This article is dedicated to my son, Jake...the humanitarian and writer. Please join him in helping others.
As a fan of the Fallout series, I was eager to buy a copy of Fallout 4 and I really am glad I did. I actually obtained my first copy for my birthday in 2016 and although I have put a lot of hours in, it's been over a year and I still feel like I have barely scratched the surface of everything this game has to offer.
Building settlements out junk is the best part of this game to me, and although I have been obsessively pouring over this aspect of the game for the past year or so, I still love getting into settlement building.
Building a settlement without any mods requires a lot of junk that has to be scrapped or bought in shipments but most of the time, it really takes a combination of both.
Obviously, you can find anything just lying around the Commonwealth in the game but if you want to avoid accidentally doing a mission before it is assigned to you by Preston Garvey, or whichever faction you decide to join, then stick to buying junk from Trudy at Drumlin Diner.
Something new I discovered about getting settlers to move to a settlement includes the Build Limit for a settlement. In other words, if you have a Build Limit in the yellow, you will not get new settlers. So, either use a Build Limit Mod or the Weapon trick to get your Build Limit into the green in order to keep folks moving in on a regular basis.
Your First Settlement, Sanctuary
After leaving the vault, your best best is to head straight home following the path back to Sanctuary. As you can tell, your old neighborhood is raggedy and all but abandoned with the exception of your faithful Mister Handy, Codsworth. You will find him floating around right in front of the old homestead. Start here by talking with him.
During the conversation with Codsworth, you might get tempted to take the food he offers versus the taking on the possibility of the conversation bonus: words that appear in yellow, orange and red; depending on difficulty and more importantly, Charisma.
Your level in Charisma determines so much more than being able to invoke your will on the people in Fallout... it also determines how many settlers you can have. For example, if you have a Charisma of 10, the game allows you up to twenty settlers in per settlement. There is a way to increase this by wearing Charisma boosting clothing such as: a Clean Black Suit, Trilby Hat and Black-rimmed glasses, for example.
Still, in a no-mod game, the only way to have a decent level Charisma to start with is to make one during Character Creation. Here is my recommended character set-up to help you get started in the right direction.
For me, Intelligence is the most important S. P. E. C. I. A. L. category to work on and in order for you to get the most out of this guide, always start out with your intelligence maxed out. Also, another really great reason for maxing out your character's intelligence can be traced back to Fallout 3... possibly earlier. With each level of Intelligence you have, the more experience you gain from each experience bonus you receive within the game. In other words, you will level up a lot faster with a maxed out Intelligence.
Getting back to Sanctuary and another reason you will want a a maxed out Intelligence relates to the most valuable commodity in the game... Bottle Caps.
Bottle Caps act as money in the world of Fallout 4 and the best way to make money in the game is all around your first settlement in Sanctuary, the river and lake but more on that in a moment.
After you help Codsworth rid the neighborhood of a few pesky Bloat Flies, your main focus should be set on scrapping everything in the neighborhood.
NOTE: Make sure the first time you level up, you take the Science Perk at Level 1.
Once you have cleared the neighborhood with Codsworth, you can access the Workbench at the house across the street from your old home. Having done so, scrap everything you possibly can in Sanctuary. Do not concern yourself with hoarding back anything but televisions and radios. Store those two items for once you start getting things ready for settlers later on.
After you have completed scrapping every square inch of Sanctuary, head to either side of the bridge where you will want to build your first Water Purifier and Power Generator. Scrap is somewhat random but if you are lucky, you should be able to build at least one of each: the Large Generator and the Large Water Purifier.
Water Purifiers produce 40 Bottles of water daily...or, so it says. There are several key contributing factors that influence how much water you actually end up with... as well as how often.
To keep this simple, these are the three commonly main influences:
- Defense: If your defense is non-existent or low, you will lose water to thieves.
- Weather: Believe it or not, you will get more Purified Water on rainy days than on sunny days.
- You: Yes, you! Always make sure to check your Workbench under the section entitled, "AID", to see if more water has been placed there by the game. If so, take the water out and put it in a storage container. DO NOT keep the water on you. Having Purified Water in your character's possession or leaving it in the Workbench will stop more water from accumulating. So, always store the water!
Another way Purified Water income can be negatively affected, as I have noticed, would be due to you lingering in the settlement but more on that when we get into walking a perimeter around Sanctuary.
