An attribute is a statistic or trait that describes to what extent a character or other entity in a role-playing game possesses a specific natural, in-born characteristic common to all characters in the game. Attributes tend to be stable over time, but may increase slowly as part of character advancement.
In games that use attributes, they are generally primary (or basic) stats from which other stats may be derived. When two stats are used as part of a game's resolution mechanic, the two most common stats for a game to use are attributes and skills.
In an attribute-based game, characters may have few traits other than a name and their attributes.
Attributes have different names in different systems. For example, in Dungeons & Dragons and related games they are called abilities (or ability scores or ability modifiers). Hero System refers to attributes as characteristics. 7th Sea refers to attributes as traits (not to be confused with traits as used on this wiki).
Attributes in specific games
Because the attributes that exist in a given system are common to every character (and sometimes other creatures) in the setting, the list of attributes in the system can be used to focus on what will be important for characters in the game.
- Dungeons & Dragons, and other games derived from its template, use six attributes (or "ability scores"), as follows: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. In the early days of D&D, there were attempts in Unearthed Arcana and Dragon magazine to add a seventh attribute called Comeliness, but this was short-lived.
- Traveller uses Strength, Dexterity, Endurance, Intelligence, Education, Social Standing)
- The Cortex games Serenity and Leverage use Agility, Alertness, Intelligence, Strength, Vitality, and Willpower.
- Another Cortex game, Firefly, uses Physical, Mental, and Social.
- Tri-Stat dX games such as Big Eyes, Small Mouth use Body, Mind, and Soul.
- The first three editions of Shadowrun used Physical (Strength, Quickness, Body), Mental (Charisma, Intelligence, Willpower), and Special attributes.
- GURPS uses Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Health.
- Apocalypse World uses Cool, Hard, Hot, Sharp and Weird.
- Monsterhearts uses Hot, Cold, Violent and Dark.
- 7th Sea (second edition) uses Brawn, Finesse, Wits, Resolve, and Panache.
- Cypher System games such as Numenera use Might, Speed and Intellect.
- Genesys System games such as Star Wars: Edge of the Empire use Brawn, Agility, Intellect, Cunning, Willpower, and Presence.
- Mutants & Masterminds (3rd edition) uses Strength, Dexterity, Agility, Fighting, Stamina, Intellect, Awareness, and Presence.
- Attribute (role-playing games) at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.