Everything you want to know about skills and some tips about them.
Table of Contents
- Skills Overview – Indifferent And Interested And No Modifier; Incapable
- Skills – Secrets, Tips, Tricks
- Skills – Combat And Related Mechanics
- Skills – Construction And Related Mechanics
- Skills – Cooking And Related Mechanics
- Skills – Crafting And Related Mechanics
- Skills – Farming And Related Mechanics
- Skills – Healing And Related Mechanics
- Skills – Intellect And Related Mechanics
- Skills – Physical And Related Mechanics
Skills Overview – Indifferent And Interested And No Modifier; Incapable
Some notes on these three factors:
Incapable is self-explanatory. You can’t do whatever is related to this skill. I don’t know what would happen if you went on an expedition and have an option to level up this skill. Regardless, leveling up a skill that you can’t do is a complete waste.
Pacifists will not butcher animals. They will haul but not equip weapons. They will haul meat.
Incapable in construction means unable to deconstruct AND unable to repair. Probably a bad choice to be the last one to leave the planet.
Incapable in farming means sowing and harvesting. They can still haul vegetables that are on the ground/in storage.
Incapable in healing also means not healing themselves. Bad choice to be among the last to leave the planet.
There’s no such thing as being incapable of physical.
Interested: This does two things. First, when a character is doing anything that uses this skill, they get +18 happiness. Second, they gain double experience.
Indifferent: This does two things. First, when a character is doing anything that uses this skill, they get -18 happiness. Second, they get half normal experience.
No modifier: Character gains normal experience. Their mood doesn’t change.
Editor’s notes: Incapable skills aren’t as bad as they seem because there will be some things a character will never do. For example, it’s a good idea to have your builder never farm. Your builder should spend the daylight time building, and your farming should spend their daylight time farming. If there’s nothing to build or farm, there’s always something else they can do like craft or cook or cut or scavenge. However, having two characters that are both incapable of the same skill could possibly be a bad match depending on your mix of skills on your team. Being incapable is usually accompanied by being REALLY good at something as a result.
A good example of this is Krysta. She’s the best researcher in the game but can’t craft. That really doesn’t matter a single bit because you’re going to have her at the research desk nearly the entire time anyways. She’ll research so fast that she can help out with other stuff if there’s nothing to research, or you can use the time she saves with her genius trait to also have her cook.
On the other hand, you have poor ole Naras who is a pacifist but excels at nothing. At least he never meltdowns and is an obvious candidate for hauling/handling stuff (kinda, see his character page).
Interested is good, but I don’t think it’s as good as people think. The happiness buff’s two main advantages are that you can euphoria easier and you can power-through risking a meltdown to get something critically important finished. For example, if someone is severely bleeding and your main healer is risking a meltdown — having them heal the person will probably avoid that meltdown until they finish healing instead of during healing, which could be very bad.
Double experience is nice, but if this person is dedicated to this skill, they’re going to level it very fast anyways. I think the sole exception to this is an interest in crafting. You need winter clothes sooner rather than later and a fur coat requires 2 but gets no-fail at level 5. Failing a fur coat can mean the difference between a character freezing or being just fine.
Indifferent is obviously not good and you should have this character avoid doing this unless they absolutely must. If they aren’t risking a meltdown and it’s a one-time thing, it won’t matter. You should deprioritize it or even not prioritize it at all and only have them do this if you specifically order it. It’s probably better to have someone else get full exp for it.
Skills – Secrets, Tips, Tricks
- Certain modifiers are essentially “interested” in hyper mode. Grayson, for example, crafts and constructs anything with wood x4 faster. This means he gets experience x4 times faster when constructing wooden buildings! If you thought that was good, he is also interested in crafting, meaning he can make spears four times as fast and gets x2 the experience. So, he can make 4 spears in the time it takes someone to make 1 AND he gets double exp. A spear gives 600 exp. This means a normal person would make one spear and get 600 exp. Grayson will make 4 spears in that same time and get an insane 4800 experience. That’s basically going from level 4 to 5 in just six hours of game time. Vivien is the same, but with fabrics instead of wood.
