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Every shooting starts with combat and is controlled by the participating character's statistics. When you select an enemy critter to attack, the game's rule system takes over.

Basic Combat Rules

Combat generally begins with a surprise turn, where the initiator of combat takes an action and his target gets to respond. Regular combat rules follow. First off, the game determines who gets to go first. This depends on each character's Sequence. The rule here is simple: higher sequence goes first.

When it is your turn, and you choose to take an action, the game determines if you even have time in that turn to take your action. SPECIAL uses Action Points (APs) to work this out. Each action you can take in combat has a particular cost in APs. If your current number of remaining APs is equal to or greater than the cost of your action, you can do what you have in mind. A character's maximum APs are determined by Agility. Most attacks cost 5 APs by default, though with different weapons, modes of attacks and combinations of perks, this can change. Movement costs one AP per hex moved.

Example: Joe the Raider is in a bar brawl. He wants to slug the barfly next to him. A solid punch costs 2 APs. Joe currently has 8 APs. He has more than enough APs to do what he has in mind and takes a swing.

It is not enough to decide to attack. You actually have to connect before anything interesting happens. In essence, the target's chance of avoiding the attack is subtracted from your chance of successfully attacking. The resulting percentage is rolled against to determine whether you've successfully hit. Your chance of successfully attacking is mostly due to your skill with whatever sort of weapon you're using, modified by attributes (like Strength or Agility) or perks. Your target's chance of avoiding the attack is mostly due to their Armor Class, which is determined by their Agility and the armor they are wearing. Additional bonuses or penalties to the attack can apply based on other conditions such as the range at which you attack or the lighting.

Example: Joe the Raider attacks a farmer. Joe has trained hard with his spear and has a total skill of 89% with melee weapons. The farmer's he's attacking is just wearing his threadbare clothing and thus only has the Armor Class afforded by his average agility: 5. It's a bright, sunny day and Joe is attacking in melee, so no other special conditions apply. Joe's chance of hitting is calculated as follows: 89% (attacker's weapon skill) - 5% (defender's Armor Class) = 84% Joe has an 84% chance of successfully skewering his target. The farmer is likely toast.

Once an attack has been confirmed to be successful, damage must be determined. First, the raw damage is rolled. This is determined by the damage range of the weapon or hand to hand attack being used. Each weapon does more or less damage than any other. A slap from a 90 pound weakling hardly hurts at all, but a point blank shot from a combat shotgun is painful. For melee and hand to hand attacks, damage is modified by strength. Certain feats also can modify attack damage. Different types of ammunition can also have different effects on damage, depending on the Damage Modifier (DM) of the ammunition.

Once the raw damage has been determined, the target's armor comes into play again. First, the armor's Damage Threshold (DT) is applied. This is a fixed number of points of damage that are directly subtracted from the attack's damage. Next, a percentage equal to the armor's Damage Resistance (DR) is removed from the remaining damage, eventually modified by the Damage Resistance Modifier (DRM) of an ammunition. Each armor has one Armor Class, but has different DTs and DRs for different types of damage. See Damage for information on damage types.

Example: Joe stabs a caravan guard with his spear. The weapon's base damage is 3-10. Joe's strength gets him an extra 2 points of damage. He ends up with a solid blow for 9 points of damage. The caravan guard is wearing a leather jacket. A spear stab is normal damage, so those statistics are used. Unfortunately, the frail leather jacket has 0 damage threshold, so nothing is subtracted from the damage. It does, however, have 20% damage resistance to normal. (100% - 20%) * 9 damage = 7.2, rounded down to 7. The guard takes 7 damage and readies his sledgehammer to take a swing at Joe.

