3. State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition Character Development Tips

Character Building Introduction

Every character has four base skills, all of them useful:

  • Cardio -- Increases your stamina bar, which allows you to run, jump and swing a weapon. Raised by running, jumping, or fighting with a heavy weapon.
  • Wits -- Increases search speed. Raised by searching boxes or stealth killing enemies.
  • Fighting -- Increases health. Raised by fighting with all melee weapons (except heavy weapons), or passively via a Fighting Gym facility in your home base.
  • Firearms -- Increases reload speed while decreasing aim sway and shot recoil. Raised by shooting and hitting enemies, or passively via a Shooting Gallery facility in your home base.

Each skill has seven levels apiece, and once you reach level seven, you can replace a basic skill with a speciality skill (you'll get to choose from one of two choices from a pool of four options). Replacing a base skill retains all the benefits of the base skill, but starts level progression again from one to seven (this time, affecting the bonuses from the advanced skill).

In addition to the Base/Advanced skills, characters get one extra slot that can be filled either with a Community Skill or a Quirk Skill, or no extra skill at all.

  • Community Skill -- Skills that allow the use of community facilities. These can be levelled just like Base skills and have their own specializations.
  • Quirk Skills -- Skill that generally gives small stat bonuses to the character, and occasionally the community as well. Occasionally gives a 'Knowledge' that allows the use of a specific facility function. Has only one level, thus it cannot be raised and it cannot be specialized. Rarely but still possible, quirk skills can be useless (I'm looking at you, "Animal Facts"!).
  • Nothing -- Having no fifth skill is actually a good thing believe it or not. This is because you can use a training manual to give this person any skill you want (as long as you can track down that manual).

As well as all the skills indicated above, characters also have Traits. Traits are assigned to characters at character creation and can never be removed or modified in any way. While some traits do not have an effect on the game, half of the possible list of traits can affect their character's personal starts in both positive or negative ways (the former, non-game affecting traits are there just to add character "flavour").


Advanced Skills Rankings

Since unlike traits, you have some say in which skills a character can have and how these skills advance, we will rank all possible skill choices here to help you in your selections. The scale we will be using will be to mark a skill as either Great, Average or Avoid. Later on this page we'll also tackle traits for a little bit (though there are so many we won't review them all).

Let's start with Advanced Skills:

Cardio has four Advanced Skills, three of which are useful (and as you can choose from one of two options, you'll never be forced to take a "bad" Cardio skill):

  • Acrobatics (Avoid) -- Dodging and climbing use less stamina (also unlocks the Flying Strike). Pretty terrible, as Dodging and Climbing are not the things that will eat up your stamina bar (attacking and running do). You'll probably never ever use the flying strike. Avoid this one.
  • Backpacking (Great) -- Gives you an extra inventory slot and ups your carrying capacity. You'll spend a LOT of time in this game scavenging, so putting this on a character will make them a scavenging powerhouse. Make sure at least one survivor in your community has this for the times you're out looting buildings. My personal favourite advanced Cardio skill.
  • Marathon (Great) -- Reduces the stamina cost of running, stamina fatigue kicks in more slowly, and can sprint for free when lightly encumbered. Maybe not as good as Powerhouse and Backpacking, but it's still great to have at least one survivor with this, as when you are on time pressure mission you can sprint everywhere (though this is somewhat mitigated by vehicles). If you can keep this person lightly encumbered, you now have someone who can easily run from the base to fetch vehicles anywhere on the map. The only negative is the light encumbrance requirement, as most of my survivors tend to have normal encumbrance (before the weight of all their scavenged items). Still, with a little planning, this advanced skill can be very useful.
  • Powerhouse (Great) -- Reduces stamina costs for attacks, grabs and executes, and allow zombie grapples from the front. I recommend slapping this one on any "combat" focused character. The reduced melee stamina cost is good in and of itself, but if you can learn to grapple zombies consistently, you can now grapple from the front, making handling regular zombies a breeze.

Wits had four Advanced Skills, with two great and two neutral. With only a 17% chance to be stuck with a Neutral Wits skill, I'll take those odds any day!

