Attribute (role-playing games)

# Attribute (role-playing games)

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Encyclopedia
An attribute is a piece of data (a “statistic
Statistic (role-playing games)
A statistic in role-playing games is a piece of data which represents a particular aspect of a fictional character. That piece of data is usually a integer or, in some cases, a set of dice....

”) that describes to what extent a fictional character
Fictional character
A character is the representation of a person in a narrative work of art . Derived from the ancient Greek word kharaktêr , the earliest use in English, in this sense, dates from the Restoration, although it became widely used after its appearance in Tom Jones in 1749. From this, the sense of...

in a role-playing game
Role-playing game
A role-playing game is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting, or through a process of structured decision-making or character development...

possesses a specific natural, in-born characteristic
Property (philosophy)
In modern philosophy, logic, and mathematics a property is an attribute of an object; a red object is said to have the property of redness. The property may be considered a form of object in its own right, able to possess other properties. A property however differs from individual objects in that...

common to all characters in the game. That piece of data is usually an abstract number or, in some cases, a set of dice
Dice pool
In some role-playing game systems, the dice pool is the number of dice that a player is allowed to roll when attempting to perform a certain action.-Mechanics:In most RPG systems, most non-trivial actions require dice rolls...

. Some games use different terms to refer to an attribute, such as statistic, (primary) characteristic or ability.

## The nature of attributes

Most RPGs use attributes to describe characters’ physical and mental characteristics, for example their strength
Physical strength
Physical strength is the ability of a person or animal to exert force on physical objects using muscles. Increasing physical strength is the goal of strength training.-Overview:...

or wisdom
Wisdom
Wisdom is a deep understanding and realization of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to apply perceptions, judgements and actions in keeping with this understanding. It often requires control of one's emotional reactions so that universal principles, reason and...

. They often influence the chance to succeed in skill or other tests by addition to a die roll or by determining the number of dice to be thrown. As a consequence, usually a higher number is better, and ranges can be as small as 1–5 (for numbers of dice) or as great as 1–100 (when adding to results of percentile dice).
Some games work with only a few attributes (such as “Physical” or “Mental”), while others go into more detail. Having too many attributes is considered to be a sign of undue complexity in a game; most games have about 4–10 of them. Most games try to give all attributes about the same usefulness to a character. Therefore, certain characteristics might be merged (such as merging a Charisma-type and a Willpower-type attribute into a single Personality attribute), or split into more attributes (such as splitting out physical Comeliness from Charisma in the original Unearthed Arcana
Unearthed Arcana
Unearthed Arcana is the title shared by two hardback books published for different editions of the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game...

), or even ignored altogether (for example, Intelligence and Charisma in a hack and slash
Hack and slash
Hack and slash or hack and slay, abbreviated H&S or HnS, refers to a type of gameplay that emphasizes combat. "Hack and slash" was originally used to describe an aspect of pen-and-paper role-playing games , carrying over from there to MUDs, MMORPGs, and video games in general...

adventure). In many games, a small set of primary attributes control a larger number of derived statistics such as Armor Class
Armor class
In some role-playing games, armor class is a derived statistic that indicates how difficult it is to land a successful blow on a character with an attack...

or magic point
Magic point
Magic points are units of magical power that are used in many role-playing, computer role-playing and similar games as an expendable resource that is needed to pay for magic spells and other abilities, such as special attacks...

s.
During character creation
Character creation
Character creation is the process of defining a game character or other character. Typically, a character's individual strengths and weaknesses are represented by a set of statistics. Games with a largely fictional setting may include traits such as race and class...

, attribute scores are usually determined either randomly (by rolling dice
Dice
A die is a small throwable object with multiple resting positions, used for generating random numbers...

) or by distributing character point
Character point
Character points are abstract units used in some role-playing games during character creation and development.Early role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons assigned random values to a player character's attributes, while allowing each character a fixed number of skills...

s.
Because they represent common, in-born characteristics and not learned capabilities (as skills do), in many games they are fixed for the duration of the game. However, in some games they can be increased by spending experience points gained during the game, or as part of the process of leveling up.

## Common attribute names

Attributes are commonly referred to by their first two or three initials.

