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Character Build: The Homer (FO4)

Tags: #Character Build Melee  #Fallout 4 Build  #Character Build Gunslinger  #Character Build Infiltrator 
  • Member
    February 26, 2016

    I'm an enigma. I'm young, English, and like baseball. So I was entertained and thrilled by the presence of so many baseball references in FO4, from the dodgy shanty town of Diamond City to the totally-not-a-Red-Sox-copy baseball uniform. Much as I loved the inclusion of these items in the game, I didn't initially consider that I might end up starting a playthrough based around their utilisation... until I did.

    FO4 presented the opportunity to enjoy combat up close and personal, with a host of delightfully violent tools to help get the job done. As I was messing around with where I wanted this character to go I realised that, after about level 20, the spec is very open as you've worked out the basics and have already managed to tackle almost every fight on Very Hard without dropping more than a quarter of your health - and that's before taking any perks in Big Leagues.

    We start out a simple creature with nothing but our muscles, a basic bat and a bit of a lucky streak to keep up going. We can further enhance our strength and endurance by chugging down our tipple of choice, several types of which can be found throughout the Commonwealth. The final result is a hard headed, damage resistant, lucky semi-alcoholic who likes hitting things and sometimes says the wrong thing. I felt that the key elements of this build led me to its name:

    The Rookie

    This is the starting out special distribution. Strength is loaded on to help with your melee damage and make us a bobble head, S.P.E.C.I.A.L book or perk point away from being able to spec Rooted.

    Perception is largely unimportant to this character as you're standing in melee range and your chance to hit isn't stunted by distance. There may be times you'll be using a weapon from range but we'll get to that - and how we can make it work - later.

    Endurance starts out at three to give us a bit of a boost to our starting health and access to Life Giver, which is optional based on preference, game difficulty and combat management later in the game. Taking the Life Giver perk(s) is certainly not essential, particularly early on.

    Charisma is set to one. I was hesitant about this once I got the Homer Simpson character in my head as, whilst he's a doofus who manages to piss a fair few people off, he has a good heart and most people love him. But he as a character is not necessarily THE character, and even so the general foot-in-mouth aspect still fits. If you want to work on settlements you could pick up some points here later. For speech checks, feel free to chug another beer and follow it up with some mentats if it's that important to you.

    Intelligence largely speaks for itself! How many smart people would decide to take on the dangerous wastes armed with nothing but a bat and their baseball fan fatigues? You might not be hacking high level consoles or mixing up long lasting chems, but you'll be getting bang for your buck from Idiot Savant in the Luck tree, which keeps the xp, and therefore perks, rolling in.

    Agility starts out at nine and that's where it's going to stay for us. After our first perk is put into Idiot Savant, our second goes into Blitz. Adding some range to your melee attacks is a gift you may initially underestimate, but this perk is the heart and soul of this build as time goes by, especially after we've earned the second point at level 29 and are capable of bouncing around your enemies like Bugs Bunny at the ballpark. Nothing makes ghouls less scary than knowing you can appear behind each and every one of them and take them out with one mighty swing, levelling a group in one V.A.T.S action.

    Finally, we start out with Luck at five, giving us access to the aforementioned Idiot Savant. Three further points are invested in Luck later to gain access to Grim Reaper's Sprint(and, along the way, Better Criticals and Critical Banker). Four perks in Bloody Mess can guarantee some good times during group kills, starting a gloriously gory chain reaction from a single big bat bash!

    If you really want to spoil yourself, or are like me and hated by the RNG gods so need all the help you can get, you can also spend another point and grab Four Leaf Clover later on.

    The Bambino

    This is the basic goal of perk assignment at level 49 (46 if you choose to ignore Life Giver), at which point we've covered pretty much everything that makes the build hard hitting and resilient, and after which more choices can be made. Of course, some things are switchable based on personal preference but for survivability and damage the syngergy between some of the higher-end talents is important.

    Variants: You're a Ringer!