  • Discipline (Great) -- Increases Stamina, Light Encumbrance, and Weapon Durability. Probably the best "all round" skill in the game (along with "Endurance" down in Fighting), as more stamina is always nice, and breaking weapons out in the field is not something you want to be doing. Pares very well with the Marathon Cardio skill to keep encumbrances light. While overall the Resourcefulness Wits skill is a better choice, this option is good too.
  • Resourcefulness (Great) -- Increased inventory slot and increased consumable stacks. Combine this one with Backpacking from Cardio and you have a junk hauling powerhouse on your hands! The extra inventory slot is always welcome, and the increased consumable stacks are better than you would first think (especially when looting ammo shops, warehouses, etc). Get this!
  • Stealth (Neutral) -- Quieter loot searching, reduced zombie visibility radius, sprint when crouched, and the ability to quietly open locked doors. A big pile of "nice to have's, with one fatal flaw: advanced play of this game is about mission efficiency, and stealthing around will slow you down - not a lot, but a noticeable amount (its often just faster to kill basic zombies than stealth around them). The Stealth skill's value does go up on higher map difficulties, however, so while essentially useless for Green and Standard maps, you'll appreciate this much more on Nightmare and Lethal maps.
  • Scouting (Neutral) -- Increased scouting range and increased enemy detection. Enemy detection is useless, but the scouting range is nice to find loot boxes. Automatically detecting all loot boxes when entering a building is nice as it speeds your scrounging visits noticeably. While this is probably the "worst" skill in Wits, it still has its uses, so I marked it neutral.

Fighting also has four advanced skills, with one Great, two Neutral and one Avoid. A 50% shot of getting the Great skill, not too bad.

  • Close Combat (Avoid) -- Reduces stamina costs and unlocks speciality moves for close combat. It's an extremely rare situation where you'll want to use a close combat weapon over a blunt or edged weapon, so you'll use these benefits basically none of the time (unless you break a weapon and have no replacement, but how often does that happen?). Avoid.
  • Endurance (Great) -- Increases Health, and trauma accrues more slowly. More health? Yes please! Plus, fewer traumas means less recovery time at the base and more time out on the field. A great pick.
  • Striking (Neutral) -- Increases knockdown with blunt weapons and unlocks Grand Slam attack. Meh. You'll never use the Grand Slam attack. It also locks your character in blunt weapons. Given that, you'll probably have a few good ones in your stash early in the game. The increased knockdown benefit is the shining benefit here, as knocked down zombies aren't able to attack you, and knocking them down gives you a window to insta-kill the knocked-down zombie, fight other attacking zombies, or run away if needed. Not great, but still useful.
  • Swordplay (Neutral) -- Increased lethality with bladed weapons, unlocks leg sweep. Also meh. You'll probably never use leg sweep. It also locks your character in bladed weapons, though bladed weapons aren't all that hard to find, so you'll have them on hand early. The increased chance to kill zombies with a bladed weapon is the star here, plus standing executions are nice. Not great, but still useful.

Firearms has four advanced skills, with one great, two neutral and one avoid. A 50% shot of getting the Great skill, and trust me you want this skill on nearly everyone.

