The alternate name for this article would be “The cheater’s complete cheat guide to cheating at Fallout 4”. Appropriately, this article contains spoilers and it will explore a number of “cheats” or “glitches” which players can leverage in the unpatched version of Fallout 4. If you haven’t played through to at least a few faction quests and don’t want to know anything about the story then stop reading now (but come back later!). If you would rather not use glitches to play the game then this isn’t the article for you. Also, it’s aimed mainly at console players since PC players have command line tools for manipulating the game. But for everyone else… let’s begin!
With the imminent arrival of Bethesda’s first DLC for Fallout 4, “Automatron”, this is probably our last opportunity to fully harness the power of the glitch in creating some “seed” characters we can continue to play with after we’ve patched our game. If you’d like to be ready for the Mechanist and have the best builds for the upcoming Automatron DLC then this is the guide for you. Odds are that Bethesda will require the latest patches in order to run the DLCs; makes sense because they’ll need to have addressed the many… many… non-fun glitches and put in the framework for the new content which probably wasn’t fully thought out when the base game shipped.
Prepare Your System
First off, you’ll need to uninstall your game and any patches if you’ve already patched it. You won’t lose saved games but you might want to save those onto a USB drive anyway just to be safe. There are many articles on doing those two things depending on which console you’re on so I won’t go into detail here.
Next, block your system from accessing the Internet via your Wi-Fi connection. You’ll need to play offline to prevent the system from applying patches.
Once you’ve done that you can reinstall your game from disk. Now with a nice fresh un-patched version you can create however many characters using the following guide and then use them post-DLC patching. If you want to create both male and female characters then you’ll need to do the initial setup and save twice, once for each sex.
Create A Starting Save
Start the game and create your character before the bombs drop. This fixes their sex so you do need to do it twice if you want both. When you get your Pip Boy, before you walk down the stairs to the Vault exit, save the game. This will be the save you go back to each time you want to create another character. Saves you from having to play through everything up to that point again.
Now that you’ve saved get on the elevator and you’ll see you have another chance to change how you look, your SPECIAL scores, and your name. FYI, the only score that matters is your Intelligence, which should be set to “1”. No really. When you exit the Vault do a new save for this character.
Maxing your SPECIAL scores: Part One
When you exit the Vault you need to scrounge everything you can from there to Sanctuary. Ignore Codsworth and head out of Sanctuary to the Red Rocket gas station. Grab Dogmeat and activate the Workbench there. Scrap everything and put it in the workbench. Head back to Sanctuary.
Activate the workbench at Sanctuary and say hi to Codsworth. When he goes off to search scrap everything around your old home and Hell, the rest of the neighborhood too. Store furniture you want. There’s a hidden bunker with gold bars you can loot behind one of the homes.
Tip: Scrap all the safes to quickly add their contents to your workbench without using bobby pins.
Grab the magazine from your home kitchen counter. Use the You’re Special book under Shaun’s changing table for anything BUT another Intelligence point.
Go out to the closest house pad you cleared. Drop the Special book at one corner. Command Dogmeat to Go to the opposite corner. Crouch. Back up with your cursor on the book til it says for Dogmeat to get it, then tweak it forward til it’s the normal pickup command. Find the place where you can easily move from one to the other. Select the option for Dogmeat to get it. Then choose the other one but don’t click on it yet. Wait til the dog stops in front of you and is just about to bend down to grab the book. Grab it first. If it works it will make the pickup sound but his mouth will be empty. He’ll drop the book and you’ll also have a copy in your inventory. Now, pick up his and drop them both. The second from the right will now be active and allow you to choose another Special point.
Repeat. You always have to drop all the books in your inventory, but you don’t need to pick them all up, just the second from the right (almost always). I like to go from one corner to the next and just leave extras lying there. Or you can be neat about it and create a floor safe to put some of the extras in so that you’re not dropping 30+ by the end. Keep doing this til you’ve maxed all your Special scores except Intelligence.
Drumlin Diner: Get Your First Weapon
Now you’re ready to leave Sanctuary. Grab all the good stuff from the Workbench like bullets and head to Concord. It’ll be marked on your map. Come in down the main road. You’ll see a church steeple dead ahead in the distance. At the first fork head left.
