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Character Build: Atom's Ranger (FO4)

Tags: #Fallout 4 Build  #Character Build Chemist  #Character Build Sharpshooter  #Character Build Infiltrator  #Character Build Grenadier  #Character Build Survival  #AmoBuild 
  • Member
    March 19, 2017




    Ladies, gentlemen, dwellers of the vault of all shapes, sizes, and gender combinations, lend me your ears. (One heavily irradiated ghoul pulls off their ear and tosses it…) Errr thanks. Right then. I present to you my latest build: Atom’s Ranger. After the absolute love of my Atom’s Bulwark character, that uses a tanky/commando playthrough I have sadly not gone back to Far Harbor to bask in the glory and majesty that is the Nucleus and its quests, characters, and item rewards for far too long. Recently I began a new playthrough that utilized MaddMannatee’s Vagabond build which is a nomadic guerrilla fighter using sniper rifles, explosives, baseball bat, and more to stalk through the wilds of the Commonwealth and beyond. Now when I started I knew I wanted to play on survival mode which is something I have played around with but not fully dedicated a character to. As such I made a few changes to the perk/stats allowing a little better usage in deadly survival mode and set about my way wandering the wastes in the Vagabond’s style of play. It wasn't until I got to Far Harbor and reconnected with my beloved Children of Atom that my character took a sudden and unexpected change. More perks into different skills, and a shiny new set of gear, and even a small shift in playstyle created what I quickly began to call: Atom’s Ranger.


    Now Atom’s Ranger takes a lot of his inspiration from Madd’s Vagabond and I strongly, strongly suggest everyone check out his build and give it a try if you are at all interested in the playstyle. I also hope that you will give the Vagabond’s irradiated glowly cousin, Atom’s Ranger a try too. Atom’s Ranger takes all the hallmarks one associates with a “ranger” from a typical fantasy game such as the survival, self-reliance, nomadic lifestyle, or at least a series of small camps, affinity for nature, and protection of the balance of the wilds vs. civilization. Taking these aspects and rolling them into the Fallout world we get a sniper radium rifle wielding, ultra-light armor wearing lone wanderer who stalks the shadows in the fog to reach out and destroy all those who threaten his brothers and sisters of Atom with lethal and expert marksmanship, all the whole surviving, living, and thriving off the irradiated landscape that is the Wasteland.



    Strength- Starting with two points and later picking up the bobblehead for three unlocks Armorer for us, a vitally important perk for us to modify our chosen armor once we get to Far Harbor. We utilize no combat abilities here and carry weight in survival (which this build is designed to play in) is not worth the decrease of points elsewhere.


    Perception- One of our primary stats, we start with seven points and very early get our bobblehead for a total of seven points netting us the very important Sniper perk which I found to trigger very often, making it an invaluable perk. Also getting some of our main utility perks from this tree we will also have very accurate VATS shots which although we don’t rely upon, I used often to find enemies, or deal with sudden surprises, especially at close ranges such as ghoul swarms.


    Endurance- This is a big departure from where the build originally started and required a lot of perk points invested here to get it up to where it needed to be to get Ghoulish. Here is our main perk that really helps get that “blessed by Atom” feel we would want a Children of Atom build to have. Feel the warmth and embrace of Atom as rads are literally shed from you over time with the 4th rank unlock at the level 50 target point of the build. Using the special book in Sanctuary, the bobblehead, and a hard point gets us from the starting six points to the required nine.


    Charisma- Start with three points here and never worry about charisma again. The bobblehead is a lot of work to get and difficult on survival mode so I made this stat the max target to get Lone Wanderer which shores up a lot of weaknesses of the build, specifically the weaknesses of playing on survival mode. 


    Intelligence- While nine points would be nice to get Nuclear Physicist to buff up our primary rifle to full effect would be nice, it is just too steep an investment and we have to settle for a start of six points with a bobblehead investment for seven getting us Gun Nut, Chemist, and Science. All of which are very important to modifying our weapons and keeping us going, killing the strongest and deadliest of enemies on survival mode.


    Agility- Sneak and Mister Sandman, two skills extremely important for any sniper character means a start of three points with the bobblehead pick up means we will be doing great here. The fact that the bobblehead for agility is hard to get early game is offset by the fact that few to no silencers can be found or made in game until at least mid-tier.


    Luck- Nothing here, although picking up the bobblehead unlocks access to Scrounger if you so choose to supplement. This can be really helpful, especially on survival mode, however the .45 ammo that we use for the radium rifle is extremely common on enemies and vendors and high carry weight means you will often not want to carry stacks of thousands of rounds anyway.



