You're S.P.E.C.I.A.L.! – Mad Men Edition

by Laleh Tobin on Oct 02, 2015 at 10:30 AM

After my initial playthroughs of Bethesda’s open-world games, I have been known to make several challenging character builds to mix things up in subsequent adventures. While re-watching Mad Men in anticipation of the DVD release of the final season (we don’t have cable – no spoilers, please!), my husband and I got to talking about how the show’s many-faceted characters would survive Fallout 4’s wasteland.

Magnetic, mysterious, and undeniably brilliant, Donald Draper would rely on his wits and powers of persuasion to charm his way through the Wasteland. Put your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points into Strength and Charisma. Focus on leveling Speech (in order to talk your way out of any situation), choose the Lady Killer perk (for extra dialogue options with female NPCs), and be sure to keep plenty of whiskey on hand to avoid withdrawal.

Clever and highly adaptable, Peggy Olson is a capable woman living in a man’s world. She may not have the charisma of her mentor from the get-go, but she’ll survive post-apocalyptia unscathed if she puts her mind to it. Put your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points into Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. Choose the Swift Learner and Comprehension perks early on (to level all your skills doubly quick). For extra fun, take advantage of the Mysterious Stranger perk, and imagine it’s Duck showing up out of the blue.

Ambitious but duplicitous, smart but snide, Pete Campbell will do whatever is necessary to get what he wants. Being morally bereft is nothing new in the Fallout universe, and you’ll reap rewards for each and every wrongdoing. Put your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points into Agility and Perception, and be sure to tick the Charisma and Luck skills all the way down to get the full Pete Campbell experience. Focus on Sneak, Lockpick, and Guns, and play through the entire game with your trusty hunting rifle. You might as well choose the Cannibal perk – you’re never going to have good karma anyway.

Selfish, neurotic, and petulant, Betty Draper is attractive at first glance but toxic underneath it all. To be honest, I’m not sure why you would want to be anything like her. Everything she’s got going for her seems to be based on proximity to greatness, rather than any inherent talent. Put your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points into Luck and Charisma, with a focus on Barter. Choose the Child at Heart perk (to unlock special dialogue options with children) and always be a big meanie-face. You shouldn’t have much trouble in the character creator – Betty rocks the Domestic Goddess ‘do. Bonus points for using a BB gun.

Charming and narcissistic, SCDP wouldn’t be the same without Roger Sterling’s antics. A shameless womanizer with loads of cash (and a hefty stock of vodka), he shares a lot of personality traits with Betty, but actually has a sense of humor. Put your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points into Luck and Charisma, but this time choose the Scoundrel, Fortune Finder, and Wild Wasteland perks, and hope for a good trip.

Known for her good looks, but more capable than most of her male peers, Joan (Harris) Holloway might do better for herself after the bombs fall than she did at Sterling Cooper. Incredibly intelligent and always underestimated, Joan will kick some serious butt when dealing with Wasteland wanderers, and her quick thinking, resourcefulness, and knowledge of basic Medicine will help her stay out of any serious trouble. Put your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points into Intelligence, Perception, and Charisma. Choose Black Widow and Action Girl as your perks, don’t be afraid to level up Medicine, and be sure to create a character with Joan’s trademark red hair.

Intuitive, classy, and eccentric, Bertram is the steadfast captain of Sterling Cooper. He may not advertise it, but it’s clear he knows a thing or two about life, the nature of man, and how to get ahead. This quote pretty much sums it up:

“When you hit forty, you realize that you’ve met or seen every kind of person there is, and I know what kind you are because I believe we are alike. ... By that I mean you are a productive and reasonable man but in the end completely self-interested. It’s strength. We are different – unsentimental about all the people who depend upon our hard work.”

He’ll stake a claim of the Wasteland and be a fearless leader in no time (whether his intentions are pure or not). Put your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points into Endurance, Charisma, and Perception. Choose Light Step, Impartial Mediation, and Grim Reaper’s Sprint as your perks. Oh, and don’t forget to sing and dance your way through the Commonwealth.

Perceptive, pragmatic, and constantly *** on, Lane Pryce was once an ambitious, proper man, but the cracks are starting to show. I like to think he’d go Mad Max in Fallout’s Wasteland, straddling the line between good and evil, and punishing anyone who slights him. Put your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points into Strength and Perception, and tick Luck all the way down. Focus on Unarmed and choose Iron Fist and Paralyzing Palm as your perks. 

Nobody seems to know where Bob Benson came from or what he’s up to, but he’s always right behind you and two steps ahead. Put your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points into Agility and Charisma, with a focus on Sneak and Speech. Choose the Silent Running, Infiltrator, and Finesse perks. Take out your enemies without ever being seen, and talk your way out of any sticky situations.

Let’s get real – it’s hardly believable that Meredith could last very long at Sterling Cooper, let alone in post-apocalyptia. This character build is a true challenge, reserved only for the pros and the insane. Turn all of your S.P.E.C.I.A.L points except Luck down to the minimum allowed. Just for the hilarity of it, wear a dress instead of armor, and choose the Bloody Mess and Demolition Expert perks. Be sure to stream this playthrough – it’s something we all want to see.

Disagree with me? Feel free to sound off in the comments!


Special thanks to Jeff Cork, a fellow Mad Men enthusiast, and comic genius of the Game Informer offices.