbles into being full on White Savior and has the worst story of all the DLCs.


Incidentally, it’s the DLC that was helmed by Jon Gonzalez, the narrative lead on Horizon: Zero Dawn, just so you can get a sense of how problematic it is regarding Native Americans… or at least Native Americans as an aesthetic?


it was helmed by Josh Sawyer. Gonzalez wrote the Survivalist logs and was creative director for core NV.

Pillars of Eternity 1 shared some of these issues, not surprisingly