- Movement can drastically affect acquiring skills. Again, using Grayson as an example, he is a slowpoke meaning he moves 25% slower. So, while he can build fortifications x4 faster, it takes him 25% longer to walk to them. Basically, he’s not getting x4 experience; he’s getting less than that. Laara, on the other hand, farms twice as fast AND moves 25% faster. Since she has to walk from one plant to the next, she actually gains farming experience more than twice as fast as a normal person. This actually affects all skills because …
- More time walking = less experience. Sometimes this is unavoidable like building fortifications or running to go cut down some trees*. However, how you design your base is in your control and a good base layout cuts down on walking time. How you should do this is pretty logical. The stove should be near your stored food. Your crafting materials should be near your crafting benches. Your iron ore should be near your smelters. Your silicon should be near your soldering bench/printer etc. You’ll get more experience and more items!
*Plant trees near your stockpiles.
- As you probably gathered — characters that move faster can gain experience faster, sometimes MUCH faster depending on what they are doing. Essentially, the more moving it takes to do something, the faster they will level. So, sowing will go up much faster for the farming skill and cutting trees will make physical good up much faster. Likewise, walking to the research desk is just one trip and they don’t move so walking there slowly barely matters.
- Manipulation affects many skills — namely cooking, crafting, healing, combat, and physical. Therefore, having adequate lighting when doing these things will increase the speed you do them and the exp gain.
Skills – Combat And Related Mechanics
Combat determines three basic things:
Attack rate: How fast you attack with the equipped weapon. The low number is your speed at level 10. The high number is your speed at level 0.
Hit chance: It’s your chance to hit with the equipped weapon. The low number is your chance to hit at level 0. The high number is your chance to hit at level 10.
Crit chance: It’s your chance to score a critical hit with the equipped weapon. The low number is your chance to crit at level 0. The high number is your chance to crit at level 10.
Leveling up combat: The main way to level up combat is fighting raids and hunting game. While shooting/meleeing, you’ll slowly gain exp. When a character lands a kill blow/shot, they’ll get a one-time exp bonus. There are three other ways to level combat. First, you can punch the pole and shoot the target when relaxing. This gives very little experience, but it will eventually push you from level 0 to 1 in the course of a game. It can also be used if you’re REALLY close to leveling up. The other way is the character Jack will teach other characters if they are near him. See his section for how this works. Lastly, the berserk meltdown will give combat exp while you break things :p
Additional notes about combat:
Combat is connected to butchering, but butchering does not give combat exp nor does combat increase its speed. This is important because not only will a pacifist not hunt, they will also not butcher. They will haul meat, though.
Slaughtering gives the same exp as a killing blow.
Pacifists can be drafted but they obviously won’t fight or equip weapons. Drafting is solely to move them around.
A character’s combat skill seems to affect their “unarmed” (knife) ability. They will attack faster, hit more often, and crit more often although I’m unsure what the knife’s stats are. In additional, characters with a higher combat skill seem to be more likely to execute a double attack with unarmed and melee (spear and laser pike weapons). This is two attacks in very quick succession.
Crit chance does double damage. It greatly increases the chance of inflicting bleeding.
Hit chance is affected by some other factors beyond the basics. First, shooting while it’s dark increases the chance to miss for survivors but I’ve never seen mobs miss due to darkness. Second, mobs have an increased chance to miss if you are elevated in a defense tower. I’m unsure what the %s are on these, but they are quite high — maybe 20%?
The manipulation body function affects chance to hit/miss. This means characters with manipulation bonuses are good fighters and vice versa. This also means anything that increases/decreases manipulation affects combat. The most obvious one is nighttime which is a significant manipulation debuff.
Bleeding is determined by two factors — combat skill (crit chance) and weapon used. The laser pistol has a low chance for bleeding; the railgun has a high chance for bleeding. The chance to bleed is a hidden value on weapons, but crit chance gives you a general idea of how likely it is to inflict bleeding. Bleeding is important for hunting. You can inflict bleeding, and go do something else because game will never recover from bleeding. Bleeding is almost useless during raids because mobs die extremely quickly OR you get overwhelmed.
Characters with higher combat are better hunters. They are more likely to kill game without them retaliating because they kill them faster.
Editor’s notes about combat:
Combat is a skill that starts out being quite important and decreases in value as time goes on. This is because raids in the beginning of the game are fought only using your characters. When you get to the mid-game, you will have traps, turrets, and flame throwers and these will kill the majority of the mobs during raids. Eventually, raids will get so large that your characters will have very little outcome on the battle. Still, high combat can tip the scales. Also, hunting is important in the early game as it’s a a quick way to get food.
Combat’s main advantage in the mid and late game is expeditions. There are several expeditions where you encounter hostile fauna and a high combat skill can give you a better outcome.