Go left around the blue car and down the street on the left of the one where you’ll see the raiders laying siege to the Museum of History. Head down that street and not the one leading to the fight with Preston. We’re ignoring him for now. Once you get almost to the end, on your right, there will a door with lit candles in front of it. That’s the Concord Speakeasy.
Go in there and loot what you can, and then go upstairs to the bathroom. If you’ve leveled up to 2 use your first point to get Lockpick so you can loot the safe. Grab the two Daytripper bottles in the bathroom. One in the sink, and one under. You need these for latter. Exit back out the way you came and sneak out of town.
Now here is where our methods might differ. I’m interested in getting as many X-01 suits of power armor later as possible. So the method I’ll describe puts some extra weight on NOT discovering much or going hardly anywhere at first. Feel free to adjust according to your own goals.
I like to go to Red Rocket and try to build a small generator and settlement beacon. I’m usually missing something so tag what you need and head back to Sanctuary to grab it. Build a generator and beacon there while you’re at it. Plant whatever crops you have to start stockpiling planting material.
Head back to Red Rocket and set up your beacon. Now head East to the Drumlin Diner. Try not to discover anything while going there. If you have to then I suggest you err on the side of the Excavations location and steer clear of the Robot Disposal site or satellite dishes to the North.
With your insane 10 Charisma and 10 Perception you can easily talk Trudy into giving you 200 caps to off the scumbag Wolfgang. Kill him and his henchwoman and strip ’em for armor and bullets. Now to do your first Merchant Glitch.
Merchant /Infinite Caps Glitch
Choose to barter with Trudy. Pick the .38 ammo (A few merchants will have different ammo types. Usually it will be .38, .308, shotgun, .45, or .5mm that work for the trick) and buy it all so that it goes to your side of the open sales window, but don’t finish the deal. Now sell her back 1 of that ammo back. Then the rest. Now you have a phantom round in your inventory. Sell it to her till she has twice as many rounds as she started with.
Tip: If the merchant has a large amount of the ammo type then sell them about 15 phantom rounds and then buy their .38 rounds again, and then sell them all of yours again. It will leave a larger number of phantom rounds in your inventory so you can sell the merchant more at a time. Really helps when the merchant has 200+ of something.
Once she has double the rounds buy them again and again and it will multiply exponentially the amount of caps she owes you. Do it till it’s enough to wipe her out and all her extra caps. Now go shopping. You want any Shipments, any ammo, anything you can plant, Dirty Wastelander, Fury, Daddy-O, Daytripper, better armor, lockpicks, most meds, and her rare sword General Chao’s Revenge. If you want you can use the stools in the diner to wait in 48 hour chunks and grind away at collecting ammo and chems. But Diamond City is generally better for farming.
You may have levelled up at this point, maybe even twice. So let’s talk about priorities for those precious points:
- Idiot Savant — First one you want since it will triple your experience occasionally because you’re so stupid.
- Aquagirl/boy — Second one you want so that you can use the water to get to places without getting near anything important like power armor spawn locations or things that might kill you. Despite your godlike Special scores and sweet-ass sword you’re pretty weak still.
- Lockpick — You need this at Diamond City and it helps maximize your looting.
- Penetrator — You have to get this before you reach Saugus. Makes you a power armor killing machine.
- Strong Back — You’ll need this one maxed out so that you can carry supplies from Diamond City and elsewhere to your main settlement.
This sword will see you through til the next rare weapon you’re off to collect. Put on your better armor and do a quicksave.
Cricket: Spray & Pray
Head mostly due South. Avoid everything. Get to the water. With Aquagirl you can swim without radiation poisoning so head out to the middle and East til you can climb up on the South shore. Without it just stay on the North shore and swim across when you can see a place to climb out of the water on the South side. You’re heading for Vault 81, which is basically dead South. You’ll see the Vault symbol on your map guide.
