Fallout 4: A Settler's Life for Me

Welcome to the Commonwealth Wasteland, a vast area of untold riches, trials, tribulations and dangers which provides the backbone of the early hours of Fallout 4. The Wasteland is not for the unwary and there's some folks out there who're just mad enough to try and settle it, complete with their bombed out houses and tiny living spaces, with meagre food supplies.

These people are ripe pickings for raiders, super mutants and worse.

If you're like me, you're probably wondering how you can help them, rather than rob them blind and loot their corpses. If you're not like me, then this little guide is probably going to be as much use as a chocolate fireguard in a rad storm. The Settlement Building section of Fallout 4, which is seamlessly integrated into the whole thing is a huge time sink, a massive plethora of options awaits anyone who dives into just the basic build mode and it can seem a bit daunting at first.

Here's a few tips on how to make sense of it all:

1. Scrap everything in yellow. Resources are stored in your Workshop and shared in the local area between every work bench.

2. Store things in green, you never know when you might need to make a few chairs or beds and it saves resources if you've got those already in your stores.

3. Don't build hap-hazard, you're likely to waste your resources that way and scrapping only tends to return some of your resources when you make a mistake. Best to store what you made since you never know when you might need that shack wall.

4. Quicksave often, that way you can experiment with a build and if it all goes wrong, you can go back to the point where you made the change without too much fuss.

5. Flip through the build menu and make a note of things like wooden construction, whilst not as kick-ass as steel, the wooden floor section features some nice build options - including a shack foundation, which is useful to make many customised buildings from, and a shack foundation on stilts which is useful if you want to make an elevated construction to avoid problems on your build site, such as rocks and scrub poking through the floor.

6. Don't go mad with details at first, little details can come after. Get the basics down, walls, floor, doorways, doors, beds and a few chairs and don't even think about lights/lighting/power yet.

7. Try to plan things out first, it'll save resources in the long run and make for a much cleaner build.


Get the Scrapper Perk up as quickly as you can, having Rank 2 in this means you can get some sought-after craft components and they're useful for defences. Heavy Turrets make a good staple defence and produce 8 defence. You can scrap weapons and armour at this point and you'll get more out of them than you would before.

CHARISMA 6 and the Perk Local Leader 1 are vital if you want to create good settlements, you can invest in Local Leader 2 later on. 1 is all you need for now...

Local Leader 1 lets you create supply lines between your owned/affiliated settlements and this expands your ability to build and support your settlements in the long run. Hint: You don't need people at a settlment to take advantage of resource sharing, so you can just send someone as the provisoner, settlments without people/food/water won't be attacked. This lets you share the resources with it and build it up prior to settling folks there.

Make sure you have a settler who's not doing anything. Go into build mode, choose supply line and select a place you own in the list. From this point on, all resources are now shared between the two (or more) settlements - this means it'll be easier for you to build on the new plot of land, since you're not having to shuttle materials back and forth. Or use up just that areas stockpile.

Stuff to remember

1 Food  to 1 person - food requires a settler to farm it, perhaps more than one if you have a larger farm. You'll always see who's doing what if you focus on them and highlight them in build mode.1 Water to 1 person1 Bed   to 1 person

Defence = the Sum of Food and Water Production in the Settlement. So if you have 6 Settlers, you're going to need 6 Food and 6 Water with a 12 Defence at least to keep it safe. I always push my Defence higher, by about 5 or 10, since I'm always planning to expand.


I always try and think about what kind of thing I'm doing with power, remembering that the early turrets don't require their own power, so I don't factor those into the whole build. That said, if I can, I'll build a medium generator just so I've got the surplus power I need. Plus, you can also build and link generators together to provide more power.

Copper is your key here, you'll need it for wiring and remember you can tag resources from the build menu for searches, so you'll be able to find what you need.

To power a building you can build a generator out back, throw a power conduit on the wall behind you and link it with a wire. Everything has a radius, it projects a power field out from that central point and as long as the object (say: a light) is within that radius it'll give you power to that object. Wires won't go through walls, so forget trying to link them that way, it's not going to work.

If you, like me, build bigger places than just a tiny shack, you'll want to build power pylons (the bigger the pylon, the bigger the power field). I often throw a pylon on the roof smack-bang in the centre of the building and it usually powers all the lights and things I need without much need for extensive conduit use, or wiring.

You can also build switches and other advanced things with this system as you get more familiar with it.

Scavenger Stations

In a larger place, like Sanctuary where you can have more people, you can throw up some Scavenger Stations and assign a settler to them, then each day they'll collect some resources and stockpile them in the settlement. It'll help provide a steady supply of building materials over the course of the game, and supplement your build efforts in other settlements as you expand.

Guardposts and Towers

You definitely need one or two of these, they provide good points for your own defence should the need arise, and assigning a settler to the post will boost the place's Defence by 2.

Remember you can build things on stilts, so a couple of stilt shack platforms, stairs and a guardpost atop it makes for a handy elevated platform to defend from. Give your settler a sniper rifle and they can drop bad guys at much longer ranges.


Don't forget to build a bell, once rung it'll call your settlers for a meeting and you can then see if there's a new person who needs to be assigned a job if they haven't already picked something which needs their attention. New folks will automatically proceed to a unassigned resource after a while.

Recruitment Strategy

Don't go mad here, remember, the more people you have... the more food you'll need, the more you need defence and so on. A Recruitment Beacon can be turned on and off, so you can use it to draw new people in, assign them things you need them to do and then shut it off once you're happy.

Making People Happy

Decorations go a long way to accomplishing this, a nicer settlement makes for happier people. Shops too, shops make people happy and you'll need Local Leader 2 (and a nice investment in caps) for this to work. Figure it into your long term plans. There are kitten pictures in the build menu, seriously, they make any place happy!

Don't Overstretch

The temptation is to make every captured/allied location a functioning settlement, this is a huge headache and you will have to make sure they don't get attacked, rushing to defend them if they do. Tenpines was attacked twice recently in my game, reduced in population and I had to rebuild it ... now it's a minor fort on a wild frontier with the central building on stilts, and a bunch of extra turrets, guard posts and the like to keep the bad things at bay.

Most of all, experiment and have fun, save regularly and you'll soon get the hang of it!