Combat is arguably the least important skill in the game. You can argue that more combat skills = fewer injuries so healing is less important, but good defense planning in combination with crafting/finding weapons is primarily what is going to prevent injuries, not combat skills. There are also many others ways to get injuries/illnesses completely unrelated to fighting (expeditions, random chance, weather conditions). That being said, a high level combat character is a good choice to be the last survivor to leave the planet because they can deal with raids not coming through your kill zones, which normally passive fauna seem to do quite often once you switch the radio on.
Skills – Construction And Related Mechanics
Construction does four basic known things:
First, it affects what you can build. There is a minimum level to even attempt to construct some more complicated constructions like carbon walls and wood fortifications. The level is on the tooltip for the construction. Devices like traps, turrets, and sensors do not have a minimum.
Second, and probably most importantly, it affects how quickly you build constructions. It’s difficult to tell, but it seems like a level 10 character can build things 2.5 to 3 times faster than a level 0 character.
Third, if you are able to repair something. See the first point.
Fourth, how quickly you repair.
How to level up construction: There are only two main ways — build stuff that you place on the map and repair stuff. While constructing something, exp will slowly be gained, when you finish, you’ll get a small once-time boost. Deconstructing does not give EXP. There are expeditions that can level up construction.
Additional notes about construction:
It’s impossible to fail a construction. If you have the minimum level, you will always succeed although it might take a long time for some constructions if you are the minimum level.
Anybody can deconstruct anything. You do not get EXP.
Deconstructing is prioritized over constructing.
Repairing is prioritized over constructing.
Moving a construction is consider “construction” for the purposes of priority and NOT delivery. You get no exp from moving constructions.
Constructing stuff quickly depends on three things — collection of resources which is usually related to the physical skill, the delivery of those resources which is also connected to the physical skill, and finally the construction skill. See the physical skill for more info.
Editor’s notes: Construction is extremely important in the very early to late game. Building stuff quickly means getting your base up quicker (duh) but also has the opportunity benefit of saving time so that the character can focus on doing other stuff. It’s usefulness is a bit lower in the very late game (once you start escaping) because you won’t be building more stuff. Still, you will be repairing A LOT and the construction skill will save time so you can go do other stuff,
It’s highly recommended to start with a character that has a decent construction skill. Getting a basic shelter up is always the first priority in almost any survival situation.
Skills – Cooking And Related Mechanics
Cooking does three basic things:
First, if you can attempt to cook higher level items.
Second, if you fail or not when cooking an item.
Third, how quickly you cook an item.
Additional notes on cooking:
Anybody can make tea, coffee, and boiled rations with no chance of failure.
Tea and coffee don’t give exp and take no crafting time. They do take time to sit on the stove. They gives +15 happiness and increase relaxation while drinking.
Boiled rations can never fail and give 50 exp. It gives +6 happiness.
All the ‘soups’ never fail at level 2. They give +6 happiness.
All tasty recipes can be attempted at level 3 and never fail at level 5. They give +12 happiness.
All chef’s recipes can be attempted at level 5 and never fail at level 7. They give +18 happiness.
A level 10 cook prepares food twice as fast as a level 0 cook (need check on this).
Some food plus tea+coffee spend time in the oven/on the stove. Character’s skill doesn’t affect this time.
The wood stove cooks at the same speed as the electric stove.
The happiness buff from a meal only occurs when you finish the meal.
The happiness from a meal combines with the normal hunger buff/debuff. This means fully eating a meal gives two buffs — one from the meal and another from being full.
You can interrupt a character eating a meal. They will not gain the happiness buff from the meal but will gain the buff from being full (if they are). They will finish their meal later but it will take the same amount of time to do it. So, if you eat half a meal, interrupt their meal, and finish it later they will take x1.5 times longer to eat the meal in total and get the happiness only after finish it without interruption.
This interrupted meal goes into hammer-space (secret inventory space that you can’t access).
Characters that sit down and eat at a table will get a happiness boost. If they don’t, they’ll get a happiness debuff.
Characters will always try to sit and eat at a table.
Characters take a meal with them when they go on an expedition. They’ll eat it “on foot” if they get hungry. Occasionally, they won’t take a meal and I’m not sure why.
Some characters are vegetarians and have a more limited diet. If a dish is vegetarian, it will say in the tooltip.
Food spoilage is an important mechanic to manage. How fast a foodstuff spoils is listed on its tooltip. Setting up proper storage and restrictions is important.
Eating the same dish over and over again causes unhappiness. Eating different dishes causes happiness.