Strength aka Body, Might, Brawn, ...
A measure of how physically strong a character is. Strength often controls the maximum weight the character can carry, melee attack and/or damage, and sometimes hit points. Armor and weapons might also have a Strength requirement.

Constitution aka Stamina, Endurance, Vitality, ...
A measure of how resilient a character is. Constitution often influences hit points, resistances for special types of damage (poisons, illness, heat etc.) and fatigue. Many games combine Constitution and Strength.

Dexterity aka Agility, Reflexes, Speed, ...
A measure of how agile a character is. Dexterity controls attack and movement speed and accuracy, as well as the difficulty of an opponent's attack (see Armor Class
Armor class
In some role-playing games, armor class is a derived statistic that indicates how difficult it is to land a successful blow on a character with an attack...

).

Intelligence aka Intellect, Mind, Brains, Knowledge, ...
A measure of a character's problem-solving ability. Intelligence often controls a character's ability to comprehend foreign languages and their skill in magic. In some cases, intelligence controls how many skill points the character gets at "level up". In some games, it controls the rate at which experience point
Experience point
An experience point is a unit of measurement used in many role-playing games and role-playing video games to quantify a player character's progression through the game...

s are earned, or the amount needed to level up.

Charisma aka Presence, Charm, Social, ...
A measure of a character's social skills, and sometimes their physical appearance. Charisma generally influences prices while trading, and NPC
Non-player character
A non-player character , sometimes known as a non-person character or non-playable character, in a game is any fictional character not controlled by a player. In electronic games, this usually means a character controlled by the computer through artificial intelligence...

reactions.

Wisdom aka Spirit, Psyche, Sense, ...
A measure of a character's common sense and/or spirituality. Wisdom often controls a character's ability to cast certain spells, communicate to mystical entities, or hear something in the distance.

Willpower aka Sanity, Personality, Ego, ...
A measure of the character's mental resistance (against pain, fear etc.) when falling victim to mind-altering, torture, or insanity. Some games combine willpower and wisdom.

Perception aka Alertness, Awareness, Cautiousness, ...
A measure of a character's openness to their surroundings. Perception controls the chance to detect vital clues, traps, or hiding enemies, and might influence combat sequence, or the accuracy of ranged attacks. Perception-type attributes are more common in more modern games. Sometimes combined with wisdom.

Luck aka Fate, Chance, ...
A measure of a character's luck
Luck
Luck or fortuity is good fortune which occurs beyond one's control, without regard to one's will, intention, or desired result. There are at least two senses people usually mean when they use the term, the prescriptive sense and the descriptive sense...

. Luck might influence anything, but mostly random items, encounters and outstanding successes/failures (such as critical hit
Critical hit
In many role-playing games and video games, a critical hit is a successful attack that deals more damage than a normal blow.-Origin:The 1975 role-playing game Empire of the Petal Throne introduced the concept of critical hits...

s).

### Dungeons & DragonsDungeons & DragonsDungeons & Dragons is a fantasy role-playing game originally designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, and first published in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules, Inc. . The game has been published by Wizards of the Coast since 1997... and the d20 SystemD20 SystemThe d20 System is a role-playing game system published in 2000 by Wizards of the Coast originally developed for the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons...

D&D uses six ability scores:
• Strength - physical strength
• Dexterity - agility and speed
• Constitution - ability to resist damage and disease
• Intelligence - mental acuity
• Wisdom - intuition and sense of things around himself
• Charisma - force of personality and physical attractiveness

Scores are usually rolled randomly, range from 3-18 for most human characters.

### Basic Role-PlayingBasic Role-PlayingBasic Role-Playing is a role-playing game system which originated in the fantasy-oriented RuneQuest role-playing game rules...

• Strength (STR) - physical strength, ability to lift and carry
• Constitution (CON) - health and endurance, ability to resist damage and disease
• Size (SIZ) - mass and height (renamed Mass in Ringworld
Ringworld (role-playing game)
The Ringworld science fiction role-playing game was published by Chaosium in 1984, using the Basic Role-Playing system for its rules and Larry Niven's Ringworld novels as a setting.-Setting:...

