CUSTOM CHARACTER GENERATION
You can forego one of the pre-made classes and create a unique class. What you put into your class depends upon your own desires and ideas, but there are a few tricks you can use to help your character.
ATTRIBUTES: The basic class you are creating starts with all attributes set at 50 (maybe or maybe not modified by race). You may add as many points to any attribute as you would like, but you must also subtract an equal number of points from other attributes. These stats are the minimum requirements for the class. When you roll up your character, your stats will be equal to or higher than these, plus youll have a few bonus points to distribute as youd like. The two attributes which are most often sacrificed are Personality and Luck.
Two areas where your attributes directly affect your game play, regardless of your class, are your Encumberance and your Fatigue. The amount of weight which you can carry (your Encumberance) is 1.5 times your Strength. The amount of time you can keep on trucking without having to rest (your fatigue) is equal to your Strength plus your Endurance.
SKILLS: You must choose your skills for your new class. While the choices depend upon your character concept, there are a few items that will make life easier:
1) You should always take a melee weapon (even Hand-to-Hand) as either a Primary or Major skill. Be careful that you dont take a weapon skill you will later regret when you start adding disadvantages (it's kind of silly to take Blunt Weapon as a Primary Skill and then restrict your class from using it).
2) Some skills (Medical, Stealth, Dodging, Critical Strike, etc.) will develop on their own. Placing one as a Primary or Major skill will give it a head start, but they are difficult to develop once you hit skill level 50. This is especially true of Medical. Once it hits 50, the only way to develop the skill is to rest frequently and for short periods of time.
3) Taking even a single School of Magic as a Primary, Major or Minor skill will give you starting spells.
4) Once you reach skill 51% in any skill you will no longer be able to get training in that skill. From that point you must develop it on your own for the rest of the game.
There are a couple of schools of thought on which skills to place as Primaries and Majors. One argument says to place the skills you will be using most frequently in these slots. This will help you gain levels quickly, but will also mean tougher critters at an earlier point in the game. The opposite argument says to put less-used skills in these slots so you can have some measure of control over when you go up in levels. The drawback to this is developing those skills past 50 since you have to do it without training.
HIT POINTS PER LEVEL: The default is 8 points per level. I originally believed that someone at Bethesda had a really sick sense of humor on this issue, but have since revised my opinion. It has been well over a year since any of my characters have had more than 12 points per level (usually 10) and they survive quite nicely. There is a mistake in the documentation regarding the number of health points you gain with each level. You get somewhere between 50% and 100% of your points plus any bonus for your Endurance with each level gain. If your points are set at 8, then youll get somewhere between 4 and 8 points of health with each level gain. If theyre set at 30, youll get between 15 and 30. The more hit points you add, the higher the difficulty dagger will go.