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Fallout 4

Settlements Overview

Nathan Garvin

Throughout the Commonwealth you’ll find areas you can develop as settlements. The main questline doesn’t require you to do this very often (although claiming - if not developing - settlements is a core component of the Minuteman faction questline), but there’s plenty of incentive to develop settlements, including caps, scrap, a safe haven, and of course the XP you’ll gain from building. What you want to gain out of developing settlements will determine your investment; the floor is low enough that this aspect of the game can either be a non-issue, and the ceiling is high enough that building settlements can become a serious timesink.

If you want to just have a port in the storm, your requirements will be pretty low. You might just need a bed where you can recover lost HP, or perhaps a Water Pump to achieve the same end. If you want to be real fancy you can even set up a Decontamination Arch and some sort of generator to power it, which will allow you to remove Rads, too. Toss in a container to stash loot (provided the native Workshop isn’t sufficient for your needs, for whatever reason) and you’re good to go. This won’t get you anything in the way of wealth or resources, but it will help ensure your HP bar stays full and monochromatic.

Should you want to turn a profit from your settlements, however, you’ll need to lure in settlers and keep them happy. You do this by ensuring your settlement has enough [Resources]: Food, Water, Beds and to a lesser extent, Defense. All of this is covered in more detail on its own page, but you’ll want at least one unit of Food and Water production and one Bed per settler, and while Defense is more complicated in its functionality it should far exceed your settler count.

One settler can tend six Food worth of crops, while Water doesn’t require any settler investment, just the resources to build the pumps or purifiers that yield water. Each settler requires one Food and Water, but any excess produced by a settlement may be placed in that settlement’s Workshop, which can then be shared with other settlements (provided you have a supply chain established), consumed by the native settlers during a shortage, or, better yet, taken by you.

Food and Water are good and all (especially in Survival difficulty), but for the effort of developing a settlement you probably want something more lucrative. There are two ways to make greater gains from settlements, one of which is easy, the other requires some investment. In the first case, you can just build Scavenging Stations and assign excess settlers to them. This will cause them to scour the Commonwealth for scrap, which they’ll recover and deposit in the Workshop. This can include a variety of Junk and Aid items, the former of which may include rare components, like Ballistic Fiber. In the second case you can build shops and assign settlers to oversee them. They’ll function like merchants, allowing you to buy and sell goods from the safety and comfort of your own settlement, and they’ll pay you a portion of the store’s profits, depositing Bottlecaps in your Workshop periodically.

While settlements tend to accumulate loot slowly, assigning numerous settlers to farming, Scavenging Stations and/or shops in each settlement can, when you have many well-developed and populated settlements, yield quite an amount of food, water, cash and scrap. Once you’re well established, you can just fast travel between settlements collecting resources from each one. By the time you reach the last, the first one will likely have harvested more goods for you to take. Of course, developing settlements properly takes time, materials, and caps, and while the XP from building isn’t insignificant, if you don’t like thoroughly plundering hostile map areas repeatedly, in-depth settlement development probably isn’t going to be something you find engaging.

It also should be noted that not all settlements are created equal. Some may give you generous tracks of land to build on, standing water to use, and little in the way of preexisting (and often unalterable) clutter, while others have serious limitations, forcing you to, find a way to maximize the free space in the middle of an existing town or create some vertical monstrosity in the ruins of what was previously just a Raider-infested alley. While some settlements are less generous than others, a few buildable areas simply cannot be fully developed, functioning more as customizable personal bases rather than burgeoning bastions of potential post-post apocalyptic civilization for you to nurture.

Most settlements require you to complete some quest or other objective before you can claim their Workshop, and hence, the settlement. Oftentimes this is as simple as clearing out the native wildlife, but frequently it involves completing some random faction-specific radiant quest or another… which usually just boils down to going to some other area and killing the enemies there. Some, on the other hand, have more specific quest requirements.

You can find a list of all the potential settlements in the game on the [List of Settlements] page.

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Guide Information
  • Publisher
    Bethesda Softworks
  • Platforms,
    PC, PS4, XB One
  • Genre
  • Guide Release
    16 December 2015
  • Last Updated
    11 May 2024
    Version History
  • Guide Author
    Nathan Garvin, Greg Wright

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It’s just another day. Having just been accepted into Vault 111, you spend the morning with your family going about your daily routine. That is until alarms blare out, signalling a nuclear attack. You and your family sprint towards the Vault along with everyone else in the neighborhood just as a bomb explodes nearby. After surviving the blast, you are lowered into the Vault and enter cryosleep. Two hundred years pass and you awake to a world ravaged by nuclear war. You are the Sole Survivor and what awaits you is a mystery as you set out to conquer the Wasteland.

Our guide will be a complete companion while you journey through the wilds of Fallout 4. You can find a plethora of information including the following:

  • A start to finish walkthrough with every area in between covered.
  • Combat details, SPECIAL explanation and general gameplay information.
  • VATS And You!: Getting to know your PIPBOY.
  • All faction quests explained including the consequences of favoring one over the others.
  • Information on Settlements and items for construction.
  • Bobblehead locations, collectibles and full Trophy/Achievement guide.
  • Settlement Guide complete with how to set up and manage settlements, what perks are beneficial etc.
  • Companion chapter detailing each companion character, where to acquire them and the pros/cons of each.
  • A detailed Character Creation guide fully examining the best builds and what each perk does.
  • Automatron and Wasteland Workshop DLC information provided, including a full walkthrough for Automatron.
  • A complete walkthrough of the “Far Harbor” DLC complete with information on every side quest.

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