Only characters with cooking priority will deliver ingredients to the stove. Also, only one character per stove will do this.
Editor’s notes: You are going to need one person with cooking set as a high priority. They’ll naturally make a good secondary crafter or can switch between cooking and researching, especially if their cooking skill is high. Alternatively, they can be a “handler” meaning they flip all the switches and deal with the furnaces.
A proper kitchen will have three things: a stove, a place to put completed meals nearby, and food storage nearby. You want to reduce the travel time for your chef. It might not seem like a lot, but this person is constantly going to be walking around.
It’s up to you to decide if the extra ingredients and time is worth it regarding the level 2 and 3 meals. I think they are, especially when you level up cooking to a high level. Others think it’s better to just make two types of soup and have your chef spend more time on something else like crafting than they would otherwise.
Skills – Crafting And Related Mechanics
Crafting affects three things:
First, if you can attempt to craft an item.
Second, if you fail or not.
Third, how quickly you craft.
Additional notes about crafting:
There are three results from crafting items: success, partial fail, and fail. If you succeed, the item has 100% durability. If you partially fail, the item has 50% durability. If you fail, you don’t get the item. In all cases, the ingredients are expended.
I’m unsure, but I believe in all three cases, you get full experience. (needs to be confirmed)
Experience is only gained when finishing a project.
Stations that are affected by crafting are: oil press, crafting bench, tailoring bench, and soldering bench.
All other production buildings are governed by the “handling” priority except the drying racks.
The drying racks are governed by the “delivery” priority.
If a station has an ongoing project and something else is built in the queue, the character will take the unfinished item and place it in available storage (if any).
The “time to make” in an item’s tooltip assumes a level 0 crafter.
A level 10 crafter seems to work x3 faster than a level 0 crafter. (needs to be confirmed).
Editor’s notes: You’re going to need a full-time crafter pretty much ASAP. First it’ll be bandages from scrap cloth, then basic weapons, then winter coats/hats. A secondary crafter on a second workbench is often a good idea.
Having a high level crafter from day 0 is basically essentially. Getting basic weapons and having no chance of failing when making them is important to avoid cascading failure from lost time from injuries in the very early game. When winter comes, you should have winter coats for everybody unless they have synthetic armor which is just as good regarding the cold.
Vivian is essentially required if you want to survive on hard difficulty as you won’t need just coats, you’ll need hats too. Only she can accomplish this.
Spears are probably underrated. They significantly increase the melee range and damage compared to the knife. Having one or two characters with spears and 1-3 with ranged weapons is ideal for early game raids. Of course, getting lucky and getting high tech weapons from scavenging not only is great for fighting and hunting in the early game, it saves you time at the crafting bench.
In the mid-game, you’re going to need a lot of fuel. Fuel has no fail at level 6 which is quite high for such a needed item. You might need to babysit your secondary crafter if they have level 3-4 crafting and only allow your main crafter to attempt fuel.
Skills – Farming And Related Mechanics
Farming does three things:
- How quickly you sow a plant
- How quickly you harvest a plant
- If you fail or not while harvesting
Notes about farming:
There’s no chance to fail when sowing.
Sowing gives little exp, but as mentioned, you can’t fail.
Failing while harvesting doesn’t give exp. (needs to be confirmed)
The increase in harvest speed seems to be x3 or x4 faster. (needs to be confirmed)
The fail rate is probably as it seems. For level 3 no-fail plants, the fail rate is: 0=30%; 1=20%; 2=10%; 3=0%
For level 5 no-fail plants, the fail rate is: 0=40%; 1=32%; 2=24%; 3=16%; 4=8%; 5=0%
How fast a crop grows depends on three things: soil quality, temperature, and rainfall.
What kind of soil you need depends on the crop. You can see ideal places for crops by selecting them in the build menu and seeing the color of the grid.
There are 5 types of soil: loam (100%), silt (75%) clay (50%), sand (25%), gravel (0%) and infertile soil (impossible for all crops). Note that these levels are for most crops, not all
Generally speaking, better soil conditions depend on three factors: being at the bottom of a hill/mountain, being near water, being flatland. The ideal geography for most plants would be a lake on one side, a mountain on the other, and mostly flat land between.
Chew roots are hardy plants and grow well one tier below other plants. So, they can grow at 100% in silt.
Heptogonia basically grows in the opposite soil conditions as normal plants. It’s 100% in gravel but 25% in loam.