The final damage caused by a ranged weapon can be computed by the following formula: (final damage) = ( ( raw damage * DM ) - DT ) * ( 1 -( ( DR + DRM) / 100 ) )


  • raw damage is the rolled damage into the damage range of the weapon
  • DM is the Damage Modifier of the used ammunition
  • DT is the Damage Threshold of the target's armor
  • DR is the Damage Resistance of the target's armor
  • DRM is the Damage Resistance Modifier of the used ammunition

Taking too much damage will typically result in death. Characters have a derived statistic called hit points that represent how much damage they can take before they die. If you take damage equal to or greater than your hit points, you are dead, which is a shame.

Combat Modes

Combat can be done in two modes, Real-Time and Turn-Based.

In RT (Real-Time) all characters are playing in the same time with counting AP (Action Points) in RT.

In TB (Turn-Based) every character have 30 seconds to act and others have to wait for their turn. AP in every turn is reset to it normal value.

Attack Modes

Some weapons have several different ways to attack aside from a single shot or a jab.

First, every weapon (except from burst-only weapons) allows you to make an Aimed Shot (provided you don't have the Fast Shot trait). Aimed shots allow you to aim for a particular part of a target's body. Aiming for limbs gives a chance to cripple the limb, which has several penalties. Aiming for the groin, head and especially eyes significantly increases the chance for a critical hit, but makes for a correspondingly more difficult shot.

Many ranged weapons will allow you to make a Burst Shot. When you burst, you fire more bullets in less time. Different weapons will allow you to use more or less rounds in one burst, but the idea is generally the same: put more bullets in the air. The advantages of burst shots are that you can either hit one target for far more damage (if multiple rounds hit and especially if several rounds achieve critical hits) or to hit several targets at once as bursts fire in a cone. The downside is that bursts are more expensive in both ammunition and action points and may not necessarily be worth the expenditure. A further problem is that a burst shot may hit unintended target(s), like your party members or neutral characters.

Some melee weapons have different attack options (jab, swing, etc) and some, like the spear, have a throw option, which gives melee weapons a bit more range.

Ranged Combat

Ranged Combat is first determined by your Skill for the specific ranged weapons you are using. The Base to Hit (BTH) is the result of your Skill -30%. In addition you add 8% or 16% (dependent on the maximum range of the weapon) for each point of Perception - 2, natural or modified by special perks and traits like Sharpshooter or Night Person to your BTH. Subtract 4% for each hex distance between you and your target. You can also call an Aimed Shot, which also modifies your BTH according to the area you want to hit. In darkness also subtract additional 10% if you are more than 4 hexes away from your target. Keep in mind if you miss there is a slight chance to hit another target.

BTH = (Skill - 30) + ((PE - 2) * 16) - (HEX * 4) - (AC of Target) [- 10% at night if HEX >= 5] for all rifles rifles from FO1 with a range >25


If you reach a BTH of 0 or below it is not possible to hit the target. Weapons also modify your BTH if you don't meet the minimum Strength needed to wield the weapon. For each point below the needed Strength subtract 20% of the BTH.

Some weapon-classes also affect your BTH . Shotguns for example raise your BTH by 20% if you are >=4 and even by 30% if you are >=5 hexes away from your target, while at the same time the damage done by the weapon is reduced.

Sniper-Weapons like the hunting rifle can fire in the first 10 hexes away from your target with +4% to the BTH and without any distance modifiers. For Example: Your BTH is usually 55%. While using the hunting rifle, you get initially +4% to your BTH. You are 8 hexes away, so your BTW is still 59%. Beginning with the 11th hex distance between you and your target, each hex subtracts 4% of your BTH as usual. In the example, instead of being 8 hexes away you are 12 hexes away, your BTH is reduced to 47%.

There are also special unique weapon modifiers like +20% BTH for the 9mm Mauser because it is "extremely accurate".


If an attacker is lucky, he may find that his attack is particularly painful for the target, potentially causing crippled limbs, damaged eyesight or even instant death. These are critical hits. When you make an attack, a derived statistic called critical chance is checked against to see if your attacking is critical. If it is, a random effect follows, which can be extra damage or more drastic outcomes.