    Combat Perks:

    Ranged- Rifleman, Sniper, Mister Sandman, Gun Nut- Here we have our pure damage abilities (plus Lone Wanderer) that allows us to do terrifying amounts of damage from ranged with our silenced rifle. Sneak attack head shots will destroy almost any legendary enemy in one shot and even if they survive you have a semi-automatic rifle and can put two, three rounds in them in a second or two. Sniper’s ability to drop targets is also extremely good and I found triggers often especially with our chosen gun, more on that later.


    Additional- Demolitions Expert, Chemist, Chem Resistant- Enemies are deadly on survival mode, and tough and smart to boot, especially early game. A good stack of grenades and mines goes a long way to keeping you alive and well protected. In this same theme, chems are very important to staying alive, and while they make you very thirsty on survival mode you can put out a lot of shots with a long use of jet while dodging out of the way of enemy attacks. Chems are very important to killing things like Mirelurk Queens, Deathclaws, and Behemoths early to mid, even late game. Chemist also allows you to craft things like antibiotics which are very important to staying healthy on survival.


    Defensive Skills- Armorer, Ghoulish, Science- Our chosen armor will require a lot of perks to modify properly, but I assure you it is worth it in the end. Keeping Science and Armorer up to date while leveling also means you have access to the best modifications meaning you have a very good chance of staying alive, and keeping your limited carry weight managed with things like pocketed mods. Ghoulish as mentioned above is my go-to Children of Atom perk, especially with Nuka-World DLC’s fourth rank which allows rads to be healed over time. This is wonderful for our character to navigate places like Far Harbor and the Glowing Sea with nothing other than the occasional RadX for heavily irradiated spots.


    Utility- Locksmith, Aquaboy, Lone Wanderer, Sneak- Our final perks give us a lot of great utility. Lone Wanderer is amazing as always and the extra damage, damage protection, and most of all carry weight is a god-send to us on survival mode. Followers also don’t fit the build well and don’t sneak well either. Locksmith gets us into lots of hidden locations and allows us to scavenge the best of resources. A perk in Aquaboy is very important for the ranger aspect of things allowing us to navigate the terrain without concern and really, really important on survival, as well as in places in Far Harbor. Last but not least, what kind of sniper ranger would we be if we didn’t have some good sneak skills. Mines are the bane of your existence on survival mode and the ability to not set them off all the time cannot be overstated enough.


    Gameplay and Roleplay

    *Some spoilers below*

    Character Background and Motivations:


    Obviously this build is really dependent on Far Harbor for the look of all the weapons and armor detailed below and in all the pictures above and below. That said, you technically can make the build work with just the base game. While you might not look like my Atom’s Ranger, with the same perks and following the gameplay and roleplay options, with some suitable weapons (cough Overseer’s Guardian) and armor replacements, you too can get your own Children of Atom build.


    At the core of the build is the character's faith. The Children of Atom are a religious...cult for lack of a better term in the Fallout world. The Church of the Children of Atom as it is known by its full name, believes that within every atomic mass there is an entire universe and that when said mass is split new universes are created. Because of this the Great War, when the bombs fell and the vaults were sealed, was actually a positive, creative moment and is holy to the Children. These events left the radiation that the CoA call “The Glow” which they see as the embodiment of Atom. Their ultimate goal in life is known as Division. Division is the act of splitting the atoms and thus creating universes. In the common vernacular, Division is basically the idea that they want to die in a nuclear blast and thus convert their lifeforce over to Atom so that new universes may spawn.


    Now how exactly does your character, whose whole world was robbed by the bombs come over to see such an event as a positive one? This is likely the most important motivational point of the build and relates to the in-game backstory of the player character. You start pre-war, you enter Vault 111, you are cryogenically frozen, your spouse is murdered, and your child is taken while you are released to the wasteland. Going through such a thing is -traumatic-, very, very, very traumatic. How does one cope with such an event and such tragedy? Well in the real world in times of intense stress and unexplained lose, many often turn to religion for answers to those great “why” questions. Atom’s Ranger is no different. After wandering the Commonwealth lost and confused they will ultimately stumble on the CoA either via the Far Harbor quest, or in the Glowing Sea. It is here that this desperate soul finds some kernel of positivity among the bleak blackness that once was their heart. It was Atom’s will that day that birthed a million universes, each one greater than the one he or she once knew. It was not the bombs that took his life, it was a man. He will fall into the Church’s teachings and find some measure of small comfort to what has happened. The impact of the perks in which you have chosen will only reassure him as radiation has peculiar effects upon him over others.


