Attributes define the fundamental properties of the player character and all enemies. As opposed to skills, which each determine proficiency at a specific action, attributes are more general. There are eight attributes: Strength, Intelligence, Willpower, Agility, Endurance, Personality, Speed, and Luck. Most attributes are said to "govern" certain skills, although this relationship does not actually have any in-game effect.
The player character's attributes are first set upon choosing a class. Every class, whether predefined or custom, has a starting attribute total of 400. When designing a custom class, you can set each attribute anywhere from 10 up to 75. During the final phase of character creation, you can roll for a random 0-10 extra points in each attribute, and manually allocate 6-14 additional points which can be freely assigned.
Upon leveling up, you will be awarded 4-6 points which can be added to any attributes, regardless of which skills have been raised. Once an attribute reaches 100, it cannot be increased further.
Attributes can be temporarily modified by the effects of spells, enchantments, disease, poison, lycanthropy, and vampirism. An attribute under such an effect is listed on the character sheet in blue rather than the usual yellow. Lowered attributes can be restored by a temple healer (if you are of sufficient rank) or with a spell. A character will die if any of their attributes are drained to 0.
|Strength governs encumbrance, weapon damage and the ease of increasing strength-related skills.
|Intelligence governs total magic potential and the ease of increasing intelligence-related skills.
|Willpower governs resistance to spell effects and the ease of increasing willpower-related skills.
|Agility governs ability to hit a target, to avoid getting hit, and the ease of increasing agility-related skills.
|Endurance governs hit points, healing rate, resistance to poisons and diseases, and fatigue.
|Personality governs the ease of increasing personality-related skills.
|Speed governs movement rate, missile reloading time, and all speed-related skills.
|Luck is a powerful modifier to any action you take. There are no skills in which luck is the primary attribute, but your odds of succeeding in any skill trial is modified by your luck
- The Oghma Infinium artifact grants an additional 30 attribute points to be allocated freely.
- Given the average maximum player level of 30 and an average attribute roll of 4.5, the average number of attribute points a player can expect to be able to allocate over the course of the game is 130. A careful player who plans their build to reach level 32, uses exploits to attain higher skill maximums, and "rerolls" level-ups to gain 6 attribute points each level may be able to allocate up to 186 attribute points. The Oghma Infinium increases this total further to 216 points. Given an average starting value of around 56 points per attribute, this means that allocating points evenly can result in a maximum of 83 in every attribute.
- A character with low physical attributes, particularly Strength and Endurance, may find it difficult to progress during the early stages of the game.
- A character with low mental attributes, particularly Intelligence, may find it difficult to progress during the later stages of the game.
- Personality has minimal effect on how people perceive you. You can engage in normal conversation with 10-15 Personality and suffer no repercussions.
- This is changed in Daggerfall Unity, such that a character usually needs 40 or more Personality to obtain favorable responses from most townspeople.
- Agility is far less useful in Daggerfall than it is in Arena. This is due to Arena operating mostly on a D20 system, with every 5 points of Agility increasing the player's to-hit chance by 1 point, which means a bonus of 5% chance to hit an enemy. In Daggerfall and later games, this system is carried over without accounting for a switch from D20 to D100. As a result, 5 points of Agility increases to-hit chance by only 1%, a miniscule bonus in comparison.
* Daggerfall incorrectly displays the Strength hand-to-hand and melee damage modifier in the character sheet; the above is the correct formula actually used in game calculations. This display bug is fixed in Daggerfall Unity.
† Agility doesn't actually appear to affect your chance to hit enemies. This bug is fixed in Daggerfall Unity.