On the flipside, there are also critical failures. If you really fumble your attack (characters with the Jinxed trait are notorious for this), something disastrous may occur. The most common result is attacking the wrong target (for instance, you may be aiming at a mutant, but you will accidentally shoot your friend who is in between you and the mutant). Other possible results include weapon jams, dropping weapons, weapon destruction, causing damage to oneself (by stabbing yourself in the foot or some such) and other unfortunate outcomes.


- Every damage multiplier on the critical table is actually bit-shifted 1 to the right, meaning it is divided by 2. I'm assuming this is because since the critical table is a huge array of integers, you can't have non whole numbers in the table (or they would just drop the decimal). So if you see values like 6, 7 and 8 in the critical table, in reality they are actually 3, 3.5 and 4 respectively. - The Player crit table is not used by FOnline at all. The Player table was meant for you as the PC in the single player Fallout 2; this is probably because the textbox messages you received in the single player game for being critically hit were vastly different than everyone else. For you and other players the Men and Women critical tables are used. - According to the Men and Women crit tables, critical bypasses largely only occur on critical rolls of 91 or more. Realistically this means that bypasses against players in a practical PvP setting are extremely rare if not impossible given their likely armor/traits/perks. - Finesse has a "hidden bonus" of reducing the enemy's crit chance modifier on his armor by 25%, which stacks with the 50% from Right Between the Eyes in the case of helmets. - Interestingly, everyone receives another "hidden" bonus chance to crit based on the results of their to-hit roll; a random number between 1 and 100 is subtracted from your to-hit value (your total Hit Chance after the formula on the wiki, clamped between 5 and 95). The difference between the random roll result and your to-hit is integer-divided by 10 then added to your critical chance. This means that a character with 1% chance to crit normally would in practice have anywhere between a 1% and 10% chance to cause a critical hit.

Example: You have 95% chance to hit. You shoot and your to-hit roll result is 50. The margin (95 - 50 = 45) is divided by 10 and the remainder removed, making 4. 4 is added to your total critical chance for that particular shot.

Single Shot

Single Shot is the standard attack mode for most guns. It costs one Action Point less than an Aimed Shot. Single Shot uses only a single round of ammunition.

A single shot gives no bonus to Critical Chance, and it gives no special damage effects. It is still possible, (though much less likely), to score a Critical Hit with a Single Shot. Any Critical Hit will be rolled on the torso critical hit table.

Notes: Most, if not all, automatic weapons will not fire in single shot. With the trait Fast Shot this will be the only option with non automatic weaponry.

Burst Shot

Burst Shot is shooting multiple bullets with a single action.

Cost and Effects

Burst Shot costs one more AP than single shot and generally does more damage, but it lacks accuracy and eats ammo quickly. Since the bullets spray at a cone shape, it's great at close range as many bullets may strike the same target. This mode will use multiple rounds of ammunition. Every type of burst weapon will have a different rate of fire (RoF), which determines the number of rounds fired with a single action. Burst weapons use ammo faster, but generally have a better chance to hit overall. Every single bullet will get an individual chance to hit. Even with a low skill, burst weapons with a high RoF will usually hit something. And something is the key word. Burst weapons not only attack the target, but any other potential target within the cone shaped area of effect.

A burst is capable of covering many hexes and hitting all targets within that area. Most of the bullets are aimed at the primary target. The rest of the bullets can strike anybody within the cone. Friends, enemies, helpless Brahmin, whatever is in the cone that is centered around your target. Each bullet will do the weapons listed amount of damage (except in Fallout Tactics, where the burst deals a reduced amount of damage, usually 90% of the full damage). If all rounds hit, a burst weapon can do an awful lot of damage: if you are right on top of an enemy and you burst them, they will be riddled by all the bullets. The cone needs a minimum of a few hexes to work.

Besides potentially using a lot of ammo, burst shots may not be targeted. You just don't have the fine control necessary to bring the sight to target with all the recoil.


