Character Build: Hobo with a Shotgun (FO4)

A heavy roleplaying build inspired by the title character from Jason Eisener's satirical and horrifically violent black comedy about a Hobo who turns vigilante when he sees the crimes committed against the homeless and the citizens of Hope Town. It is time to bring this justice to the Commonwealth, for the simple vagrant to rise up against the tyranny he sees everyday. For my first of two builds for the Fallout Event, Arms and Artifacts, I present to you...


3280050571?profile=RESIZE_710x"A long time ago I was one of you. You're all brand new and perfect. No mistakes, no regrets. People look at you and think of how wonderful your future will be. They want you to be something special... like a... a doctor or a lawyer. I hate to tell you this, but if you grow up here, you're more likely to wind up selling your bodies on the streets, or shooting dope from dirty needles in a bus stop. And if you're successful, you'll make money selling junk to chemheads. And you won't think twice about killing someone's wife, because you won't even know what was wrong in the first place. Or, maybe... you'll end up like me - a hobo with a shotgun! I hope you can do better. You are the future."

- Hobo with a Shotgun addressing a room full of newborn babies

After serving with in the Great War, the Hobo's time of peace is short-lived. The Bombs fall and he flees with his wife and newborn baby underground into Vault 111. He then witnesses her murder and his son's kidnapping, a brand new, perfect life, suddenly taken. He wakes up a man lost to time, in a wasteland that bears no resemblence to the Commonwealth he once knew. Wanting revenge, wanting justice.

But with nowhere to go. 

At first, he wanders aimlessly, outfitting himself the best he can, eating whatever scraps of preserved food leftover from the apocalype, laughing at his circumstance. He has become one of the people he sometimes used to see when he'd go to town with his Nora. They called them hobos, would see them begging in the street corners.

"Hey, Buddy, can ya spare a dime?" They'd ask.

And he always did, he smiles, giving a stray dog a pat on the head while he surveys the bleakness of the Wasteland. Rad storm's a comin'...

As he wanders, the Hobo witnesses firsthand how people have become like the radiated beasts that savage the landscape. And he hears of worse, of people being stolen in the night by "boogeymen" and replaced. Like they were playin' God. And something in hims snaps. He picks up a shotgun, holds it in his weathered hands and vows to deliver Justice to the Commonwealth, one shell at a time. 



I want to keep this extremely simple as it is a mini-build. I playtested on Normal, though a good button-masher can crank up the difficulty to Hard or Very Hard if you want a real challenge.  Just make sure you've got stimpaks, because the gameplay will be a bit unforgiving as the equipment is nerfed. This is a S.P.E.C.I.A.L. designed to both satisfy the spirit of the Hobo as depicted in the film and satisfy gameplay. High Strengh, Endurance, and Charisma reflect his durability throughout most of the film, increases his survivability in game, and how he manages to inpire Hope Town in the end into action. Agility was kept very low to emphasize his older age, though by end game, he was still able to sneak effectively, while Perception, Intelligence, Luck were given enough to benefit from certain key perks that would enhance his gameplay and survivability. This build wasn't about Bobbleheads, so the only one I benefitted from was Perception, but you don't even need that one. You can play the build fine without a single S.P.E.C.I.A.L stat increase. The level 30 cap kept me from wanting to spend valuable perks on leveling stats, so I made sure my S.P.E.C.I.A.L would make the most impact. Better to invest in perks. Here are the perks I took. 


I wanted to embrace the challenge of using only a single weapon, barring unperked, found explosives, so Basher became a focal point for the build as it allowed me to both use the shotgun as a ranged and melee weapon to some great effects. I focused on perking that, my one rank of Scrounger, Bloody Mess, Steady aim, Rifleman, and Gunnut first. Then I turned to the often under-used Endurance perks Toughness, Lifegiver, Rad Resist, and Intelligence's Medic. I roleplayed this as him having the smarts to keep himself alive through his involvement in the military. You know, basic field dressing, things like that. Finally, as the Hobo's name became more known throughout the Commonwealth, I invested in Local Leader to enhance the lives of the settlers thrown into the Hobo's care. The Vagrants of the Commonwealth. people without a home. He's a vagrant, he's used to that life, but they don't have to be. If you want to carry his gameplay beyond level 30, finish out the perk trees and then consider Party Boy when you come across the Charisma Bobblehead.

Weapon: Modified double-barrel shotgun, renamed Hobo's Justice. You only need rank two of Gunnut to max out the double barrel.  Again, I did not find one with a Legendary effect (I just have terrible luck with this weapon), so I just went with the first shotgun I found. Happened to be in that small shack near the Vault that's guarded by a raider and an attack dog. Inside is a dead young woman, some scattered drugs and you can only imagine what happened to her. I used it as a roleplaying spring board for the Hobo. It's seeing her death that spurs him into action.

In the film, the Hobo uses a pump-action shotgun. I play on ps4, but if you play on PC, you can download these mods from the Nexus. 

Remington 870 Pump Action Shotgun

Hunting Shotgun

Explosives: Molotovs were the only explosives that were made, though I used others that were found.

Clothing and Armor: Winter coat and Jeans for aesthetics. Looks very similar to what the Hobo wears in the film. This outfit only allows you to wear leg armor, so I just used whatever I found. Movement speed is actually rather nice for this build and I ended up with that one. The other leg was a ghoul-killing one, but incidiary or freezing would be even better.