  • Assault (Avoid) -- Significantly reduces recoil on weapons, and allows kick attacks while aiming. This skill is targeted for assault weapon users, and in general you will be relatively close to your target when you shoot assault weapons, so recoil generally isn't a problem in this game. You'll almost never use that kick attack (especially with an assault weapon blazing away). Avoid.
  • Gunslinger (Great, Great, GREAT) -- Allows for faster reloads and unlocks auto aiming. Faster reloads? Nice to have. Auto aiming? SO MUCH BETTER THAN YOU WOULD THINK. Here's why -- in this game, once you get a handle on the basics, there really are only a few things that will be legitimately dangerous to you; mostly ferals, juggernauts and hostile survivors. The latter two you can run away from. The former is THE number one killer of players in this game. Turns out, the Gunslinger skill is your best defence against ferals. With gunslinger, simply hold cn_LT to aim, tap cn_A to auto line up a head shot, then press cn_RT to fire. Instant feral deletion (well, technically two head shots on higher difficulties, but you get the point!). With Gunslinger, THE BIGGEST THREAT IN THE GAME has just been neutralized. Get this skill. You're welcome.
  • Sharpshooting (Neutral) -- Increases gun steadiness, bullet penetration and dismemberment. The biggest weakness of this skill is that it is not Gunslinger. As well, bullet penetration is situational, depending on if you have a giant mob chasing you (and in that case, you should be running to find higher ground rather than turning and shooting). Given this, the increased steadiness is good for a character that uses sniper weapons (an excellent tool for taking out hostile humans). While its not Gunslinger, it may be worth it to put this skill on one character to create your "Sniper Survivor". Giving this skill to more than one survivor is a waste.
  • Weapon Handling (Neutral) -- Clear jammed firearms (aka, fix firearms in the field for free) and improve firearm durability. The biggest weakness of this skill is that it is not Gunslinger. Given that, it's very nice to have someone who can run around and fix your broken firearms, essentially for free. Got a particular gun you love? Give the character using it the Weapon Handling skill and you'll never be without that gun. Unfortunately, this skill is surpassed in the late game with certain base builds wherein you can generate the materials to fix weapons at your base, but in early game this skill is very nice to have. It's not Gunslinger though, so it gets a Neutral.


Community Skill Rankings

There are eight total community skills (all useful), with each one having two specialities you can unlock after reaching level seven. Since there are only two specialities, unlike base skills, you will always get the option of picking the one you want. Again, we'll use the Great, Average, or Avoid scale to recommend what to take. Keep in mind however that community skill usefulness is heavily affected by your specific base, its built-in facilities, and the facilities you'll add on your own; so while a skill listed below may be "Average" or "Avoid", it still may make sense to pick up due to your base configuration.

NOTE: Survivors with no skills assigned to them can be assigned a community skill via an in-game training book. Simply find the book of the skill you want when scavenging (try a library) or from a trader, and use the book on the character as you would any item. You'll be assigned the skill at zero stars. Once a character has a community skill, they are stuck with it for life, so choose carefully.

Computers (Great) -- Unlocks Command Centre level 3 and allows the construction of remote detonated mines. Remote mines are great for assaulting Plague Hearts: set some up, back off a bit, then set them off to start off your plague heart assault. More importantly, though, Computers unlocks the ability to upgrade the Command Centre to level 3. You get a spy drone (meh), and an extra Outpost slot. Extra Outpost slot? YES PLEASE!

  • Electronics (Neutral) -- Unlocks the solar generator facility, which is pretty good, but easily replaced with a power station outpost or the Builder Boon. The better benefit is that Electronics allows you to construct C4 at workshops (as long as you have someone with the Munitions skill as well). Make some C4, go to a plague heart, set up 2-3 C4 charges, get a good distance away, set off charges. Good night Plague Heart! Would rate this great if not for bounty of explosive alternatives out there you can make and use against plague hearts.
  • Programming (Neutral) -- Allows for the use of assault drones, reduces radio cooldowns, and allows for crafting of box mines. Sorry, C4 is greater than box mines (fight me on this). Assault drones are ok, but they're really a poor man's Sniper Support, and you tend not to hit the thing you really need to kill with the assault drone in the heat of battle (hello ferals). 15% Radio cooldown is nice, but not necessary (unless you are really relying on sniper supports). Take Electronics, unless you're not planning on getting a survivor with the Munitions skill.

Cooking (Avoid) -- Unlocks Kitchen Level 2 and allows for the preparation of feasts. As I generally never build a kitchen (you find plenty of food in your scavenging adventures) and there are easier ways to raise morale, this skill is fairly useless. Plus, most cooking functionality requires food, and if you're low on morale you're often low on food as well.

  • Cuisine (Neutral) -- Greatly improves morale bonuses from feasts. If you do take Cooking, take this specialty, as the enhanced feast is the obvious standout ability of the Cooking skill.
  • Nutrition (Avoid) -- Craft nutritious snacks, reduce rationing penalty, and improve stamina from feasts. You can scavenge all the food you need. You don't need this. Only the improved stamina boon saves this from utter uselessness.

