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Joel Oswalt

Joel is a police deputy who is encountered early in the game and is one of the ally characters the Player starts with. During the outbreak in Splendid, he was helping with the town evacuation - looking for people who might not have gone to the state emergency shelters. After rescuing the player, Elaine, and Doug, Sheriff Reinhart and Deputy Vic Castillo left Splendid looking for backup - leaving Joel to manage the School.

Friendly, awkward, and maybe a little slow on the uptake, Joel is nonetheless eager to help however he can.

Background[ | ]

A fresh off the force deputy who came here with a girl who he had fell in love with. Dropping out of college for her, his girlfriend broke with him and left him with the bills. With few options in Splendid he joined the police academy and became the only three law enforcers of Splendid.

Recruitment[ | ]

Joel is automatically recruited when the Player arrives at the school.

Events[ | ]

  • On Day 4, Joel will mention to the player that their food supplies are not great, and suggest visiting the Bargain Owl supermarket in Mason.
  • Sometime after the second week, if Vic is still alive, you'll find him yelling at Joel - turns out Joel tried to clean his gun without the safety on, and nearly shot Davis as a result. If you double-down on yelling at him (or don't get involved), Joel will get a slight Mood penalty - if you're more forgiving, he'll gain a slight Mood boost. (NOTE: If you make sure to mention gun safety, you'll gain respect from Vic)
  • At about a month into the game, Joel will ask you where he would make the most difference - this is the selection for his trait. If you tell him to focus on his police training, he'll gain the "Practice Makes Perfect" trait; if you tell him to focus on completing projects, he'll gain the "Handyman" trait.
  • At about five weeks, Joel will tell you about a dream he had, and ask for your help in figuring out what it means. (Flavor dialogue only)
  • On Day 42, Joel will tell you about a "weirdo vibe" place to get coffee - the Wicked Lily, over in Hunt. This is where you can find Aimee, if you haven't recruited her yet.
  • If Vic dies, Joel will go to the player and express his grief, and concern that he's the last cop in Splendid. If you trash-talk Vic, Joel will lose some Mood, but if you encourage Joel to better himself (or imitate Vic) he'll gain a Mood boost.

Special Requests[ | ]

Luxury Items

  • Hot Sauce
  • Fancy Chocolates


  • Wood-Reinforced Fence

Stats[ | ]

See also Ally Stats.

Survivors develop their skills over time, these stats represent their starting point.

Health Action Points Armor Class Strength Agility Vigor Perception Melee Ranged Leadership Negotiation Medical Science Survival Mechanical

Joel focuses on his combat skills first (Ranged, then Melee) with a side of Negotiation, and the occasional point in Medical and Mechanical. His stats will follow Vigor, Perception, and Agility.

Traits[ | ]


  • Nervous: "Joel gets a temporary +2 to his Perception when his Panic is at 50% or more."
  • Wooden Wall: "This ally enjoys having a Wood-Reinforced Fence around the Shelter, and will gain a one-time Mood boost after it is completed."

Gained Via Conversation

  • Practice Makes Perfect: "Buoyed by your support, Joel has worked hard to improving his marksmanship, resulting in a 10% increase in his accuracy with ranged weapons."


  • Handyman: "Your encouragement has made Joel rediscover his talents for repairing things, increasing his time to complete repair projects by 10%."

Play Style[ | ]

Joel has the best Ranged score for the early game, and his skills advance at a decent rate, but as you get more combat-focused characters, he may be best-suited for Shelter work (or your B-team) in middle-to-late game.

Joel will react negatively to killing neutral survivors.

Trivia[ | ]

  • Age:21
  • Hometown: San Angelo, TX (Splendid)
  • Sick Event: "bathroom issue"
  • Subleader Supported: Vic
  • Shelter Location: First floor, near front door, next to principal's office
  • Joel's visual reference is actor Ethan Embry.