Outside of the entrance for the vault is a junky area with abandoned cars a fire and some chairs. If the trader Cricket isn’t there yet then sit and wait in 10 hour chunks til she shows up. Use your new evil powers to “buy” all her good stuff and most especially “Spray and Pray” her uber machine gun.
At this point you’ll have almost 900 caps and two legendary weapons. Generally also a full set of leather armor too.
Visiting Vault 81
Quicksave and enter Vault 81. The unpatched game will glitch if you try to enter without handing over 3 fusion cores. So use the ones you just got from Cricket to gain entry. Say “hey” to Gwen and take the elevator down and when you first get off of it head to your right and the first door is the merchant Alexis. If you can avoid Austin and taking his tour it’ll save you time. But if he catches you then take the tour. From Alexis you want to get the regular list of all her stuff and especially the legendary armor and the Overseer’s Guardian rifle.
Alexis also carries Shipments of Circuitry, Ballistic Fiber, Fiber Optics, Oil, and Nuclear Material. You can get the last one if you just keep waiting on the bench outside her shop for 48 hours between tries. It’s the only merchant who has it and you’ll need one for later. It’s pretty easy farming here though so usually it’s worth doing until you get the nuclear material. You’ll get a bunch of caps, fusion cores, and ammo while you’re at it.
Buying an Apartment in Diamond City
Head on out. From the gate to the scrap area head mostly east towards the buildings along the Chestnut Hillock Resevoir. Take the boardwalk area heading right and after telling Ashes to go home (the missing cat). Past the skeleton in the wheelchair in the water, and go up to the first point where you can cut left/east through the buildings. Now if you head mostly straight/East you’ll hit the signs to Diamond City.
Try to stay hidden to get the drop on the Super Mutants here. There’s one suicider for sure if you take the wrong alley. Quicksave frequently so you can figure out a safe path. You should be around level 4 at this point and have had 3 points to spend.
Enter Diamond City. Rob every merchant blind of the things we’re looking for, especially shipments. Don’t miss the Chem dealer, the doctor, or the clothing store. If it’s after hours then wait at the cafe til 10 am. Almost every stall can net you caps and if they don’t have enough .38 ammo for the trick to work (at least 7 rounds) you can wait 48 hours to reset them. I actually recommend hitting them all and then waiting and hitting them again. Now you have enough caps to visit the Mayor’s office. You need over 2,000.
See the secretary and buy the property in Diamond City. Yay an apartment! Only Level 5 and already a land owner. Rob the Mayor’s safe in his office. Make sure to sneak when you do it. Take it all.
Head to your new home and scrap everything but the two crates. Use one to store all your shipments and the other to store everything in the Workbench. Take the copper shipments with you. Use the nice long flat floor to duplicate your Copper shipments so you have at least 4, I like 10 of them myself. Dupe the rare sword and guns while you’re at it. You may want to fast travel back to Sanctuary and dump a couple loads of items. If Trashcan Carla is there you can get all her things and the couple shipments she carries and take them back to Diamond City. You’ll later use that location for all your shipment duplication. But until you can fast travel while encumbered you’ll need to duplicate your Copper shipments at your settlement.
Tip: Fallon’s Basement requires you to use Shotgun Shells as the ammo type for the Merchant Glitch. Make sure to either drop your Shotgun Shells or give them to a companion before you do the trick. You lose all of the ammo type from your inventory when you do the trick.
Myrna, Sun, and Solomon can have Daddy-O, Dirty Wastelander, Fury, and Daytripper if you visit them with the difficulty set at “Survivor”. If you luck out and get them in town it saves you a lot of running around later, especially for Fury.
Tip: You can score a ton of Mutfruit and Tatos in Diamond City that you can plant in your early settlements.
Bunker Hill Merchants
Head North for the Charles River. Swim up river to Bunker Hill. Hit all the traders there and take all their legendary items and good stuff. Hit them twice for shipments. If the armor seller isn’t there then make sure to circle back later to find him or wait on one of the stools. You may find Carla here, at Sanctuary, or outside the Diner.
The Atom Cats
Now that you’ve got some decent armor make sure to upgrade everything you’re wearing and let’s head back out along the river. Don’t get in until you walk past the sailing ship.