Chemistry (Neutral) -- Unlocks the Still facility, and improves crafting of incendiaries (aka more items get crafted for less materials used). Molotovs are a good cheap weapon to make, and firecrackers can save your hide in a pinch, so making more of these with less resources is pretty good. If you build your facility a certain way, you can use the Still to be an influence generating machine. None of these things is really necessary, however, hence the neutral rating.

  • Munitions (Neutral) -- Unlocks Firesafe Storage (aka +3 ammo storage), allows for crafting of thermite and C4 (though only if you have a Electronics survivor on hand as well) and allows for crafting of advanced ammunition. Firesafes are nice to have but not necessary. See "Electronics" above for my take on C4. The biggest boon here is crafting of advanced ammunition -- if you use firearms a lot you will want a munitions expert. If you don't, it's much less valuable. Hence, why it's marked as Neutral (although it LEAGUES better than Pharmacology, so take this speciality if you're going to have a Chemistry skilled survivor).
  • Pharmacology (Avoid) -- Craft strong painkillers and reduce the cost of plague cures. The former is unnecessary as regular painkillers work just as well (plus it eats into your stock of Meds and Ethanol to make strong painkillers). The latter is nice to have, though note it reduces your Med resource requirements to make plague cures, not your plague sample requirements (which is the thing you're usually short on). Munitions is the way to go.

Craftsmanship (Avoid) -- Unlocks the Forge facility, which allows you to craft custom weapons, as well as unlocking Barracks 2. I built a Forge once just to see it in action, but have not built a Forge in any game since. It's really not necessary -- you can find decent weapons all over the place in this game (see: Bounty Broker), plus I like Farms, Staging Areas and Lounges on my big facility slots. Being in 5th place out of 7 on the "Large Facility Slots I Like List" basically means it doesn't have a prayer of being built. Hey, at least it beat Auto Shop! Saving this skill from the scrap heap, the ability to upgrade to a Barracks 2 is a nice to have, so that's something.

  • Construction (Avoid) -- Unlocks Heavy Duty Storage (i.e. store +20 materials), allows crafting of storage facility mods, and allows crafting materials from parts. The extra material storage is nice to have but generally is unneeded since I'm usually low on materials (and any excess can be stored in car trunks). Basically the same story with storage mods -- you don't need them, with the added negative that you can find them while scavenging around the map. Materials from parts is generally useless as well as in late game you'll need the parts more than the materials. Still, making materials from parts may be ok if you need just that one last material and don't feel like scavenging. All around though, a pretty pointless skill. Avoid.
  • Metalwork (Neutral) -- Allows for crafting of masterwork weapons and creating parts from materials. Well, if you're going Craftsmanship, you might as well take Metalwork, as Metalwork allows you to use the Forge properly and craft the really good weapons. Materials to parts conversion is useless early in the game as you'll probably be more short on materials than on parts; though it becomes much, much better later in the game when materials lose their lustre but parts become more rare and more frequently used.

Gardening (Neutral) -- Allows for improved yields at gardens and farms, and can covert farms and gardens to grow meds instead of food. Awesome in the early stages of the game, though it loses its lustre late game (if/when you start building hydroponics stations). Given that, as the hardest parts of State of Decay 2 are in the early game, this skill will help you get through the tough times. Just remember to actively boost your yields at your gardens and farms to get the greatest benefits from this skill.

  • Agriculture (Great) -- Unlocks top-end Garden and Farm upgrades for food production. Not necessary if you're using hydroponics, but if you're going the food farm/med garden base facility route, this specialization is great. Solve all your food problems, and have some leftover for your Stills to create whisky, which can be traded to enclaves for high influence. Extra useful in higher level difficulties when people eat 1.5 or 2 units of food per day rather than 1.
  • Herbalism (Great) -- Unlocks top-end Garden and Farm conversions to allow for meds production. Useful even if you go Hydroponics, as now you can use your Hydroponics to grow Medicine. Also great if you have someone with Medicine/Pathology as you can use excess meds to craft bulk plague cures, which sell to enclaves for massive amounts of influence (before finishing the final leader legacy mission ending the game, I load up all my survivors with one or two cases of Bulk Plague Cure to take into their next game for a huge leg up on the next map). As a bonus, you can crack opens these bulk plague cures to be awash in plague cures early in the game, and never have to worry about blood plague again.