Ideal temperature is listed on a crop’s tooltip. If it falls below or above these levels, it will basically “reverse grow” — it’s progress will reverse. If it is between these levels but freezing, progress will stop. If it’s below is burning point, but above freezing, it will progress. Most plants will grow at full speed at 20C.
Berry-type plants (fruitbrushes and beefberries) only need to be planted once because they are fruits. All other crops need to be replanted.
Wild plants obey the same rules — wild berries can be harvested forever.
When animals eat plants — will destroy the plant after awhile. This applies to berry bushes! Animals don’t eat wild plants.
Farming involves a lot of walking, so a character’s movement stat greatly affects their experience gain and yield.
Peaceful fauna like ulfen and drakka will snack on your crops. Enclose them to deter this.
Sometimes, fences aren’t enough and these peaceful animals will break through your fences to get to you crops. Shooting them once usually stops this.
Alternatively, you can build traps at the entrance to your death corridor and they’ll basically always get bleed and eventually die — free meat/hides!
In addition to that, you can have someone with a high combat skill and a railgun become your pest controller. Setup a defense tower in the middle of your fields so they can cover the whole area.
Marking an animal with “hunt” will activate any motion sensor and their corresponding turrets.
Sowing a field can a be a no-risk way to level up someone with no farming or very low farming skills.
Skills – Healing And Related Mechanics
Healing does 2 things:
- Chance to fail or partial fail a heal
- Speed of applying a heal
Additional notes on healing:
Healing is governed by the manipulation body function. Characters with a high manipulation heal faster and vice versa. This makes lighting important.
A failed heal causes infection. It sometimes needs to be attempted again (utter failure).
A partial fail isn’t obvious at first. But when the initial wound heals, they might get a “painful scar” modifier which is a slight penalty to movement/manipulation. This modifier can’t be treated and just goes away after a couple of days.
When a character heals themselves, they have a much higher chance for a partial fail. It seems their infection chance is not affected.
The “impeccable healer” trait means a healer will never fail a heal, even on themselves. They can still partial fail.
A level 10 healer is twice as fast as a level 0 healer. (needs confirmation, might be x3)
Bleeding will never heal on its own.
The wounds are prioritized by how much bleeding they cause. More HP lost per hour = higher priority. There’s no way to change these priorities.
Untreated wounds will sometimes also become infected if left untreated for a couple of days.
If a character is all patched up, there’s no need for them to continue laying in bed. They might move slowly, but their regeneration seems to be exactly the same.
There are 4 main types of ailments: superficial wounds, deep wounds, life-threatening wounds, and infections/illnesses
Superficial wounds are just a debuff. The character won’t bleed and a healer doesn’t need a consumable to treat it. It can become infected from time/mistreatment (failed heal). It will never heal on its own. They can partial fail. They are quick to treat.
Deep wounds are serious. They do everything a superficial wound does. On top of that, they cause bleeding and a doctor will need a bandage/healing balm, or a first aid kit. Because of this, it’s always a good idea to have a supply of bandages for deep wounds. They have a higher chance to fail/partial failure and give more severe debuffs before/after treatment. They take longer to treat than a superficial wound.
Life-threatening wounds are the most serious ailment in the game. They are a more extreme version of a deep wound and can ONLY be treated with a first aid kit — not a bandage/healing balm. That’s why you want bandages for deep wounds and first aid kits for these. It seems like they can sometimes cause incurable debuffs to a character such as brain damage. (needs confirmation) They take longer to treat than a deep wound.
Illnesses/infections are straightforward. You get them and then treat them with an antibiotic. I’m unsure if they can fail because I’ve never had one fail. They can be treated with a first aid kit if necessary. I’m unsure what happens if you don’t treat infections/illnesses but I assume you eventually start losing HPs and then die.
A character faints — gets knocked out in the case of combat — when their consciousness stat reaches 0%. As a result, intense fighting while very tired is likely to result in passing out.
Passed out characters are not usually targeted by mobs if they have any other valid target in range — buildings, other characters, devices etc. If there’s nothing in range and they are an aggressive creature, they will attack your character that’s on the ground. I’m unsure if (normally) passive creatures do this.
A passed out character must be rescued by another character before treatment can begin. This means picking them up and carrying them to their bed.
A character that passes out from exhaustion will wake up. A character that passes out from combat will not until they’re brought back to their bed. If they have serious head wounds, they might never wake up until they are treated.
Make sure to have some kind of lighting in a survivor’s room so the healer can work at full speed. Darkness gives a -40% debuff to manipulation. If a character has many bleeding wounds, this could easily be the difference between life and death.
