Your Favorite Tryhard Build (For Vanilla)

Since CDDA is largely a sandbox game, for the purposes of this comparison the important parameters I will be using for world / character creation are: 1) No mods, 2) Standard multi pool character (6 stat points, 12 perks, 2 skills) 3) Mostly standard settings (season length I always put down to 30 so I can see more then one on a typical play through, and I also turn on wander npcs)

Starting Scenario: Burning building - I always go for this since its a flexible start, but also gives 2 points which is perfect for the profession I want my character to be. I usually go school since its easy to grab a backpack and also get all the starting books you need from the library, but house start is nice as well for early clothing and tools.

Starting Profession: Bionic Game Master - For a tryhard run I always consider this to be the best starting class in the game due to the dungeon master passive, and the bionics you start with. 1) Dungeon master gives +10% read speed which is nice, but also lets you read any higher intelligence book without penalty, allowing you to not have to worry about int as much for hard books. 2) The cerebral booster bionic is a free +2 int (which I take advantage of in stats later), and Enhanced Memory banks is great for both getting more gains from books and crafting, but most importantly melee combat gains.

Stats: 8 Str, 12 Dex, 6 Int, 12 Per - I prefer putting stats in dex / per since I will mostly be using knife based weapons, then later transitioning to guns. This gives a large bonus together to critical hit chance, dodging, 1 tile extra night vision, and various other actions that dex and per help. Int is at 6 since the cerebral booster bionic will get it back up to 8. Honestly you could also go 12 Str, 12 Dex, 6 int, 8 Per if you want to get strength based bonuses / use bashing weapons.


  1. Quick and 2) fleet footed - I’m putting these together since their purpose is largely combined: you can simply outwalkalmost everything early game (zombie dogs, feral runners, tough zombies etc). This makes looting super easy to just house jump, grab starting clothing and tools, then go to a safe place along a city outskirt to set up an early camp.

  2. Indefatigable - Larger stamina reserve helps you melee longer, and is also good for times when you have to run.

  3. Parkour Expert - This is in my opinion the best skill early game for looting and killing groups of zombies. Just lead them through cars, bushes, pits, or other obstacles and stab the crap out of them with a starting knife. Also makes climbing downspouts and jumping off roofs easy for losing big groups of zombies. Also if you are lucky enough to find a small dump or scrap yard in a city you can just dance through it to kill massive hoards of zombies.

  4. Robust Genetics - I still just consider robust genetics just too good late game not to take. Even if you mess around with mutagens to try and get it later in the game, the starting trait is unpurifiable, and you get it for free without any hastle. That and honestly with the other 9 perks we have taken so far there really isnt much else we need - the best other option I can think of is night vision / deft to make early game easier, but both lose use over time when you get night vision googles and higher level melee stats / switch to guns.

Skills - None! We have no more points left, and skills really aren’t important anyway for how easy they are to level.

So in conclusion this is my favorite go to build. You can also do the same thing with regular Dungeon Master, it will just be slower leveling without the cerebral booster and enhanced memory banks boosts. If anyone has a build they like I would love to hear it and compare what selections you think work best for character creation.


If you read through the bows and crossbows rebalance notes thread, you’ll see a lot of discussion about a 18 strength, 4 dex, 8 int, 4 perception build. Seems like a pretty strong build with relatively light min-maxing.

Also a lot of arguing that effectively points out that strength is really strong and PROBABLY needs to get re-balanced at some point, especially if you don’t plan to go into any of the dex martial arts.

The ultra strength bows got a little outlandish in terms of range and firepower, they kind of got off into fantasy dragon-bow territory - which would be fine if they lived off in fantasy conversion mods like Magiclysm as specialty weapons, but feel weird when they outperform .50 cal sniper rifles in cdda main.

To be clear, I don’t actually have a problem with the idea of some uber-bow made of advanced military composites, actuated cams and carbon nanotube strings firing micro-grenade arrows that compete with rifles and RPGs - but I’d suggest that the real burden should be finding the necessary components and recipies for MAKING the bows and the skills required to create and use them, rather than having them be trivial to make, save for the bar of an absurd birth stat requirement.

That strength limit just forces extreme idiot-savant builds, which aren’t very interesting to play.

I’d like to point out that it is no longer possible to start with 18 strength and the Greatbow got extremely nerfed since that thread.

Yeah was about to say that. The best you can do is 14 strength, then +2 from going a profession that starts with the muscle augmentation bionic.

Yeah, I haven’t tried them lately, so they may well be fine now - as a design point, I’d generally be cautious about implementing anything that uses hard stat requirements, rather than falloffs and penalties, as it tends to lead to very artificial builds.

Lab start + computers lv.5-6 so you hack everything fairly reliably - everything else is pretty optional after that. Just go outfit yourself at a barracks.

Back when Auto-docs were safe, i’d play a prototype cyborg and rush finding an operating theater to remove the faulty bionics (I RP it as: being a test dummy --> my data was used as a “base” auto-doc profile).

Now, i’m partial to the lab-grown bodyguard and starting with a ridiculous 19 str.

good to have some official evidence that my info is outdated :stuck_out_tongue:

My most common build is usually a crash site military recruit with 11/11/11/8 & bookworm, fast reader, night vision, light step, less sleep, glass jaw, truth teller, fast metabolism, and one or two other misc disads.

No skills other than profession of course.

This build gives a virtually guaranteed start as the crash site is mostly safe and you start with great gear (including M1A), though usually at least two of your limbs are pretty badly hurt - but you just find a nice farmhouse/cabin with books and settle down to read and craft your way through the first day or two which gives you good fab/tailoring and lets you heal up, at which point you’re good to move very quickly into early mid-game raiding and vehicles.

Not as strong in the late game, as its stats are unremarkable, and some of its traits are effectively duped by later gear such as light amps.

Currently I’m shifting my play style towards more of a mutant/lab start with less bookish traits and better stats - and most importantly robust genetics for a mutant endgame build, I’ve also swapped out light step for weak scent since discovering how effectively crouching negates your sound.