Mechanics (Great) -- Unlocks Workshop 3, and allows the crafting of toolboxes and box mines. Box mines are useful in taking out plague hearts, but not necessary (remote devices/C4 are much better). More importantly, if you're like me and use your car as your main weapon against zombies (remember to back into them!), you'll go through a lot of toolboxes. Even with buying these from enclaves and scrounging for them, I'm usually always on the brink of running out of toolboxes, so this skill solves that problem nicely. Every community needs at least one good mechanic!

  • Automechanic (Neutral) -- Unlocks the Auto Shop, allows crafting of vehicle upgrade kits and quick-repair toolkits, increases vehicle fuel efficiency, and decreases vehicle noise. Quick repair kits are nice to have, but it's rare I need one of these over the regular repair kits. Vehicle upgrade kits are also really nice, but aren't necessary if you have enough repair kits around. Also, you can occasionally buy vehicle upgrade kits from the Mysterious Wandering Trader, making the Auto Shop redundant when it happens! Given all this, the Auto mechanics skill is a "big ball of nice to have", but nothing this skill provides is remotely necessary. NOTE: If you have an Auto mechanic specifically for crafting vehicle upgrade kits, build an Auto Shop, make all the kits you need, then feel free to replace the shop with a Farm, Lounge, Staging Area, etc. No need to keep Auto Shops around.
  • Engineering (Great) -- Craft advanced muzzle attachments and lowers weapon repair costs. Silencers are great! Again, silencers are great! And silencers are very rare to find in this game, so the Engineering skill will be the main way you acquire them. On higher difficulties, you want to shoot your gun less and less, as shooting attracts lots of zombies (so get ready to be MOBBED on lethal). Silencers help with this problem TREMENDOUSLY. Get them. Use them.

Medicine (Avoid) -- Unlocks Infirmary 3, allows crafting of first aid kits, and offers Health-boost actions at Infirmaries. While Infirmary 1 is absolutely required for your home base to rid people of blood plague build-up, and Infirmary 2 is also extremely useful in that it helps cure people or injuries and traumas, Infirmary 3 is... well... not as essential. First Aid Kits are very nice to have but expensive to make, and other medicines will work in their stead (just not as effectively). And unless you're in REAL trouble, the natural health boost you get while waiting in base works just fine in 99% of situations (and these effects can be superseded via the Sterilizing Foam facility mod anyway). Given this, Medicine as a skill is really not needed unless you're going for Pathology specialization.

  • Pathology (Neutral) -- Unlocks Infection-recovery actions at Infirmaries, reduces the cost of plague cures and bulk plague cures, and reduces infection rates. Good in high level games (i.e. Lethal) where Blood Plague is an actual problem. In Dread or below, not so much. Given that, when this Skill combined with someone who has the Herbalism skill, you can use the Meds you grow to churn out Bulk Plague cures to sell to enclaves at 500 influence apiece. Suddenly, your influence problems are solved! As well, its a good idea to load up survivors with Bulk Plague Cures right before finishing the final Leader Legacy mission, as you can start a new map with these survivors and get a HUGE leg up on influence by selling these on Day 0 or Day 1. Pathology was a hair away from being labelled as "Great" except for the fact it's technically not necessary to have it to do the Bulk Plague Cure production process (Pathology just reduces costs, making it more lucrative).
  • Surgery (Avoid) -- Unlocks injury-recovery actions at Infirmaries, +20 max health. Infirmary 2 works just fine on its own for recovering from injuries, though Surgery does helps here somewhat in a pinch. +20 health is the real star here and saves this skill from the trash heap.

Utilities (Great) -- Unlocks Hydroponics and boosts power and water duration. Having the Utilities skill is one of the three heavy-duty requirements for building the Hydroponics Facility (the other two being power and water). If you can get all three, you can put up hydroponics stations in both inside and outside small facility slots. Do so, and note your food and/or medicine (with Herbalism) problems are solved, with no need to upgrade the facility in any way! Power and water duration boosts are a good benefit too, but these benefits become moot quickly if you establish a power/water outpost, build a Solar Array, or have the Builder Boon.