    Questing and the Two-Fold Path


    Now from a gameplay perspective this means a wandering playthrough. You don’t have the Lone Wanderer perk by accident! Travel the Commonwealth but don’t stay anywhere long. Don’t take up residence, don’t befriend many people, keep moving and feel free to go wherever you want. Perhaps you have some good items you want to use or want to go get your bobbleheads early. Whatever side quest you enjoy, whatever building looks interesting go there and get some levels under your belt. Be a lost soul. While I did say above you could go through the base game with the build it really is built for Far Harbor and it is at this time I would suggest going there. This is where you will meet your chosen faction and adopt them as your new family. Do all of the quests for the CoA and complete the ending of Far Harbor under one of the two paths detailed below. It is here that you will have some options as you return to the Commonwealth with your new found family, and your chosen weapons and armor and it is really up to you which main faction you decide to go with for the main quest line, some suggestions can be found below as well.


    Path of the Warden:


    Despite everything that has happened to you, in your heart you desire peace. High Confessor Tektus just preaches war, war, war. You wish to live in peace with your fellow man….as long as they do not threaten the faithful of Atom. You are generally good, or at least neutral in morality. You can help those you discover and make contacts throughout your game but you are a loner and never forget that. You might have a family at the Nucleus….but you really have no friends anywhere. To the goal of finding peace, despite your misgivings, you are willing to follow through with DiMa’s plan to replace Tektus with a synth copy that will negotiate a peace treaty with the residents of Far Harbor. What use is one dock to Atom when he has the whole island anyway? Let the fishermen live in peace as long as they will let you and your brothers and sisters live in peace too. Do all the quests for Far Harbor, help the synths at Acadia, and choose some of the kinder options for the Children of Atom quests (such as trying to save Sister Gwyneth, always keep some berry mentats on you!).


    In the end, although you may have to live with some lies, you find your world relatively at peace. Spend the rest of your time protecting the shrines to Atom around Far Harbor, hunting down the crawlers, ghouls, gulpers, and other terrors of the fog that threaten the people of Far Harbor and work to keep the wrath of nature in check. This balance between civilization and the wild is a delicate one but you strive for it nevertheless. Back in the Commonwealth you likely identify better with the Minutemen or the Railroad who also seeks to find peace, and free their own people from oppression. While you are not friends with them, and don’t consider any of them to be your family, you will work for them seeking to find that balance in the Commonwealth and bring the Institute to heel for their mismanagement and blatant manipulation of the world around them. The Railroad’s sneaky, guerrilla warfare methods also resonate with you and you find solace in their secretive ways.


    Path of the Harbinger


    War, war never changes. All around you there is proof of this sentiment you have long heard echoing in the back of your mind. The blood of Atom’s chosen stains the soil of the wasteland, mingling with the blood of a thousand and one other groups, individuals, and creatures of the world. Strength is required for survival, willpower too. Only those willing to do what is necessary to secure their future will survive in this post-apocalyptic world. You are a Darwinist in the worst possible sense. You are not a kind person and you will take what you can, when you can, if you can to survive. Entities like the Minutemen, or even the Railroad hold little to no influence over you and their misguided beliefs in the good of humanity is laughable to you. You are the harbinger of Atom’s judgement and you will bring his wrath down on those around you in a fiery hailstorm of irradiated justice. You burn Far Harbor to the ground, shutting down their defences, and letting the island claim them in atomic retribution. And if you so choose, you will destroy Acadia and its manipulating synth leader as well. You will secure the Island for Atom’s people and destroy anyone and everything that threatens your family.


    Back in the Commonwealth the only organizations you can stomach are those who understand what war really is. The Brotherhood of Steel, while a bunch of tin-coated idiots are tough, strong, and willing to do what is necessary to further their own goals. You can respect that. Likewise, the Institute strikes from the shadows, appearing from nowhere to take what they want, where they want, how they want. You can respect that too. Pick whichever one you can respect more and go to war. Teach the wastelanders the true meaning of Atom’s judgement and be the herald to a new era. Go to Nuka-World if you so choose too. Bend these so-called raiders to your will and use them to subjugate the Commonwealth to prepare for Atom’s arrival. Only through Division can the wasteland truly be freed from the peace of the Void.


    Settlement Caches, Companions and Ranging


    Now every good ranger knows the territory they work in like the back of their hand. They are intimately familiar with every rock, tree, and in the case of Fallout, burned out husk of a building ruin they see. Explore the world around you. There are many interesting and unique locations in Fallout and one doesn’t even need to enter an interior cell to enjoy many wonders Bethesda has created for us. Outside is where Atom’s Ranger belongs anyway. Playing on survival mode will mean that beds are incredibly important and learning where hidden camps are (of which there are many) and where you can settle down in relative safety for a few hours rest and resupply with fresh food and water will be of vital importance. Additionally, as your carry weight is limited you will need to find places to resupply and note all the dispersed vendors you can (of which again there are lots of adventurers, scavengers, and other small-time vendors inhabiting the camps of the wasteland) sell your scavenged gear and goods to.