You can see how long until a character bleeds out at the top of their card. “Not life threatening” is not a good title. It just means “More than 24 hours.”
A character with “healer” set to high priority is probably a good idea, but also probably unnecessary as wounds should always be top priority for you, the player. If you set a priority for this, choosing someone who is normally in your house such as your crafter or researcher makes sense because they’re usually near the beds.
Characters with the pacifist trait make a logic choice as well because they can’t pick up guns and therefore are very unlikely to ever get injured. They can be a dedicated “ambulance driver” and then heal them immediately.
Having your main healer get injured can cause big problems because either they’ll have to spend time healing themselves before others so they don’t bleed out. That being said, it might be a good idea to have two characters that are decent at healing instead of one character that’s really good.
In extreme trauma situations where you have multiple survivors that are bleeding out — prioritize the one that will bleed out the fastest. You don’t have to completely stabilize that character, but you do need to buy time enough time for them so they don’t bleed out quickly. When you have them to -1 or -2 HPs and it says they’ll bleed out in 20 hours (for example). You can switch to the next fastest bleeder. Keep rotating until everybody isn’t in imminent threat of bleeding out.
If things are really dire, say you have two characters that are going to bleed out in four hours, you have to either have someone with low skill attempt surgery and hope for the best, or you have to have someone that is bleeding but still conscious do the surgery. Both options are slow, but your main healer can only treat one person and if 2 characters are going to die in 4 hours, that’s your only hope of saving both of them.
Skills – Intellect And Related Mechanics
This one is the simplest of all the skills. It does two things:
- Affects the speed of research
- Affects the speed of observing unknown flora/fauna
It seems like research speed is double for a level 10 intellect versus a level 0 intellect.
Intellect makes a huge difference in research/observation speed. Although it’s pretty easy to get intellect up to level 5-6ish, it really starts to slow down after that.
Intellect is good throughout the game, but it’s obviously useless after you’ve researched/observed everything. That being said, when you get to that point — think of the huge opportunity savings from all the time you’ve saved. A survivor of lesser intellect would have spent another 20-30 days to get the same techs researched!
In the very early game, a character with a high intellect can potentially snowball your development regarding your two of your three immediate priorities — building a proper house and getting farms going.
Getting basic construction by day 2-3 versus 4-5 means better happiness buffs sooner, which means fewer breakdowns once “suvivor determination” starts wearing off.
Observing plants, particularly clothblossom, a grain plant, and a vege plant, are keys to ensuring a food supply early. After those three, whether you observe with your researcher or not, they are going to be on that desk permanently.
Once you get the research desk up, there should pretty much always be someone on it. However, be smart. If your only decent reserach option is veggie armor — maybe go do something else until more techs get unlocked.
Since your researcher will usually be at home, they can make a logical choice for other indoor yet secondary jobs like healing, crafting, or cooking. That is, if you need something real quick.
Skills – Physical And Related Mechanics
Physical does five basic things:
- Increases the speed that you chop trees.
- Increases the speed that you mine.
- Increases the speed that you scavenge.
- Increases the amount of scrap metal recovered from expeditions.
- Increases the maximum amount a survivor can carry.
How to level it up: cutting, mining, and scavenging level up physical. Cutting is definitely the fastest followed by mining then scavenging.
Physical is governed by the manipulation body function. If manipulation is low, chopping, mining, and scavenging all take longer. If it’s high, it’s faster.
It doesn’t affect yields of wood, rocks, ore, or scrap metal (except expeditions), just how quickly you can do those tasks.
It doesn’t affect your chances of getting weapons/armor/components from scavenging.
Regarding expeditions and scrap metal recovered — 1-3 is considered low; 4-6 is considered medium; 7+ is considered high. So, if you want max scrap metal from an expedition — send a character with 7 or more physical.
Carrying things around doesn’t level up physical, but it does affect how much a character can carry.
Physical is super, super important throughout the game. It’s very important because it essentially affects how fast you can get building materials in two ways: harvesting nodes faster — more production basically, and carrying more back to base — more throughput and fewer trips back and forth basically. Having a great builder means nothing if they have no materials to work with.
Setting someone with high physical to prioritize cut and two characters to prioritize deliver is the fastest way to clear a forest.
In the mid to late game, mining and scavenging nodes will be quite far away. A high physical character will be able to harvest the nodes quickly AND carry it all back — hopefully in just a single trip. This is very useful for harvesting nest formations for carbon tubes.