After you have your Water and Power set-up, start building whatever kind of settlement you think will work best for the Settlers you hope to have. As I have heard throughout the years, "Measure twice and cut once". (A quote that can also be found in another Bethesda game, Skyrim.
So, think about where you want your people to live.
Shelter is very important to settler in Fallout 4 and rightfully so. Providing a safe place to call home for Settlers is your number one priority in any settlement. In Sanctuary, you will find that after scrapping, you now have five empty lots and eight houses. Unfortunately, when you start out though, you can only hang doors on your old house and the Workbench house, across the street.
Normally, I ignore any of the houses that are still standing, regardless of doors. The ceilings in all of these homes are rotted out and provide zero comfort in the rain. Instead, pick out a empty lot to build a settler bunkhouse, as it were.
Since the scrap you get in the game is random and no two games ever run the same way, outside of the main story-line, I cannot give you a definitive on just how much you will be able to build. However, the next level you get should go to the Local Leader Perk. This advances what you can build in your settlement and that is very important. Now, let's talk about selling water.
At some point, you are going to need more building supplies and with everything scrapped, there is only one thing left to do... go shopping.
The closest shop I have found for buying junk and settlement building shipments is at Trudy's place, known as Drumlin Diner. You can find her shop directly south of Concord's museum. However, it is best to avoid Concord and an alternate route to Drumlin can be easily taken by heading south of Sanctuary and circling west of Concord.
For now, avoid Red Rocket and Abernathy Farm. In the beginning, you really are not ready to take on either settlement. Instead, simply work your way to Drumlin where you will find Trudy in a gunfight with a couple of Raiders known as, Wolfgang and Simone.
DO NOT attack Wolfgang and Simone.
Instead, put away your weapon before you approach Wolfgang. Instead, talk to him. He just wants what is owed him by Trudy's son. Make sure you save before attempting to successfully completing the, "Order's Up", side-quest that I am about to explain.
Talking to Wolfgang gives you the opportunity to work out a peaceful resolve between Trudy and Wolfgang, and it is vital that you accomplish this mission simply by making peace between the two.
- Start by telling Wolfgang to get his gun out of your face.
- Offer to talk to Trudy
- Talk to Trudy and convince her to pay Wolfgang what is due him
- Report back to Wolfgang
DO NOT ask either side for money or you will fail. Instead, make peace between the two and here is a list of reasons why:
- Now, you can shop at Trudy's anytime simply by fast traveling back and forth safely. With Wolfgang and Simone sticking around, you will never get attacked randomly by other Raiders when fast traveling back and forth between Sanctuary and Drumlin Diner
- Worlfgang offers to sell you Chems. This gives you a second shop to sell off your Purified Water for even more Bottle Cap making.
- Well, '3', is the icing on the cake.
When you get to Drumlin, take a moment to look for a travel saleslady named, Trashcan Carla. Once peace is restored to the diner, Trashcan Carla will feel safe about running her route between Sanctuary and Drumlin Diner and you want want this... she sells shipments of, 'Oil'. Oil is a really rare item in the game and just as hard to make from scratch. However, with peace at the diner, you can buy shipments of oil from Trashcan Carla, among another six Settlement Shipments types she offers; not to mention she also sells everything from clothes to weapons and so forth.
Having successfully completed, 'Order's Up', at the diner, you will now have three shops to sell Purified Water to, not to mention two great shops for building supplies. Time to buy and sell.
Buying and Selling
With success at Drumlin, you are ready to start buying and selling to your three new friends: Trudy, Wolfgang and Trashcan Carla. However, before you do anything, let us talk about your clothes.
Charisma affects how much things are bought and sold for. So, obviously the higher your Charisma the better the deals are going to get and clothing affects that.
Start with Trudy or Carla... either sells what you will need, hopefully. Start with Carla. You will want to establish your interest in her first so she sticks to the trade route between Sanctuary and Drumlin Diner, after peace is made.
ONLY buy an outfit that boosts Charisma. One clean suit, a pair of Fashionable or Black-rimmed Glasses and a wig or hat that offers a Charisma boosting stat is necessary. Even if you have to divide buying these three items between the two shops.
For example: Carla only has a clean suit. Buy that from her and put it one, (Equip it in your Pip-Boy). Then, go see Trudy and only buy any of the other two items Carla might not have to make the three-piece Charisma boosting outfit.