    As I said before, there's room for maneuver here and you might want to adapt aspects of the build to better suit your playstyle. Whilst I had my own plan for dealing with certain enemies at range (I'm still getting there!) I also considered a build variant that took a few more points in Perception to reach Demolition Expert.

    I got 4/4 in Demo Expert by level 50 by dropping Blacksmith and Armorer. It's just one example of rearranging points though. Someone else might prefer to level a bit slower and drop Idiot Savant entirely, or perhaps wants to take a more aggressive approach and cut points from Sneak (although you will need to attack from stealth for maximum damage).

    Dealing with range (or AHAAAHAHHH, SUICIDER!)

    You've still got a few options for those times you just can't reach some bugger with your bat or where doing so would be a really bad idea (yes, suiciders on Very Hard, I'm looking at you). You could start lobbing grenades if you've brought them with you, have great aim and the ability to meep meep like Road Runner under an anvil. You could have brought a solid ranged companion with you and hope they realise what you mean as you start gabbling at them about targets, beeping and kabooms. Or you can do the Railroad Quest Tradecraft and grab yourself:

    The increased hit chance is extremely beneficial given the lack of perception in this build, and the ten shots you can fire off from this thing in V.A.T.S helps you out a ton when needed, especially once you're up to taking Critical Banker (you know, cos this is when you need it most).

    A final, and very viable, option for dealing with those ranged pains is just lugging around a heavy weapon of some variety, such as a minigun or missile launcher, and introducing your problem to a heavy handed solution.

    It's worth noting that you can kill a suicider in V.A.T.S with melee before they explode, but you should probably be pretty sure you're going to kill them. Though I'm not going to dissuade you from flying by the seat of your pants on this one.

    The Locker Room

    We're looking at gear, not whipping each other with towels.

    First of all, what are we wearing to this game? There are a couple of options I narrowed it down to when it came to my attire, so I'll mention those, though of course you might prefer something altogether different.

    The first is Grognak's Costume. The great thing about this is it increases your melee weapon damage by 20%. Another great thing is that you can stroll around looking like Tarzan or, if you're a lady, er... Tarzanna? It also allows limited armor layering (leg and shoulder) which can be helpful offsetting the occasional smacks and bullets you're going to end up on the receiving end of. You'll find Grognak's Costume on the top floor of Hubris Comics, near the ladder to the roof. It's worth noting, if you're there early and have either decided to rearrange your points to access lockpicking to advanced or have taken Cait with you, that on the ground floor behind the sales registers is a locked case containing Grognak's Axe. It aint no bat, but its hidden AP cost reduction, added stagger and bleed damage make it a fairly worthy weapon nonetheless.

    The second, which is my preference although nowhere near as sexy, is of course the Baseball Uniform. Whilst it doesn't have the melee bonus of Grognak's, it can be modded with Ballistic Weave which Grognak's cannot, and it allows full armor to be layered over it for added protection.

    Of the available hats, I am sorry to tell you that the baseball cap cannot have Ballistic Weave applied, totally throwing off our aesthetic look and breaking our hearts into a thousand tiny pieces. But hey, we can ballistic weave a trilby, fedora, newsboy cap or green rag hat and pretend we're a fashion maverick and free thinker (all the while weeping over the loss of our baseball cap). Or we can just not protect our heads like mother-fuckin' badasses.

    So, why baseball bats over any other melee weapon? Well, in part because this is a build named after home runs, by a baseball fan, full of baseball references. But aside from that, because there are a couple of easy access and awesome bats that enhance how this build plays, in particular how it can tackle groups of enemies.

    This is my go-to bat and the reason I take Blacksmith in the base build, so we can upgrade that spiked to bladed (do note that you only need 2/3 blacksmith for your fully upgraded bat). The reduced action points cost means you can line up a series of hits, which, especially when you have 2/2 Blitz, means you can take out several enemies by switching between targets from stealth through V.A.T.S and proceeding to bash their heads clean off. It's also shockingly easy to get, being purchasable from Moe Cronin in the Diamond City market. You can also gab about baseball with him while you're there.