Bursts, with the exception of shotgun bursts, generally fire 3 volleys: center, left and right. This is to simulate a "cone" effect at range. There is an initial volley of rounds/6 which travels down the center, a left volley of (rounds+1)/3 that travels slightly off-center to the left, and a right volley of rounds/3 that travels slightly off-center to the right. The remaining bullets in the burst will go down the center in a second volley (rounds - rounds/6 - (rounds+1)/3 - rounds/3). The initial, left and right volleys are integer-divided and thus rounded down. However, the initial volley will always contain 1 bullet at minimum. This is more or less the vanilla burst behavior of FO1/FO2, adapted for FOnline.

The initial volley is necessary because without it you'll literally shoot under the legs of someone who's one hex away from you. Now, let's say you're aiming at someone far away but a critter is blocking the path (at range). The blocker will absorb the second center volley (total rounds - rounds/6 - (rounds+1)/3 - rounds/3) and the guy you're aiming at will take the initial volley (rounds/6).

At a range of one hex, the blocker would take both the center, left and right lines (rounds - rounds/6) and the guy you're aiming at would eat the initial volley (rounds/6). If you're bursting a target at one hex, it's reasonable to assume that all three volleys and therefore all bullets will connect with your target.

So, what does this mean in a practical fight? It means that even if your gun bursts 40 bullets, the expectation is that roughly 1/3 of the fired rounds will connect with the intended target at range, assuming no misses.

Example: The Avenger Minigun fires 40 rounds.

  • Initial Volley: 40/6 = 6.6667, rounded down => 6 rounds
  • Left Volley: 41/3 = 13.6667, rounded down => 13 rounds
  • Right Volley: 40/3 = 13.3333, rounded down => 13 rounds
  • Second Center Volley: 40 - 6 - 13 - 13 = 8 rounds

The Avenger Minigun bursts 6 + 8 = 14 rounds at a ranged target.

Aimed Shot

An aimed shot, or targeted shot, allows the player to target a specific part of an enemy's body during combat. The accuracy of these shots depends on the desired target - the torso and limbs are easy to target, while the eyes and head are more difficult. Using an aimed shot instead of a regular one increases the chance of a critical hit. The bonus effects of an aimed shot can only be activated during a critical hit. It is used by right-clicking the weapon display. With the Fast Shot trait selected, it is not possible to perform aimed shots.


It is best to target the most appropriate area for which a player has 95% accuracy. "Most appropriate area" will vary based on the situation.

In a defensive situation, it is best to disarm or disable the enemy as fast as possible. In such situations, the highest priority areas to target should be:

  • Legs: Prevent an opponent from pursuing!
  • Arms: Crippling one arm will prevent an opponent from using a two-handed or heavy weapon.
  • Run: Without 95% ACC for any of the above, run.

In a first-strike situation, it is usually best to strike the most deadly blow possible. Go for the:

  • Eyes, does the most damage possible, and gives a critical bonus for a surprise attack!
  • Head, only for un-helmeted opponents.
  • Unaimed, only for unarmored opponents.
  • Groin, only for armored enemies where a headshot is not possible.

See Also
Character SPECIAL · Traits · Perks · Skills · Skill points · Carry Weight · Levels · Armor Class · Reputation · Skins · NPC Factions · Player-Driven Factions · Reroll · Vault-Tec DB
Combat Hit Chance · Critical Chance · Critical Hit · Aimed Attack · Resistances · Hit Points · Death · Miss · Critical Miss · Range · Sight · Fog of War · Shooting
Items Weapons · Armors · Ammo · Resources · Blueprints · Craftables · Books · Drugs · Implants · Miscellaneous Items
And Other Guides · Quests · Jobs · Telltales · Caravans · Caravan cart · Dungeons · Player Farm · Commands · Abbreviations · Merchants · Town Control · Vehicles · Tents · Safe Houses · Bases · Group Encounters · Special Encounters