Food, Drink, and Lifesavers: Radaway, RadX, Stimpaks, Refreshing Beverages, Bourbon, Guinnett Stout, Dirty Wastelanders, cooked food. Once I had enough supplies, I lived off the land and would actually sell the old irradiated food I found in the commonwealth. He mentions his smokes in the film, so keep a few packages of cigarettes in your inventory always, because you gotta have your smokes. No chems though. It's quite clear in the film that he doesn't approve of drug use or those that sell drugs. I simply didn't pick them up when I found them, which makes my choice of follower rather interesting.

Magazines: Wasteland Survival, Covert Operations, Guns & Bullets


3280058147?profile=RESIZE_710xI wasn't kidding when I said the equipment was nerfed and yes, I won't lie, I was challenged, even on Normal difficulty. Gameplay can be rough with the Hobo, but with high Strength and Basher, I was able to stagger opponents quite a bit. Just enough to relocate and reload to get those two more precious shots in.  And that's how you play; shoot twice. If they don't go down, bash, relocate, live to shoot again. At least most of the time. Hardest enemies were Kellogg and the large beasts; deathclaws, mirelurk queens, anything wielding either missiles or fat mans. You learn to dodge and run and this is where Covert Operations came in. I found 4 magazines and that's 16% increase in sneak, without investing in any perks. Not much, but it made the difference between getting away and dying. I died a fair amount of times, not going to lie, but seeing as this is my second double-barrel build, there is just that satisfaction that comes with using a shotgun and I didn't always die.

Why? How did you survive, Lis?

Because why have one shotgun when you can have two?! 

Follower: Cait. For both gameplay and roleplaying reasons. She sort of represents what happened to the average Joe as the Commonwealth degraded into social cruelty. The daughter of abusive parents, she was sold into slavery - yes, sold - at 18 years of age and became addicted to Psycho to cope with the trauma of then murdering them for what they put her through. The Hobo finds her at the Combat Zone, strung out and down on her luck. A fellow shotgun wielder, once-cleaned of her addiction, she's the perfect partner to administer the Hobo's version of Commonwealth Justice. She also personifies Abby from the film, or rather represents what Abby could've turned into if the Hobo had not intervened. Pursing romance is optional. I didn't. Other options are Deacon, McCready, and Dogmeat.

3280060559?profile=RESIZE_710xFaction: Railroad. Nope, he really didn't benefit from any of the perks, but boy, did it fit with the roleplay. Taking down a major secret organization that replaces people with artificial beings, victimizes both humans and synths, and instills fear in the lives of most of the Commonwealth? Establishing safe houses? Being the underdog in a world full of teleporting coursers, monsters, and BoS in Power Armor? Yes, sign the Hobo up. I also helped Preston in the beginning, but ended up refusing the position of General and I also helped the BoS through entering the Prydwen. But by then I was already a member of the Railroad and actually roleplayed entering the airship as gathering intel for them.

Other Quests: Mainquest (Railroad version), Cabot House, Human Error (side with Honest Dan), Benign Intervention, Silver Shroud, the Big Dig (Side with Hancock), Diamond City Blues (oh, kill that mayor), Confidence Man. Any quests that deal with helping settlements once they're established.

Main Settlements: Hangman's Alley (built as a main hub for vagrants), Oberland Station, Bunker Hill, and Jamaica Plain. I ran supply lines between all of them and always made sure to do any quests the settlers asked of me and to be available when settlements were under attack. Minor settlements were Tenpine's Bluff, Abarnathy, and Sanctuary Hills. These were only developed to the point where the settlers were comfortable and then the Hobo would move on in his search for Shaun. The settlements were for the settlers, not for him.

It is interesting to note that I played this build using purely basegame assets, meaning no dlc and... it really fit this build well. There are less enemy spawns, less items, less flexibility with regard to settlement-building, which, to me, actually enhanced the gameplay. Settlements were more like sleeping bag refugee camps, designed to house the homeless the best that a Hobo could with the scant materials he had, rather than fancy settlements with every convenience. They looked more like raider camps in many ways. Wandering the streets of Boston, especiallly before the arrival of the Prydwen, was almost eerily quiet at times, adding, at least to me, an element of tension that I've not had yet in the game. Finding a bed to crash for the night, living without a permanent settlement, only carrying what I needed and moving on. I slept in the Railroad Headquarters, any bed I could find. Same experience came at the Glowing Sea. It was just the Hobo and Cait for long stretches, avoiding the monsters there unless engagement was absolutely necessary. It really gave a sense of scope and isolation to the game, which took away from some of the comedy of the movie. Darknening it a little.

Ultimately, playing the Hobo is about one man attempting to make a difference in a world that has literally gone to shit. 



Whew! This this the second fastest I've put together a build. I'm getting better at this! I want to thank my usuals, of course. Phil, Karver, Teineeva, and the Workshop, but I want to send special thanks to Amornar and Mottyskills for making this awesome event. Another special thanks goes to Legion. I no longer have a computer, so I'm working off my old laptop and now play these games on ps4. As of yet, I've not figured out how to take screenshots, so Legion graciously stepped in and offered to take screenshots of the Hobo for me. I was not disappointed and I hope you're not disappointed with their treatment here, Legion. His screenshots are the images for the S.P.E.C.I.A.L, perkspread, extra image in the gameplay section and the final build image. Thank you, very much. 

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  • I could have sworn there's a movie out there called "Hobo with a Shogun". Am I dreaming things again?

    • It's called Mad Max :D

      • Well yeah there is that movie. Would you be disappointed if I said I’ve yet to see Mad Max?

  • Is it weird the song Angel with a Shotgun played through my head re-reading this?

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