    I found using the Nucleus as a home base was great, especially with all the crafting benches. There are no full beds in the location however, making sleeping troublesome, but there are full beds in the bunkroom in the Command Center upstairs where you find DiMa’s memories. I utilized this spot and as it seems to never respawn can be a great “home base” when you are not out ranging. Feel free to use the settlement system in the game to create supply locations and scrap caches that you can utilize in the future. But be sure not to build up “settlements”. Scavenge whatever resources presently exist at a location and build a small sheltered camp with a bed, some storage, and if able, a crafting bench or two. Survival mode is meant to be tough! Bonus points if you can collect all sorts of radiation related objects like nuclear material, irradiated blood, etc. and store them in and around your camps. Or perhaps you just like to slip in some irradiated items into the storage of the citizens of the Commonwealth, subtling spreading Atom’s holy glow! Also, while I like the idea of keeping any and all decorations for these camps to an absolute bare minimum, I do like the idea of using trophies like the trophy heads, or just deathclaw hands, etc. to decorate using the “trophies” of your character’s kills.


    Now followers are definitely something I would avoid, and I would suggest you use them as seldom as possible. The game makes you take on some followers for short periods of time but at the end of the day Atom’s Ranger works alone. If you truly feel like you want some companionship in the wasteland Dogmeat is your best bet as he has the highest stealth of any companion, and doesn’t interfere with your Lone Wanderer perk which is also very important to the build and surviving on survival mode.






    Traditionally a ranger’s most valuable and prized part of his gear is his bow. Well in this case it is his rifle. For Atom’s Ranger nothing could be a more fitting weapon for him than a radium rifle. Now most of you familiar with the game, and the Far Harbor DLC specifically might assume I am going to suggest the Kiloton Radium Rifle here, you would be mistaken. While we do have the Demolitions Expert perk which buff’s the legendary effect of the Kiloton Rifle I did some testing with the gun and found that the explosive effect on survival mode is as deadly to you as your enemies. The first time you hit a charging ghoul at close range and half your health gets taken away from the resulting close range explosion you will know what I mean. Sadly this amazing rifle is better off in the hands of someone like Atom’s Bulwark that can truly use this weapon to full effect. Instead I would suggest farming the legendary enemies of Far Harbor for a different legendary effect. The two I would suggest looking for most would be a legendary double damage at full health, or a two-shot variant. I was lucky to find a legendary two-shot (same effect as the Overseer’s Guardian which up to Far Harbor I would highly suggest as one of the best base game weapons for the Ranger to get and use, especially since you can get it very early) radium rifle on one of the first enemies I killed. Either of these two effects are wonderful for us and stack great with our sneak attack perks and things like Sniper where the two shot variant actually doubles our chances of getting a knockdown. Mod this weapon out for high semi-automatic damage, a silencer when able, full stock, nice scope, and a quick reload magazine and you will have a powerful offensive tool. While there might be better “sniper” rifles in the game with things like legendary .50 caliber rifles, again the Overseer’s Guardian, and other .308 round rifles, I think this gun fits the build best and the fact that it uses .45 ammo cannot be underappreciated in survival which is a very common, cheap, and relatively light ammunition type.




    To supplement our rifle we also should carry an array of mines and grenades. Survival mode is all about being smart in combat and charging into a fortified position is a quick way to reload to the last time you slept. Our upgraded explosives damage works great with chucking fragmentation grenades into hordes of enemies, or placing mines on chokepoints or stairways leading to our sniper’s vantage points. Early game this is


    extremely important until we start stacking a lot of gun damage for taking down big legendary enemies.



    Managing carry weight is vitally important to survival mode, and without things like Local Leader, and settlements in general, keeping stocked up, while also keeping mobile can be a challenge, especially until you unlock more carry weight with Lone Wanderer. You will want to keep light and quick with things like leather armor, especially any legendary variants you can find. I was lucky enough to find a chameleon effect leather arm early which compliments the sniper playstyle wonderfully. Aesthetically I highly suggest you check out MaddMannatee’s Vagabond build again because he captures that “wasteland wanderer” look better than almost any other build I have seen and again that build was the basis from which Atom’s Ranger was developed.


