The atomic ashes birthed new factions to give identity to the wasteland, each with their unique locations to call “home.” The Brotherhood of Steel chose Prydwen, the Minutemen went for the Castle, and the Institute picked MIT. Settlements are an integral component of Fallout 4. It offers us the means to let our creativity take flight by transforming war-torn ruins into beautiful homes for ourselves and our fellow friendly NPC-dwellers. If you are looking for a safe resting place where you can also re-arm, FO4 settlements are the best way to go.
From a small village made of wooden shacks to a huge metal fortress with laser turrets gracing every wall, Fallout 4’s workshops offer tools for you to shape the wasteland as you like. If you want to forge your own path in the Commonwealth with a new settlement, this is the much-needed Fallout 4 settlement guide for you!
How to Unlock Settlements
It is not a Fallout settlements guide unless you know your first settlement encounter. Sanctuary Hills is the first settlement you will encounter, and you will soon discover it to be your previous home before the ravages of the war changed the course of history. Once you are out of the vault, feel free to work on building it right away. You will find the customary red workbench located at every settlement. Following your interaction with it, you can access ‘Workshop Mode’ by pressing down the button or key used to adjust your character view by default.
We recommend completing the ‘When Freedom Calls’ quest by saving Preston Garvey, the Minuteman, from the company of Raiders exercising control of Concord right down the road from where you are. This move will allow you to unlock more settlements in the near future by finishing Minutemen side quests. Preston and the other survivors will go to Sanctuary Hills and kickstart the side quest ‘Sanctuary,’ wherein Sturges will ask you for help with a couple of tasks to make the Sanctuary more livable. From building beds to planting food, there’s where you familiarize yourself with the settlement mechanics.
Things to Know When Handling A Settlement
Regardless of which settlement you come across, the way is the same for all: gather raw materials and build things by scrapping them. It can be as small as a simple screwdriver on the ground to as big as an entire building. In the process, scan the settlement for natural resources like water sources and plants.
Essentially, there are 5 main components needed to create Fallout settlements:
Of course, the amount required for each of these depends largely on the number of settlers in each settlement. A deficit in any of these components results in low happiness levels among the settlers.
You can recruit vendors as high as level 4 across the wasteland to come work at your settlement, but note that there are preconditions. Whether a prospective recruit will join you depends on several things, including minimum population demands that you must fulfill first. Here are the vendors you can invite to your settlement as a recruit:
- The Scribe: Armor Specialist (Armor Emporium): Population Demand: 10
- Doc Anderson: Clinic Specialist (Surgery Center): Population Demand: 20
- Ann Hargraves: Clothing Specialist (Clothing Emporium): Population Demand: N/A
- Ron Staples: Food & Drink Specialist (Restaurant): Population Demand: 20
- Vault-Tec Rep (Trading Emporium): Population Demand: N/A
- Rylee (Trading Emporium): Population Demand: N/A
- Holt Combes: (Trading Emporium): Population Demand: N/A
- Smiling Larry: Weapons Specialist (Weapons Emporium): Population Demand: 30
You must have the recruitment radio beacon to attract vendors into your settlement. The beacon must be connected to the power grid via a wire to inform people of a viable living place.
If you can’t destroy a home for an exchange of a newly built one, it’s best to simply put a bed in it. By looking at it, you can gauge whether a room used to be some kind of a bedroom, and if you deem it fit, place a bed smack in the middle. A bed is, of course, an essential component in maintaining the happiness levels in Fallout settlements.
There needs to be one bed for each person in the settlement, and you can even add an extra one for yourself. You may or may not assign settlers to specific beds, and you can also offer extra ones to a few of them, but that won’t make a difference in the happiness meter. Extra beds won’t attract new settlers, but it will keep the settlement’s happiness level intact even if a few people move in.
To make beds, go to Furniture and then Beds in the Settlement Management screen. Simply breaking down the scraps at the Sanctuary’s ruined homes will provide enough material to make the initial beds, but settlers are just as content even if you offer so much as a mattress on the floor.
This is understandably a major factor in the success of your Fallout settlement. You can collect plants across the wasteland, especially from the existing gardens in other towns. Plant them, and harvest them once they grow. You can replant them to expand your food supply. Always be on the lookout for viable foods that can be planted. Note that a settler must be assigned to oversee the growth of plants.
The next thing in line is a good water supply. Normal pumps that go in the dirt or purification stations are good to go for this purpose. Water must be present in surplus, and the higher it is, the happier your settlers will be. Water Purification stations can be put in the stream near the bridge, and a power generator will be required to do that. Normal pumps are simple to place, so you will probably already have the materials you need to make one.
Much like food, water is also regularly deposited in the Workshop Inventory, depending on the amount you have. Unlike food, you can go overboard with this since settlers don’t work your water pumps. Water will continue being deposited in the inventory every 30 minutes to an hour, and you can either sell it for caps or use it to heal.
Wires usually limit how far they can be stretched, so while placing a purification pump in the stream, try putting the generator nearby to avert the use of more resources in the form of power poles to hang wires. Simply select the thing that needs power, tap on the Space bar, and bam- you can now attach a wire to the power pole or generator.
To attach something at a considerable distance, you might need to put up one too many power poles. You can also draw power from a nearby power source; for example, if you have a light source nearby where you are already feeding power, hope a wire from that to the other thing nearby.
Happiness is essentially the measure of the Settlers’ contentment with the inter-working systems, and it tends to improve their overall efficiency. The more excess food and surplus scavenging resources, the happier your Fallout settlements become. Barring food, water, and bed, you can ensure happiness by assigning roles to everyone. Look for the red icon to locate unemployed settlers. If you already have the food required to feed settlers successfully, assign them scavenging positions. If you have surplus food, you might be attacked by Raiders.
A random encounter with a fellow wasteland resident willing to sell you a dog can boost your happiness meter. The settlement it is sent to will be a little happier. Also, having shops, you can purchase or build with Local Leader rank 2 will improve happiness.
- Supply Line
If you have the Local Leader Perk (charisma 6), feel free to establish Supply Lines. You can achieve this only if you select someone named ‘Settler.’ Choose them with the Settlement Management screen and assign them ‘establish supply line.’ Direct them where you must go, and that’s all there is to it. This is highly useful for building new towns since you will have access to all materials, weapon and armor modifications items, etc. You will also save up on considerable travel time, especially for Survival difficulty level players.
If your settlement has surplus food and water, other settlements can be connected to it, though you will not see that in the connected Fallout settlement food stats. Your total food or water production in a settlement can be subtracted from the number of settlers present in the settlement. This way, some settlements will not even need farmers or water pumps because they are connected to supply lines.
- Defense Stat
Defense is an integral aspect of happiness. The wasteland is ripe for rape and pillage, so settlers need to be assured that they are safe. Guard posts and automated gun turrets will help you with this. Some simple gun turrets do not require power, yet can still butcher Raiders with your assistance and the help of people you have assigned as defenders. Preston Garvey can also be assigned to this task a little later in the quest.
In the case of the Sanctuary, the main entrance is the bridge, so build guard posts (preferably, the tall one) along with a couple of turrets. With higher defense, your settlement will be attacked less. Alternatively, lower defense and a high amount of food, water, and bed stat will attract mire Raiders.
That’s all there is to know about the Fallout settlements. Make sure you check the Happiness meter of the settlements you establish to keep a smooth system running. Admittedly, this is a hefty amount of responsibility on your shoulders, akin to a politician or a local leader in our modern context, so make sure you are smart about the distribution of power- literally and figuratively. Good luck, and do not let your settlers live unhappily!