On the other side of it you can get in and head South sticking to closer to the Eastern shore side. It’s ok if you discover the Airport. You’re heading for the Castle if you want to have fun and liberate it before you ever meet Preston. Seriously, you can empty it out, put up a beacon, populate it, and get it all rebuilt before you meet him. There is a glitch though. If you empty it before he gives you the mission then there will be empty Mirelurk nests all over that you can’t build on. Depending on how much world building you want to do that could be a major annoyance. Only discovering it won’t make it glitch though, just emptying it out.
If not, then head over to Spectacle Island. You’re looking for a boat with a wire going to it from shore. In the boat is a circuit breaker you need to flip. Then tear ass up the hill following the wire to the metal shed with another switch. Flip it before the horde of Mirelurks kill you. Turn on the workbench and now you can come back here anytime for a pretty sweet settlement. It’s especially good for farming purified water.
Swim to the Atom Cats garage, just aim for the Warwick Homestead, which is on the peninsula just East of the one with the Atom Cats garage. Use the vendor glitch with them to get your first full suit of T-60 power armor and a bunch of sweet extras. Do their mission with Warwick if you want. If you talk to those settlers you can get a mission and have another settlement. Steal all their crops to plant later either way.
Fast travel back to the USS Constitution (boat in the building). Swim Northeast and under the bridge up toward Reeb Marina and the Revere Satellite Array. Travel between them and swim North along the coastline, keeping your distance from Finch Farm and up to just West of Hub City Auto Wreckers. Avoid it and go ashore on the West tip and head Northwest to Saugus.
Clear the courtyard area at Saugus Ironworks and kill your way through to the main bad guy. He’s in the Blast Furnace room. Quick save before entering through the double doors by the power armor frame. With your 10 charisma you’ll easily convince Daniel to do the right thing or not. The important thing is to use the Observer’s rifle and your Penetrator perk to shoot the power core out of the boss’ armor from the front. It’s awesome. Your perception should be high enough to target his core twice and chest shots to two of his lieutenants. Kill everyone but Daniel unless you want to. Get the power armor, take the pieces off his body after he got out of it, grab the legendary sword, and then get the Picket Fences magazine that’s up on the catwalk against the wall under a crate where the boss was standing when you entered the room. Also the Explosives Bobblehead against the same wall up at eye level.
Don’t visit Finch Farm. Fast travel back to Sanctuary. Now you have the ability to make copper statues and the shipments for Copper. You’ll need to use the Workbench shipments glitch.
Empty your workbench contents into a crate. Empty all your Junk into the same crate. Put the copper shipments in your inventory. Quicksave. You can dupe more than the copper if you want to, just don’t have more than 5 types of shipments in your inventory at once. Open the transfer window. Now do “store all junk” and immediately hit the button for “take all” from the workstation. You need to do it quick so that you take advantage of the system lag time in processing the two different requests. If you get it down you keep hitting the buttons and you’ll see the inventory going up for the amount of copper in your inventory. Lots of good videos online for this trick. With 10 shipments you should have 30,000 copper in a few minutes. You’ll likely do this 2–3 times more to level up all the way to 70. For now, take the shipments back out of your inventory and put them in a separate crate but leave the copper in your Workbench. You can put back the rest of its contents now too. Next time you do this you’ll do it at your Home Base in Diamond City.
Once you have 20k or so Copper you’re ready to build statues. Use the road in Sanctuary and just start making baseball guy statues as fast as you can in two long lines from your house to the bridge. First time you’ll go up 8 levels in two rows with the Idiot Savant perk. At level 11 you want level 2 of the Idiot Savant perk which makes it 5x randomly. Level up to at least level 50.
Maxing your SPECIAL Scores: Round Two
The trick to getting the highest SPECIAL scores you can is to use 3 chems and 1 drink to lower some of your stats. If you lower a stat and then use the You’re Special book dupe trick to raise it again when the chem wears off you’ll have a “naturally” higher score. Do all of these but Dirty Wastelander as early as you want.