, not used in Nephilim
Nephilim (role-playing game)
This article is about the Role-playing game, for the supernatural beings, see NephilimNephilim is a role-playing game about powerful elemental entities reincarnating into human beings...

)
• Intelligence (INT) - mental acuity (not used in Pendragon
Pendragon (role-playing game)
Pendragon, or King Arthur Pendragon, is a role-playing game in which players take the role of knights performing chivalric deeds in the tradition of Arthurian legend. It was originally written by Greg Stafford and published by Chaosium, then was acquired by Green Knight Publishing, who in turn...

)
• Power (POW) - basic ability to work magic, also luck and willpower (not used in Pendragon)
• Dexterity (DEX) - agility, manual dexterity and speed

and one of:
• Charisma (CHA) - leadership, charm, personality (earlier versions and Nephilim)
• Appearance (APP) - physical attractiveness (later versions)

Scores are usually rolled randomly, and range from 3-18 for most beginning human characters, except SIZ and INT which range from 8-18 in most versions. Non-human character score ranges can vary more widely. Some BRP editions and games also suggest using:
• Education (EDU) - experience and knowledge

### GURPS

GURPS
GURPS
The Generic Universal RolePlaying System, or GURPS, is a tabletop role-playing game system designed to allow for play in any game setting...

uses four (basic) attributes as well as a number of secondary characteristics that are derived from the attributes.
Scores for basic attributes are bought or sold during character generation, starting at 10 each for base characters. Secondary characteristics can be modified relative to the primary attribute they are based upon. Skill values are based directly on a specific attribute; most skill rolls are based on 3d6
Dice notation
Dice notation is a system to represent different combinations of dice in role-playing games using simple algebra-like notation such as 2d6+12....

compared against the skill number.

The four basic attributes are:
• Strength (ST) — physical power and bulk, ability to lift, carry, and do damage
• Dexterity (DX) — physical agility, coordination, and manual dexterity
• Intelligence (IQ) — mental acuity and sense of the world
• Health (HT) — physical energy and vitality, ability to resist disease

The four major secondary characteristics are each directly based on a single attribute:
• Hit Points (HP) — how much damage and injury can be sustained, based on ST
• Will (Will) — mental focus and strength, withstanding stress, based on IQ
• Perception (Per) — general alertness, based on IQ
• Fatigue Points (FP) — body energy levels, based on HT

The other secondary characteristics (such as running speed) are calculated from one or more attribute values using individual table
Mathematical table
Before calculators were cheap and plentiful, people would use mathematical tables —lists of numbers showing the results of calculation with varying arguments— to simplify and drastically speed up computation...

s or formula
Formula
In mathematics, a formula is an entity constructed using the symbols and formation rules of a given logical language....

e.

### Hero SystemHero SystemThe Hero System is a generic role-playing game system that developed from the superhero RPG Champions. It is used as the underlying mechanics of other Hero Games role-playing games such as Dark Champions, Fantasy Hero, Star Hero, and Pulp Hero...

The primary characteristics are:
• Strength (STR, cost 1) - physical strength, ability to lift and carry
• Intelligence (INT, cost 1) - mental acuity, learning ability
• Constitution (CON, cost 2) - health and ability to resist disease
• Dexterity (DEX, cost 3) - agility and manual dexterity
• Ego (EGO, cost 2) - mental fortitude and willpower
• Body (BODY, cost 2) - ability to sustain damage leading towards death, hit points
• Presence (PRE, cost 1) - leadership, charm, personality

Scores start at 10 each for base characters and are bought or sold during character generation at the listed cost per point. Normal human maxima are usually defined to be 20 for each.
Another set of secondary characteristics are derived from the above, though can be bought separately. They do not follow the same scale, rather directly influence game mechanics. These are:
• Physical Defense (PD, base STR/5, cost 1) - resistance to physical damage
• Energy Defense (ED, base CON/5, cost 1) - resistance to energy damage
• Speed (SPD, base DEX/5, cost 10) - number of actions per turn
• Recovery (REC, base STR/5 + CON/5, cost 2) - STUN and END replaced per turn
• Endurance (END, base CONx2, cost 1/2) - energy available as fatigue
• Stun (STUN, base STR/2+CON/2+BODY, cost 1) - ability to sustain damage leading towards unconsciousness

### Storyteller System

Storyteller characters have nine Attributes (or Traits) in three Groups and from three Use Categories, as follows:
• Power Category (the ability to alter one’s environment):
• Intelligence (Mental Group) — how mentally resourceful they are.
• Strength (Physical Group) — how physically forceful they can be.
• Presence (Social Group) — how socially influential they can be.

