Nuclear Autumn/Hardcore Strategy

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Nuclear Autumn can be slow going, especially in hardcore, but learning what to expect can speed up your run significantly.

General tips

  • Go through several times. The first few runs of Nuclear Autumn are likely to be very slow and difficult, but as you unlock new levels in your Fallout shelter, it gets easier. Expect that your first few runs will take a week or two each. As you build up, you'll learn how to manage your Radiation Sickness, and get access to better items and buffs.
  • From the Deli Lama, your only option is the astral pilsners, as the hot dogs and energy drinks can't be used.
  • From Pet Heaven, an astral belt, pet sweater, or trousers might be what you want. The astral shirt can be used, but you'll have to complete Melvign's quest first -- this is probably not worth it.
  • Survival can be more difficult with more Radiation Sickness.
  • Without so many skills, you're not going to run out of MP often. As you get more skills, this may become an issue.
  • Since you don't retain permed skills, and don't have guild access, class choice is a matter of innate traits and the two Nuclear Autumn specific skills.
  • Players with few IOTMs may struggle to get usable food and drink every day. Farming the Noob Cave to get oranges/lemons and popsicle sticks for decent-quality food is one approach, and has the benefit of being easy rad farming as well, albeit at the cost of turnbloat. Booze is harder to come by -- you can farm the Barrel Full of Barrels for shots of schnapps, but that's probably not reliable enough for positive turngen without a Barrel God Shrine. With enough +item, farming Imp Ales during the L6 quest is borderline turn-positive, but probably not after the quest is over. For the most part, you may wind up not making full use of your liver a lot of the time (and stomach sometimes).
  • Your Wrist-Boy is always useful. If you have the meat, get one quickly and try to keep a Wrist Boy buff up all the time. You will almost always have at least one buff you need to speed up your run at any given time.
  • A Nosy Nose familiar offers a poor-man's version of Olfaction for players that don't have the ability to copy monsters or obtain them by fax-equivalent.


  • Turngen skills should be the first ones to get. Whenever possible, don't eat until you get Extra Gall Bladder, and don't drink until you get Extra Kidney. Ideally (once you unlock the Underground Record Store), eat and drink only when you have Record Hunger and Drunk and Avuncular up, which brings your adventures per day up closer to levels you might expect in a typical path.
  • If you can afford it, you should have a record buff up all the time, especially when you get access to the underground Record Store. Balancing these buffs goes a long way. As of September 19, you can shrug these effects, so be sure to do so.
  • Elemental Resistance is difficult to get with no perms. It might be best to wait to complete the The Haunted Kitchen until you get Metallic Skin and Flappy Ears.
  • With the 8-Bit Realm revamp, Damage Absorption is important. Both skills Adipose Polymers and Magic Sweat can help cap the DA test.


IOTMs likely to help

  • Designer sweatpants are very strong in this path with its organ cleansing ability. Combined with tiny stillsuit and astral pilsners, it is fairly easy to fill the liver though distillate receives no bonuses from skills, so it’s better to drink at 11-12 adventures and if it would beat other 1-liver booze. Most awesome booze beats it at lower levels.
  • Delevels can be important as combat can be difficult in 4-5 day runs and at early progression. Mumming trunk and any undead familiar, such as Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot or Vampire Vintner, who both provide delevels and healing on their own, can trivialize any late-run combat.
    • Vampire Vintner wines are unaffected by Nuclear Autumn skills so you cannot rely on it as a source of booze. Any decent-size or good-size drink would beat it.
  • The Time-Spinner gives access to an epic fullness-1 food (Tea, Early Grey, Hot), and an epic drunk-1 booze (Kardassian Gin). It also helps you to make the most of limited epic food by allowing you to eat it more than once. Also, the ability to fight a recent monster is important since you lack any queue management abilities or olfaction.
  • The Protonic accelerator pack gives more rads.
  • The Clan VIP Lounge key give access to:
  • The Source Terminal gives powerful buffs and can still be found in your Fallout Shelter. You can't use the food and beverages, but the digitize and duplicate skills helps a lot.
  • Chateau Mantegna gives potions, access to repeated creatures, and an easy way to rest.
  • The Snojo gives epic 1-fullness food and epic 1-drunken booze.
  • The Detective school application gives awesome fullness-1 food and drunk-1 booze that also gives a +50 Monster Level buff.
  • The Deck of Every Card can speed up early-game leveling. Ancestral Recall and Islands are also especially useful since they give extra Adventures per day, which are in short supply. Cheating for a mine card is also helpful since Lucky Adventures are in such short supply.
  • Familiars in general are still accessible and useful.
  • The Machine Elf gives great leveling buffs, especially 1-spleen items.
  • The Fist Turkey drops epic drunkness-1 booze that also buffs you.

IOTMs that won't help

  • The Witchess Set is inaccessible.
  • No Gardens or Worksheds are available.
Ascension Strategy
Rankings: HC Skills - HC Familiars - HC IotMs
General: Class selection - Familiar usage - Lucky adventures
Paths: BHY - Fist - AoB - BI - ZS - AoJ - BIG! - KOLHS - CA2 - AoSP - SS - HR - Picky - Ed - Random - AoWoL - Source - NA - GN - LtA - L.A.R. - PF - G-Lover - DD
Additional Paths: DG - 2CRS - KoE - PotP - LKS - GG - Y,Robot - QT - WF - GY - JM - FotD
IotMs: Tomes - Faxing - Copying - YR - Garden - Correspondent - Workshed - Tea party - Florist