    When we get to Far Harbor though, we finally get that gear that you can see looks so amazing and great in all of the pictures on this build page. When you first get to the Nucleus one of the first things you should do is buy a set of Zealot’s Marine Armor from Brother Kane. This is the lower tier of marine armor in the game and has those great Children of Atom designs on it that instantly make you stand out for your chosen faction. Now the big problem with this armor is that it is -heavy- and when you eventually get rank 4 in Armorer and Science, the upgraded Inquisitor variant is even heavier. Here is where we need all our armor perks with being able to mod for the ultra-light variant. This takes a HUGE amount of the weight off and gives us wonderful AP regen which is great for sprinting, VATS, etc. The armor look I think is worth the extra weight, and just as importantly the defensives the armor gives you is extremely high and better than lower tier power armors even. This gives you a massive boost in survivability.


    Clothing and head pieces wise you want to find yourself a Hunter’s Hood and Hunter’s Pelt Outfit from the various trappers that inhabit the Island. The Hunter’s Hood specifically matches so well and gives that real ranger vibe. Now I use the Armorsmith mod for my Fallout which makes the clothing and armor system in the game work more realistically and allows you to wear a lot more clothing and outfits pieces with armor. This includes the Hunter’s Pelt Outfit which is a wonderful ranger-style outfit on its own with maritime themed pieces, backpack, bedroll, and hanging pelts. While there is some minor clipping I think the look is amazing and really set me on track to do the build to begin with. If you don’t have this mod available and can’t wear this outfit with the armor, things like the military fatigues, trapper leathers, and gunner outfits can all work well. Grab a decent pair of goggles (I liked the look of the road goggles best) and you are ready to go ranging!




    And with that I think that about wraps it up. I want to thank all of you who have made it this far. I know my builds are often rather long winded but I always feel there is so much information and thoughts I have about my creations that I want to put out there to share with the community. I wanted to give one last thanks to MaddMannatee for his Vagabond build, without which I would not have started my playthrough that resulted in the creation of Atom’s Ranger. I hope that you all enjoyed reading, and looking at the amazing pictures of this awesome looking character. I bid you all a good morning, good afternoon, and good evening wherever you might be when you read this and hope that your own playthroughs find you joining the ranks of Atom’s chosen people!


  • Member
    March 19, 2017

    All done, enjoy everyone!!!!!

  • Member
    March 19, 2017

    woohooo! Still a bit more readin to do but wanted drop a like as I was excited to see this pop up. Looks stunning! I love how you're using influences of existing builds...making it feel a little more like the skyrim CB group now that we have so many. I also appreciate the depth you provide with "paths." The high Endurance build is a rarity around here (one I'm working on too!) and I think you nailed it with the RAD focus 

    Good stuff.

  • Member
    March 19, 2017
    Thanks Motty!
  • Member
    March 21, 2017

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's HERE! Oh this looks fantastic. Literally 10000x cooler than my head was even thinking when you first said the idea, and I haven't even read it yet. You better believe I'm reading this all tomorrow when I have the time to enjoy every irradiated word of it. Bless you Amornar

  • Member
    March 21, 2017
    Cheers mate!
  • Member
    March 22, 2017

    Fantastic. Bloody fantastic Armornar. Rangers are easily my favorite kind of character whether it be fantasy, sci-fi, or post apocalyptic; and you captured it perfectly for Fallout. I also love how you tailored it for Survival mode, I've yet to do a dedicated playthrough for it since I kept rage quitting back when I first tried XD but this might push me to do so. I love the aesthetics, feel, and playstyle of this. Easily one of my top 3 favorite Fallout builds. Keep up the great work :) Thanks for the shoutout too :p  (insert psychotic/hyper-religious Atom quote here)

  • Member
    March 22, 2017
    lol thanks Madd, glad you enjoyed. I will maintain full transparency and admit my survival mode is modded to be able to quick save but nothing else affecting the challenges you face. So it is defiantly. It easy esp at lower levels but really felt very fresh playing through and a ton of fun. My two Atom builds are easily my favorites and have some of the best aesetics on the game I feel.
  • Member
    March 22, 2017

    Good, finally found the time to read it. Ever since I set foot into Far Harbor, came into contact with the radioactive fog and it occult mother, I've been drawn to builds like this one. What can I say more than congratulations on this awesome build and here's to many more from you! The armor combo is sweet, that hood is awesome. I've worn it so many times on my main character. Maybe add it to our catalogue when you get the time. :D

  • Member
    March 22, 2017
    Thank you so much Noodles! Very kind words. I am always very happy to share my creations and have them so warmly received by the community. I will have to take some time and post some outfits soon.