Having all three items will add an additional bonus of Charisma +4 to your character. I say go with the clean suits but it is only meant as a point of reference regardless of whether or not you are playing a male, female or cross-dresser type character. It's your game and your choice but the idea is to get those bonus four points added to your Charisma.
Since everything bought and sold, out side of shipments, is random... there are no guarantees on what will be offered but do the best you can with what you can get for the moment.
Once you have the available Charisma boosting items equipped, buy what scrap you can and head back to Sanctuary.
Settlement Building Tips and Tricks: Part One
Once you have successfully set up your, 'Fast Travel', route between Drumlin Diner and Sanctuary, and have returned home... it's time to check on your water. Head straight to the Workbench and collect your next shipment.
If Purifed Water has not appeared yet, do not worry about it. Water usually comes in around 11 AM in game time. So, scrap the junk you bought.
Warning: Every settlement has good and bad places to scrap junk!
In Sanctuary, ALWAYS drop your junk beneath the overhang there at the workbench. Unfortunately, I have noticed that trying to do this in the street has caused the smaller pieces of junk to simply disappear. I can only assume it is a glitch in the game.
If you did not have any water after first returning, scrap your junk and check again. Although I said water is usually there around 11 Am in game time, it is can prove random.
Afterwards, try to build another Water Purifier and generator. Once you built what you could, (Again, random), continue working on your first bunkhouse. Or, you can crash until morning and check the water again. No matter what, periodically check to see if more water has been added to the Workbench. Just remember to store it in a container of your choosing.
Patrolling the Perimeter and Water
As mentioned before, thieves will sneak into your settlements and steal your water. However, I have found that there are two ways to fix this problem. Patrol the area around Sanctuary and set up defenses.
In Fallout 4, and Sanctuary in particular, thieves lurk everywhere and even if you match the number of Defense you have to the Purified Water you are producing, you will still find it difficult to get the most out of your Water Purifiers.
Not to jump subjects but as a reminder-enlightenment, for each point of resource you have, you will need that exact same number in Defense. For example, if you are producing forty Purified Waters, you will need a Defense of forty to match which is accomplished by placing turrets. (More on that subject shortly.)
However, I have come to learn that even if you exceed Defense over Resources such as Water and Food, you still will not see all forty bottles in a day. Remember, weather plays a role on how much you get as well.
In addition to weather, there is the area around Sanctuary that has to be periodically patrolled for Raiders.
Raiders actually have three camps set up around Sanctuary. Here are where you will find them:
- In Sanctuary, you will discover the basement doors. Literally, straight across the water from the basement is a cabin where a Raider and a Dog patrol.
- Crossing the bridge out of Sanctuary, take a left and follow the river. Be wary of a Mongrel at the river's edge. Nearby is also a nest of Mole rats. Eliminate these pests while continuing to work your way northward. Just a little ways eastward is another Raider camp consisting of three to four Raiders. Eliminate them.
- South of Vault 111 are Power lines. From the edge of the map, you will find three or four more Raiders have a camp there, as well.
Raiders will randomly spawn at these three locations. So, be sure to occasionally patrol and clear these three spots.
Here are some other things to do while you are making this patrol.
The Water Pump Station
Things to Watch for Outside of Sanctuary
While you are out patrolling around Sanctuary, there are several things well worth checking out for bonus weapons, items and another shop.
- Even after you clear out the cabin behind the basement in Sanctuary, items will still randomly appear at the cabin.
- Right after you cross the bridge, a dead Raider offers up and outfit, if you haven't already snatched that.
- Next to the statue is a duffel bag with an assortment of weapons, ammo and items that randomly refills.
- After heading upstream from the statue, towards the Raider camp Northeast of Sanctuary, you will come across a skeleton next to a water pump box. However, if you stuck to the river's edge, you will come across the activation switch for the pump house. Either way, follow the pipes to the water to shut the pump off and head up to the pump. Having shut the pump off stops the vacuum seal on the pump house and inside are usually three Cap Stashes. Next to the skeleton is a suitcase, a .44 and some other odds and ends that randomly re-generate.
- As for the Power Pylon Raider Camp, if you follow the pylons to the western edge of the map, you will find a shack with some goodies inside... after you pick the Novice lock.
- All along the way is a variety of wild plants worth harvesting.
- I just found this one... if you head west-southwest of the pylon camp, you will find a Trader Settlement. As it stands, there is a single lady living there with her small farm and a cat. Although she offers very little, in time and with your help... I am confident that will change. For now, just keep her in mind and take her water for trade.