    Another option, should you find yourself ambling through the Jamaica Plain Town Hall Basement, is

    Now this is not really a patch on the awesome Rockville Slugger, but that doesn't mean it's not fun to play with. The effect stacks with the final Big Leagues perk effect, increasing your chance to knock 'em outta the park! This delightful bonus sends your enemies hurtling away from you, sometimes hitting walls, cars and other assorted debris and exploding them in a shower of death, demonstrating the true essence of hitting a homer in the Commonwealth.

    Roleplay: Can I?

    You'd think that drawing inspiration from someone like Homer Simpson might be too pop culture or silly to have any real RP attached, but there's actually a broad spectrum for it here. The build hardly touches ranged weapons, only using them as the ultimate fall-back option when there's no other safe way to continue. If you follow the concepts of bat and baseball uniform, there's potential for awakened athelete taking on the new world, hard core fan using the only weapons he had to hand, even parent who remembered how much they wanted to play ball with their son and is ready to reunite. You could be the all-star frozen in time, now ready to unleash those mighty arm muscles grandslamming synths into the next century!

    There's elements of crazy in the low intelligence style, which I built in to a cold rage that helped to reduce my acknowledgement of physical pain. You can play with or without chems and alchohol - alchohol, bufftats and jet are useful but not essential. You could easily work with The Railroad or BoS, you could even suit up in power armor if you wanted to given we're using melee weapons. Without a bit more charisma the Minute Men were less appealing to me personally.


    Final note: first build. Lurked for a while, tried out some other builds, enjoyed, thought I'd give it a go. The impression I've got from a lot of people trying melee builds is that they're difficult at higher level on harder difficulties, but they're usually tied up in endurance and unarmed perks, which I avoided. I've not run into problems myself, which could be because I'm lucky (unlikely), I'm awesome (it's not this) or maybe I've hit a nice balance with companions, armor and enemies. Whatever it is, I've had a lot of fun playing this and hopefully someone else might draw some inspiration from it too.

  • Member
    February 26, 2016

    Awesome work dude. While I´m not the biggest sports fan, I gotta say, this is awesome

  • Member
    February 26, 2016
    This was a really entertaining read. I was wondering if anyone would do a build like this. I'm glad it was you though because you've brought some interesting stuff to the table. I like the idea of the "unintelligent" athlete (or fan in Homer's specific case). I feel like alcohol and Idiot Savant do a lot for the personality aspect your going for here. Just something to note, I would try to make it a bit more concise. I've seen some people fall into this already with Fallout builds and idk why. For example, when you started mentioning Grognak's stuff. While it is certainly a valid suggestion, I think you could have left it out. It just doesn't feel true to the character you've built up. Like I said though, the character you have built up is great. You get this feel professional feel from outfit to the weapons to perks. You get this feeling that this person is a ball player and a damn good one at that. So good work! I'll be anxiously awaiting future builds :)
  • Member
    February 26, 2016

    For a first build...you knocked it out of the park.

    I'll show myself out.

  • Member
    February 27, 2016
    Liked for the Homer Simpson vibe you've got going on For Homer Roleplay I'd say chugging alcohol is a must!
  • Member
    March 5, 2016
    Good stuff. I did something similar, think I took charisma for the dogmeat help instead of luck, but same idea. Blitz and sneak with the Rockville slugger and equipment to increase your AP is incredible, you get enough swings to wipe out a room with your first vats attack. One thing you did that I wish I thought of was boozing. Such a simple idea, but adds so much to the character and the gameplay. Nice job
  • Member
    March 7, 2016

    I thought about charisma as well - specifically getting down to Party Boy (Woohoo?) given it would be so appropriate for the character. I think it could be worked out with less luck - the enhanced effects of alcohol replacing the need for so much crit reliance.

  • Member
    March 7, 2016

    I was hesitant adding the Grognak stuff to be honest - I agree that it seems like a side track, though it's great gear for the playstyle it's not fitting for the character, unless they're trying to hybridize their ball skills with pro wresting!