• Finesse Category (the ability to use power efficiently):
• Wits (Mental Group) — how clever and insightful they are.
• Dexterity (Physical Group) — how physically graceful they are.
• Manipulation (Social Group) — how socially dominating they are.

• Resistance Category (the ability to cope with power being exercised upon one’s self):
• Resolve (Mental Group) — how mentally determined they are.
• Stamina (Physical Group) — how physically enduring they are.
• Composure (Social Group) — how socially dignified they are.

Each Attribute is measured with one to five Dots: With one Dot, a character is “poor” in that Attribute, with five Dots, they are “outstanding”. Each Dot represents one die
Dice
A die is a small throwable object with multiple resting positions, used for generating random numbers...

the Attribute gets to its Dice Pool. Starting characters get 12 points to add to their Attributes: The first Dot in an Attribute is free, the 2nd to 4th Dots cost one point each, and the 5th Dot costs 2 points to fill in. The player must assign 5, 4, and 3 points, respectively, to each of the Use Categories, prioritizing as they choose.

In the first three editions of Shadowrun
Shadowrun is a role-playing game set in a near-future fictional universe in which cybernetics, magic and fantasy creatures co-exist. It combines genres of cyberpunk, urban fantasy and crime, with occasional elements of conspiracy fiction, horror, and detective fiction.The original game has spawned...

, the game system used nine attributes in three categories:
• Physical attributes:
• Strength
• Quickness — speed, dexterity, agility
• Body — constitution, stamina, and general mass of the character.

• Mental attributes:
• Charisma
• Intelligence
• Willpower

In an interesting mechanic, magical and astral plane combat used the Mental attributes in the same way the Physical attributes where used to resolve physical confrontations: Charisma acted as Astral Strength, Intelligence as Quickness, and Willpower as the Mental equivalent of Body.
• Special attributes:
• Essence — solidity of the character’s central nervous system
Central nervous system
The central nervous system is the part of the nervous system that integrates the information that it receives from, and coordinates the activity of, all parts of the bodies of bilaterian animals—that is, all multicellular animals except sponges and radially symmetric animals such as jellyfish...

, mind
Mind
The concept of mind is understood in many different ways by many different traditions, ranging from panpsychism and animism to traditional and organized religious views, as well as secular and materialist philosophies. Most agree that minds are constituted by conscious experience and intelligent...

, and spirit
Spirit
The English word spirit has many differing meanings and connotations, most of them relating to a non-corporeal substance contrasted with the material body.The spirit of a living thing usually refers to or explains its consciousness.The notions of a person's "spirit" and "soul" often also overlap,...

.
• Magic — magical energy. For beginning magic-tuned characters, this attribute started at the maximum starting attribute (6), and was reduced through trauma, surgery, or cybernetic implantation, or increased through ritual initiation. It is related very closely to Essence, in which damage to Essence will alter the Magic attribute.
• Reaction — a derived statistic based on the average of Quickness and Intelligence, Reaction determined number of actions per round, the character's initiative in combat, and perception.

However, in the fourth edition, the attributes were rearranged. Quickness was split and renamed Agility, and covered fine motor skills, while Reaction became a base attribute and covered gross motor skills such as movement. As a result, Intelligence was also split in two, with Logic and Intuition becoming the Mental equivalents of Agility and Reaction. Magic no longer started at a six and required starting characters to allocate character points to the statistic as just another attribute.

### Tri-Stat dXTri-Stat dXTri-Stat dX is a generic role-playing game system developed and published by Guardians of Order in 2003. Like other generic role-playing game systems, Tri-stat dX has adaptable rules that can be applied to many genres and settings...., (including Big Eyes Small Mouth)

Tri-Stat dX uses only three attributes, arguing that is all they need.
• Body - a measure of the character's physical prowess and health.
• Mind - a measure of the character's mental capacity and intelligence.
• Soul - a measure of the character's spirit and willpower.