- Dirty Wastelander — Lowers your Intelligence by 2. You can make it yourself at a cooking station. Or find it at some of the merchants. This one you don’t want to use until you’re done levelling up, preferably. If you keep your Intelligence at 1 you’ll get a ton of extra experience from the Idiot Savant perk.
- Daddy-O — Lowers your Charisma by 2 points
- Daytripper — You can pretty easily end up with 4 of these early on. There are two in a Chem cooking shack behind the hill where vault 81 is, plus the two you can get in Concord. It lowers your Strength by 2.
- Fury — This is the “good” one. It lowers your Perception by 5. If you use the trick before you get the Perception Bobblehead in the Museum of History then you’ll have a natural Perception score of 16. Makes it hard to miss in VATS. But the only way to get it if you aren’t lucky enough to find one is to make it, and the only way to make it is with one point in the Chemist perk. To unlock the perk you need an Intelligence of 7, which will kill the usefulness of Idiot Savant. So, you wait til Level 50 or 60 and then say the Hell with it and raise your Intelligence to 10 and use Dirty Wastelander and Fury.
Tip: Duplicate all of these with the Dogmeat trick so you can have another shot at them if you need it. It’s easy to forget about an item you have active that changes your scores and throws off the trick. Also, a couple of them only last for minutes and if the Dogmeat trick doesn’t run smooth you’ll want to try again.
Change the Build Cap
One irritation with using the statue trick is that you can’t create two rows of equal length. You run out of building space. There’s another glitch that can let you reset that limit. But to use it you’ll need some Gamma Guns. If you happen to get one before this point, especially at a vendor, just use the dogmeat trick to make 20 of them and skip to the end of this section. But if not, at level 50 you can risk travelling to Crater House and Kingsport Lighthouse. This is where you’ll find a bunch of those crazy Children of Atom zealots. Kill them, take their gamma guns.
Head back to Home Base and dogmeat dupe the guns up to 20. Now go back to Sanctuary. Build statues til you hit the cap. Go up to the open pad where you did the SPECIAL book trick. Drop all 20 guns. You may need to drop them one at a time so they don’t drop as a stack. Go into Workshop mode. Pick them up and store them in your Workbench. You’ll see the bar reduce. 3–4 times of this will reduce it to zero. But halfway is enough. Now you can build more statues so you have longer rows. This trick also lets you build MUCH larger settlements and to do serious purified water farming.
Build An Inventory of Supplies
At level 70 you can safely start to move around. Any power armor you find that is level dependent will be an X-01. If you know you’re close to one try switching the difficulty to Survivor, but they’ll all level up as high as they can. So you can visit Finch Farm to get shipments of Concrete (Connie Abernathy has it too but sometimes she dies). You can discover Goodneighbor and get the shipments from the merchants there. Build up the settlements you already have as far as you like and then bank all the materials you think you’ll want for latter. You can also sell/trade with them so make lots of Gold. Dupe guns or melee weapons for your settlers. Even dupe outfits for them.
Farming Purified Water
Once you do update and patch your game you’ll want a way for the caps to keep rolling in. You should have a bunch of caps from all your merchant farming so invest them in vendor stalls at your settlements. Any settlements with a lot of water like Sanctuary, Spectacle Island, or Egret Tours Marina are prime candidates for purified water farming. To do this you need Nuclear Material and the build cap reduction glitch. You want to cram in as many Industrial Water Purifiers and regular Water Purifiers as you can. You can generate as much as 999 water per settlement if you have the space. So with 3 of them that’s a theoretical 3,000 purified water units every 24 hours of gameplay time. At an average of 3–6 caps each in value. But you’ll need tons of generators and tons of purifiers and tons of turrets.
Tip: Wall in your generators so that they can’t be damaged in an attack.
That’s it! You’ll have a character who hasn’t even met Preston yet. No storylines started and you can start exploring the Wasteland at a much higher difficulty than you might have done otherwise, which means better loot and you still have the challenge. The main perk is you’ll have all the materials and caps you need for future gameplay. Make sure to keep saves of these characters at the point where they’re ready so you can always go back to them for a fresh start but without having to redo all the preparation.