  • Electrical (Avoid) -- Unlocks Solar Arrays and Refrigerated Storage, and grants 20 parts per day. +20 to food and med storage is a nice to have (especially for food), but the car trunk storage trick makes this benefit unnecessary. Meanwhile, Solar Arrays take up a large slot, which is better served by building something else there - if you need power, grab a power outpost instead. In later games with the Builder Boon active, Solar Arrays become completely pointless. The one saving grace of this skill is the daily 20 parts you get, though when you think about it, 20 parts isn't very much given that everything else in this skill is extremely sub-par. Skip this one.
  • Plumbing (Avoid, though better than Electrical) -- Unlocks Latrine upgrades and improves Latrine bonuses, and grants 20 max stamina. Lots of bases have built-in latrines, so this skill makes them as useful as possible, which is always good. Outside of that, I tend not to build Latrines (Lounges are better) so this skill goes to waste for me more often than not. I prefer 20 max stamina over 20 parts, hence why this one gets the nod over Electrical.


Quirk Skills

Listed below are all the quirk skills currently in State of Decay 2. With all things considered, you generally want community skills over quirk skills on your survivors, unless a community skill is a duplicate of one you already have or the quirk skill gives you the community skill along with another positive bonus (Hello Lichenology!). A few quirk skills are useless or near useless (Sexting, Animal Facts), so avoid these if you can.

NOTE: Until recently, survivors with no skills assigned to them could not be assigned a quirk skill - characters either come with the quirk skill or they didn't. Recently, a rare type of Mysterious Wandering Trader has been added to the game that offers training manuals for the most popular quirk skills, so keep an eye out for them during your gameplay. As with community skills, characters with quirk skills cannot drop the quirk skill to pick up a different community or quirk skills, so keep that in mind when recruiting survivors.

Acting -- +100% Standing Rewards, +10% Influence Gained, Pop Culture Knowledge (Lounge)

Animal Facts -- NOTHING!!!!!

Bartending -- +2 Morale (Community), Knowledge of Alcohol Beverages (Lounge Ability), Knowledge of Cooking

Business -- +35 Influence per Day, +10% Influence Gained, Knowledge of Influence (Command Centre)

Comedy -- +2 Morale (Community), +100% Standing Rewards, Pop Culture Knowledge (Lounge)

Design -- Knowledge of Craftsmanship, +50% Build Action Speed, +50% Facility Action Speed, Knowledge of the Arts (Lounge, Art Gallery)

Driving -- +100% Fuel Efficiency, +50% Vehicle Endurance, +50% Vehicle Stealth

Excuses -- +10 Morale

Farting Around -- +10 Morale

Fishing -- +2 Food per Day

Geek Trivia -- +6 Morale, +50% Experience Rate, Pop Culture Knowledge (Lounge)

Hairdressing -- Knowledge of Chemistry, +10% Influenced Gained

Hygiene -- +50 Infection Resistance (Community), +10 Max Health (Community)

Ikebana -- +2 Morale (Community), +10 Influence Per Day, Knowledge of Gardening, Knowledge of the Arts (Lounge, Art Gallery)

Law -- +10% Influence Gained, Knowledge of Influence (+5% Satellite Broadcast Influence)

Lichenology -- Knowledge of Gardening, Knowledge of Herbalism, +2 Meds per Day

Literature -- Knowledge of the Arts (Lounge, Art Gallery), +100% Experience Rate, +6 Morale

Making Coffee -- -25% Fatigue Severity (Community), Knowledge of Coffee Preparation (Kitchen), Knowledge of Cooking

Movie Trivia -- Knowledge of Pop Culture (Lounge), +50% Experience Rate, +6 Morale

Music -- +2 Morale (Community), +100% Standing Rewards, +25 Influence per Day, Knowledge of the Arts (Lounge, Art Gallery)

Painting -- +2 Morale (Community), +25 Influence per Day, Knowledge of the Arts (Lounge, Art Gallery)

People Skills -- Knowledge of Influence (Command Centre), +100% Standing Rewards, +10% Influence Gained