In case a character is weak in a particular area of a stat (e.g. a wrestler with a high Body, but who is clumsy), Tri-Stat dX provides the Less Capable defect e.g. Less Capable (Agility); however, there is no corresponding More Capable quality.

Attributes can be increased by spending build points. Originally in BESM, which uses 2d6, an average attribute was 6. In Silver Age Sentinals, which used 2d10, the average attribute was 10. Later Tri-Stat dX combined these rules, allowing a human average to be 6, but changing the die size to match the campaign setting, so allowing attributes to range from 1 (inept) up to 40 (godlike).

### TravellerTraveller (role-playing game)Traveller is a series of related science fiction role-playing games, the first published in 1977 by Game Designers' Workshop and subsequent editions by various companies remaining in print to this day. The game was inspired from such classic science fiction stories as the Dumarest saga series by...

Traveller uses six attributes (called "characteristics" in the rules). There are three physical characteristics, two mental and one social. Human characters are generated by throwing 2D (2d6) for each characteristic.
• Strength (STR) - Physical characteristic
• Dexterity (DEX) - Physical characteristic
• Endurance (END) - Physical characteristic
• Intelligence (INT) - Mental characteristic
• Education (EDU) - Mental characteristic
• Social Standing (SOC) - Social characteristic

### Talarius gaming systemTalarius gaming systemPublished by Fantasy Makers Industries the d100 System is a role-playing game system. The system is primarily used for standard pen-and-paper role-playing games, it is also used in miniature battle games also published by Fantasy Makers Industries...

TGS
Talarius gaming system
Published by Fantasy Makers Industries the d100 System is a role-playing game system. The system is primarily used for standard pen-and-paper role-playing games, it is also used in miniature battle games also published by Fantasy Makers Industries...

uses eight (basic) attributes as well as a number of secondary characteristics that are derived from the attributes.
Score for the attributes are derived by taking the relevant size of a character and adding in Attribute Points. The three typical sizes are Small, Medium and Large. Smaller creatures have a higher Perception and Agility base scores, while Larger creatures have a higher Stamina and Strength base scores. Medium sized creatures have a starting base score of 50 in each of the eight base attributes.
Secondary characteristics are modified and created through the use of the Attribute Score and/or their Modifiers.
The eight basic attributes are:
• Strength (Str) — Measures physical strength and ability to cause physical damage
• Stamina (Sta) — Measures physical endurance, energy and stamina
• Agility (Agi) — Measures physical agility, coordination, and dexterity
• Perception (Per) — Measures physical perception, recognition, as well as seeing, hearing and smelling
• Intelligence (Int) - Measures mental capability of rote memorization, ability to learn, and book smarts
• Wits (Wit) - Measures mental ability to distinguish the "why" of questions from the "what" of questions
• Willpower (Will) - Measures mental endurance, energy and stamina
• Charisma (Cha) - Measures mental personality influence, leadership and overall looks

The six major secondary characteristics are each directly based on the attributes:
• Hit Points (HP) — Measures how much damage a character can take, Based on size only
• Fatigue Points (FP) — Measures fatigue from various aspects from bumps and bruises to use to power Jinhu Powers, Based on Stamina Score plus Willpower Modifier
• Physical Defense - Measures a characters ability to not get hit from a physical attack, Based on a base of 35 plus Perception and Agility Modifiers
• Magical Defense - Measures a characters ability to resist or ignore magical based attacks, Based on a base of 35 plus Intelligence and Stamina Modifiers
• Divine Defense - Measures a characters ability to resist or ignore divine based attacks, Based on a base of 35 plus Charisma and Wits Modifiers
• Jinhu Defense- Measures a characters ability to resist or ignore jinhu based attacks, Based on a base of 35 plus Intelligence and Willpower Modifiers

• Character Attributes in Role-Playing Games — Essay by Bob Hall
• AD&D Stats Calculator - Online quiz to translate your personal attributes to an AD&D, v1 attributes.
• Version Française - French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

version.