- South of the bridge out of Sanctuary is a slightly radioactive vehicle with a skeleton outside and a few goodies inside. Here's a great spot to snatch a Combat Helmet but there are a few Bloodwings and Bloat Flies close by. So, keep that in mind. Oh, and it is also a good place to harvest Glowing Fungus for the first time.
Along the way to patrolling these camps, you will run across a few Bloat Flies, Wild Mongrels and maybe a Feral Ghoul.
Very Random: I ran into a man named, Gene. Gene will sell you a Junkyard Dog for 250 Bottle Caps. Having a Charisma of 6 will allow you to obtain the dog which adds five points to your Settlement's defense but more about that later.
After your patrol, head back to Sanctuary.
Settlement Tips and Tricks: Part Two
Building a sustainable settlement in Fallout 4 is not as easy as one would hope but it is based totally in reality. Everything counts against everything else. So, keep that in mind.
As mentioned earlier, Defense must meet or exceed Resources. Upon returning to Sanctuary, scrap and store and everything from your patrol, as you see fit. Check to see if more water is in the Workbench and where you go from there is really up to you. Perhaps by then, Trashcan Carla is visiting Sanctuary. Be sure to say hi. You want her to know she has your business there in order to keep her coming back often. Stay on top of saying hi to her and for trading and she will show up in Sanctuary every other day.
Although you will be tempted to build a mad fortress in Sanctuary, the Build Limit meter looms over you like a bad shadow. Unfortunately, in our reality, a graphics processor can only handle so much and even the PlayStation 4 has its limits. However, there is a way to reverse the meter but try not to overly use this trick as it will cause your system to crash.
Here's the trick: Take ten weapons, (If you are lucky... you will have ten exact matches of the same weapon which speeds this up a little.) Now, before you start this trick, make sure you have a storage cabinet to keep the exact same ten weapons in. Also, any other weapons in the Workbench should be stored separately as well. Grab the ten weapons you will need for this and use the Drop Command to drop them from your Pip-Boy. Then, enter Build Mode and store each weapon until you have all of them picked up. Go to the Workbench, grab the weapons and repeat. As you continue this cycle, you will quickly notice the build meter starting to empty. It is a bit of a trickle effect but it does work for allowing you to finish off your settlement. Use this trick sparingly. You will want to use it one more time before putting up your settler beacon.
Before placing your Settler Beacon, double check your meter. If it is yellow or full, use the weapon trick to empty it out some. If your meter is full, you will have a hard time getting all the Settlers you hoped for. I found this out recently but once I got the meter back to blue from yellow, settlers started moving in.
Now that you have a place for your Settlers to crash, you have several Water purifiers and generators, it is time to start thinking about the other aspects of a Fallout 4 Settlement.
Every successful settlement in Fallout 4 replies heavily on this section of the article. Here is a short list of everything a settlement requires:
Food is essential and fairly easy to come by. Whenever you are shopping, always grab food you can plant. The food you find in the wasteland such as Sugar Bombs is useless to Settlers. What they will have to have is a farm/garden.
Having a garden or farm in each settlement is vital to settlers and settlements. Although Muttfruit provides the highest output to Settler ratio, the Settlers will complain about the lack of variety if that is all you plant.
Wherever you decide to put your garden in a settlement, try to plant six of each kind of plant" Muttfruit, Corn, Melons, Tatos, Gourds, Carrots and Razorgrain are your options. Also, it is a good idea to surround your garden with a fence and add a few water pumps.
Since the game is totally dedicated to reality, it's a great idea to make sure to put buckets next to the pumps and keep fertilizer in your workbench. You can also find various gardening tools you can give to your settlers to help them get their work done such as shovels, hoes and that sort of thing.
Just remember, a single farmer only attends six plants. However, with a variety of plants, a single farmer will work different plants as he or she wants. Yes, you can assign them to focus on a certain plant but I find the farmers complain a lot less if you give them tools and let them decide for themselves.
Although you might be tempted to use the harvested food as a viable source of income, it is much more important to leave the food alone for this personal use. In addition to this, the amount of food registering in your meter also affects how many settlers you have. Because of this, having any new settlers focused on food and harvesting is more important that even the guards on hand when you are trying to attract new folks to your settlement. Even then, remember that food is a resource and Defense must meet or exceed that number combined with water production.