If you had plans to extract efficient labor from your unsuspecting settlers by spreading anxiety, fear, and all other wonderful ways of negative motivation, I am afraid I have bad news: If a settlement reaches 0 happiness, you will eventually lose control of it and will have to do a rather arduous side-quest, such as killing raiders, in order to regain control.
Indeed, your precious little vassals will produce more food, more junk from scavenging, and more caps from stores if you make them more happy. Also, the recruitment beacon will attract new people much faster if your Happiness score is high. The road of generosity ends with the reward from the game itself, the “Benevolent Leader” achievement upon reaching 100% happiness in any of your settlements.
Should you decide to accept the path of a good leader, in this guide we will walk you through the easiest way to raise your settlement’s Happiness and get each of your settlers to 100 with the most efficient resources available to you.
You can check your settlement’s total Happiness score by opening the Workshops view under the Data menu, or by hovering over the settlement location on your Pip-Boy map.
At its basic level, Happiness score shows whether everybody’s individual needs are met. Make Timothy sleep under rain, serve him screws for breakfast, and let your settlement stand unprotected, and you will guarantee yourself a very unhappy settler. Each settler needs to have a covered bed, a unit of food production, a unit of water production, and accounted for in defense. We will cover this in more detail in the section below.
Beyond these basic needs, added bonus happiness is split among all settlers from various enrichment objects, like stores, a variety of the Vault-Tec Workshop items, and (not quite an object) animal companions. Sadly, your people will not show any appreciation for reduced noise or tasteful decoration.
Events like death of a fellow settler will cause temporary negative adjustments to the settlement’s Happiness (there are also events that cause a temporary boost), so it’s a good idea to go above the maximum score to continue benefiting from production bonuses.
However, should your defense score, sheltered beds, or sustenance resources be lacking, the Happiness score per settler will be capped until the situation is resolved, no matter what bonus Happiness items you have available inside the settlement.
How Do I Make My Settlers Happy?
Crisis Happiness Caps (Start Here)
Start your work by ensuring that there are no Happiness limits inflicted on any of your individual settlers. Each settler needs to have access to a sheltered bed, water, food, and defense.
Make sure that every 24 hours the workshop inventory (settlers can’t access other containers!) or the supply line connection can provide every single one of your settlers with one edible item and one drinkable item. None of your nourishment-deprived settlers will be able to get above 30 points in Happiness. Should this happen to one of your settlers, make sure to replenish the supplies within the next 24 hours.
Make sure that each of your settlers (even your guards!) has an assigned sheltered bed. You may be mad at one of your laborers, but making them sleep in the rain will not win you any favors, limiting them to 60 Happiness.
Finally, make sure your Defense score is higher than your population, or your settlers will be capped at 60 Happiness. If you need help improving that score, check out our Fallout 4 Settlement Defense guide!
Meeting Basic Needs (Getting to 80)
Now that you made sure that none of your people are in crisis, you need to meet their basic needs.
It’s likely that by completing the steps from the previous section you covered these points as well, but here is the breakdown of points:
A bed that is protected from rainfall will count for 20 points (10, if it is uncovered);
One unit of food production for the settler, counting for 20 points;
One unit of water production for the settler, counting for 20 points;
One unit of defense for the settler, counting for 20 points.
If you do a quick math, a covered bed, a food production unit, a water production unit, and a defense unit will get your settler to 80 points of Happiness. Good start!
It’s worth noting that custom Automatrons (from the DLC) will have their happiness locked at 50, never budging a point lower or higher, which means that your average Happiness will take a hit once you get your other settlers’ needs met. Robot companions do not have this effect.
Bonus Happiness (Getting to 100)
Alright, now it’s time to ascend through the lukewarm contentment and into the realm of unbounded human happiness…! Well, a settler’s Happiness can only go as far as 100, but with some events causing a temporary negative effect on the score (for example, a settler’s death), it’s not a bad idea to go above and beyond!
There is a way to temporarily boost your settlement’s happiness should you lack resources for construction (and, say, one settler has inconveniently passed away for an unfortunate reason): coming around to help when a settlement is under attack and completing quests will give a temporary boost to Happiness (or morale). Of course, a better long-term solution is to build items that will provide a permanent bonus!
All of the bonus happiness is divided among each of your settlers, so a Tier 1 Clinic with 10 Happiness points inside a settlement of 5 people will get each settler 2 Happiness points. There are three sources of Bonus Happiness you can tap into: Stores, Animals, and Vault-Tec Workshop Items.
Type of Store
Tier 1 Score
Tier 2 Score
Tier 3 Score
Food and Drink
As you may have noticed, all of the vendor stalls come in 3 tiers (for example, Drink Stand, Bar, and a Restaurant are all different tiers of a Food and Drink store) and provide a higher Happiness score the higher the tier is.
You can capture rare gorillas and introduce domestic cats to the settlement as a part of the the Wasteland Workshop add-on. Gorilla will not only provide Happiness for the settlement, but also some Defense. Keep in mind that pets which can fight need to be kept peaceful with a Beta Wave Emitter.
Vault 88 Overseer’s Desk*
Soda Fountain: Prototype*
Soda Fountain: Mood Enhancement
Soda Fountain: Appetite Suppressant**
Soda Fountain: Caffeinated
Phoropter: Subliminal Messaging**
Phoropter: Vault Monitoring**
Phoropter: Eye Care
Slot Machine: Prototype*
Slot Machine: Profiling
Slot Machine: Lost revenue
*These objects can only be constructed inside the Vault 88.
**These variants have a small mortality chance and thus a potential to kill your Settlers. These and the Mood Enhancement variant for the Soda Fountain will make the first Settler you have ever recruited to the Vault to leave in protest.
Getting the Vault-Tec Workshop and the Wasteland Workshop add-ons will help you in reaching 100 Happiness with your settlers, but it’s likely you will want stores anyway for the extra Caps, easily accessible goods, and for the satisfaction in watching your Settlers gather around a food store for dinner.
Of course, nobody is saying that you can’t have that and some weight benches to ensure that your Settlers are getting regular exercise…
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