Pinball -- +100% Shooting Experience Rate, -25% Gun Durability Loss, Knowledge of Mechanics

Poker Face -- +20 Max Stamina, +10% Influence Gained, Knowledge of Influence (Command Centre)

Political Science -- Knowledge of Influence (Command Centre), +100% Standing Rewards, +25 Influence per Day

Recycling -- +2 Materials Per Day, +25 Parts Per Day

Scrum Certification -- +50% Build Action Speed, +50% Facility Action Speed, +2 Labour

Self-Promotion -- Knowledge of Influence (Command Centre), +100% Standing Rewards

Sewing -- +1 Max Item Stack (Community), +10 Max Health (Community), Knowledge of Craftsmanship

Sexting -- +5 Influence Per Day

Shopping --+50% Search Speed, +25 Parts Per Day

Sleep Psychology -- +4 Morale (Community), +2 Beds

Sports Trivia -- +100% Cardio Experience Rate, +100% Fighting Experience Rate, +20 Max Stamina, Knowledge of Sports (Fighting Gym)

Soundproofing -- -4 Zombie Threat

Tattoos -- Knowledge of Medicine, Knowledge of the Arts (Lounge, Art Gallery), +10% Influence Gained

TV Trivia -- +6 Morale, +50% Experience Rate, Pop Culture Knowledge (Lounge)


Hero Bonus Traits

All survivors start out as a Recruit in your community, and earn "Standing" as they earn influence. There are four ranks of standing, as follows:

  • Recruit -- Base level. Cannot see what the Hero bonus Trait will be yet.
  • Citizen -- You can now see the Hero Bonus Trait.
  • Hero -- Hero Bonus Trait now unlocked.
  • Leader -- Determines what type of community you will have (Builder, Trader, Sheriff, or Warlord), which in turn unlocks a leader special facility, and a unique leader questline. See the Campaign (Main Game Loop) page for more details. Your community can only have one of these.

The Hero Bonus Trait is always good, and is always community oriented. None of these benefits are earth shattering however, just nice to have (examples: +1 labour, +3 morale), hence why every option is not listed here, as these traits should not affect your character builds or decisions to exile (and by the time you learn what the Hero Bonus is, you've already invested time into this character).


Starter Traits and Evaluating a Character

In addition to the skills and traits listed above, characters can have up to three starter traits. Some are good, some are bad, and some are just for flavour (aka they have no game effect). Unfortunately, when recruiting a survivor in game, you cannot see these traits until they join your crew. You can however see their skills, including their community or quirk skills, so be sure to select a character with a community or quirk skill you need given your base strategy (and try not to double up on skills too much, having more in one skill offers no benefit except as a replacement upon a death).

So, skills are known but traits are not, so whenever you recruit a new member to your community, immediately open your character's stats menu and highlight the traits box to see the full impact of their traits. If they have good traits or just neutral traits, keep the character (good traits are a nice to have but are not any sort of requirement to keep them for your community). With negative traits, you'll need to make a decision -- ones that limit skill growth are CRIPPLING, as the character will always be poor in that skill, and can never specialize. As well, any character that's is prone to starting fights or leaving communities on fights can be very problematic to your morale. On the other hand, traits that waste resources usually aren't a big deal (especially in later game) and hits to health and stamina are usually not too crippling. Slower experience rates can be easily overcome by just playing the character more.

So, my recommendation is to get rid of any character that: have a hard limit on skill growth (i.e. Absent-Minded, which limits you to 4 stars in Wits), will readily cause conflicts (i.e. All out of Fucks starts fights all the time), or have stacked negatives associated with them (i.e. Trust Fund Kid, Stoner). To get rid of these characters, make sure you EXILE them and not just leave them outside to get eaten - the latter has a huge morale loss associated with it, while the former has no penalties (though feel free to sacrifice them, to the zombie mobs if you're going for the appropriate achievement :) ).

To exile, go into your base, and talk to the character to be exiled directly. One of the options (the lowest one) will be "Exile this Survivor". You'll be given the option to verify this choice, and once made, the exiled survivor will disappear forever. Don't worry, they don't come back looking for revenge (at least not yet).

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