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Attributes are the basic building blocks for a character's combat and mental capabilities. The six primary attributes are strength, dexterity, willpower, magic, cunning and constitution. These attributes determine secondary attributes and resistances, combat prowess, non-combat skills, and reveal new options during encounters with NPCs.
The six attributes appear on the Character Record sheet, along with armor, defense, attack and damage. Characters begin with 10 points in each of the primary attributes; choosing a race and class will add points to some attributes and the game allows each player to distribute another 5 points for a consistent total of 79 points for every character.
Attributes can be increased during the game in three ways:
- Characters will automatically gain 3 points per level;
- Certain items will permanently add points to certain attributes;
- Other items will temporarily boost attributes while equipped.
Sometimes the game rules consider your character's attribute modifier rather than the attribute itself, i.e., the number of points you spent on the attribute.
Primary attributes Edit
At a glance Edit
|Attribute||Classes||Secondary attributes||Other benefits|
|Dexterity||Rogues and Warriors||
Strength measures a character's physical prowess, and directly affects the damage a character deals in physical combat. It also contributes to the accuracy of melee attacks. High strength is essential for warriors, in particular if they wish to wield two-handed weapons, and is nearly as critical for rogues. However, if you plan on taking the Lethality ability for a rogue, the strength modifier on weapons will be affected by cunning instead (though this will not affect strength requirements for weapons or armor).
Greater strength increases the base damage from all weapons except crossbows and mages' staves, and, along with dexterity, determines whether a melee attack is successful. Consequently, strength is particularly important for warriors and rogues, mages with the Arcane Warrior specialization have no need for it. Great strength is required to wield two-handed weapons or wear heavy armor. Strength also contributes to a character's physical resistance and influences the intimidation side of the Coercion skill.
Each point of Strength increases damage by ~0.6 points from all weapons, except crossbows and magic staves. 0.3 points to each weapon when dual wielding.
Dexterity is the measure of agility, reflexes, and balance. Higher dexterity improves a character's chances to hit, makes the character more likely to dodge incoming blows, and contributes to the damage dealt by piercing weapons like daggers and arrows. Dexterity adds 0.2 points damage to each dagger when dual wielding. Archery and dual-weapon fighting styles demand high dexterity to master, making this attribute a favorite for rogues.
As the primary component of a character's defense score, dexterity helps sidestep attacks entirely. Along with strength, dexterity also contributes to the melee attack score, which determines whether a swing connects with its target. For ranged weapons, dexterity is the only attribute that contributes to the attack score. Dexterity contributes to physical resistance and is a prerequisite for some weapon talents. This attribute is most important for sword and shield warriors and rogues.
Willpower represents a character's determination and mental fortitude. With high willpower, mages can cast more spells thanks to a deeper mana pool. For warriors and rogues, willpower grants more stamina for combat techniques and special attacks.
Willpower affects the size of the pool of mana or stamina that a character can draw from to power spells or talents. The way lyrium potions are implemented in the game, as well as the fact that willpower does not affect mana regen, makes this stat of dubious value to mages. It can be useful for a rogue or warrior (particularly a 2h version of the latter) that plans to use a lot of activated skills because there are no stamina potions in Origins.
Each point of Willpower raises the total Mana/Stamina level by 5.
Magic is the measure of a character's natural affinity for the arcane. This attribute is crucial for mages, since it directly increases a character's spellpower score, which determines the potency of all spells. The magic attribute also determines how effective potions, poultices, and salves are for all classes.
Unsurprisingly, mages gain the most benefit from a high magic attribute; the magic attribute's modifier determines the mage's spellpower, which in turn governs the magnitude of a spell's effect, including damage. For characters of all classes, the magic attribute also increases the effectiveness of healing poultices, potions, and salves. A high magic score is required to wield high-level staves or learn certain spells. Magic also contributes to mental resistance.
Cunning determines how well a character learns and reasons. Most skills, such as Combat Tactics, require a quick mind to master—and an observant eye can more easily find weaknesses in enemy armor. Rogues benefit most from this statistic, as many of their class abilities and special attacks rely on subtlety or reading the target, not raw strength.
Characters cannot learn advanced skills unless they possess great cunning, so this attribute is useful for any character who wishes to use skills effectively. It is doubly important for rogues, since many of their class-specific talents are greatly improved by high cunning. Cunning helps characters identify weaknesses in opponents' armor, increasing the armor penetration score, and also contributes to mental resistance and the persuasion side of Coercion.
Constitution represents health and resilience. Higher constitution directly increases the amount of damage a character can take before falling on the battlefield.
Every point in constitution increases a character's health score, allowing more damage to be taken. Thus, it is important for all characters on the front lines of combat. Constitution also contributes to physical resistance.
Starting attributes Edit
These values are calculated with the information given on race and class based bonuses. You get 5 additional points to add as you like at character creation to further customize your character.
|Race Class||Human Warrior||Human Rogue||Human Mage||Elf Warrior||Elf Rogue||Elf Mage||Dwarf Warrior||Dwarf Rogue|
Increasing attributes Edit
- Specializations and certain equipment/item sets grant a bonus to attributes.
- The Tome of the Mortal Vessel (two copies are available from merchants) grants +1 attribute point upon use, and the Grimoire of the Frozen Wastes (instantly granted to all characters with the Dragon Age: Origins Collector's Edition) grants +3 attribute points.
- The Greater Tome of the Mortal Vessel (two copies are available in The Golems of Amgarrak and one in Witch Hunt) grants +2 attribute points upon use.
- Accepting Caladrius offer during Unrest in the Alienage yields a +1 increase in constitution. In Awakening, siding with The Baroness, provided that you convince her to increase your reward (expert Coercion required) should provide +1 increase in either constitution, magic or cunning but the quest is currently bugged on pcxbox360 (see Shadows of the Blackmarsh for details and a possible workaround)
- Essences and fonts each add 1 point to a specific attribute. 21 are available during The Fade: Lost in Dreams (a part of Broken Circle). In Awakening, 12 are available in the Blackmarsh Undying.
- Using a Manual of Focus in Awakening resets all attribute points, including those granted by essences, to be redistributed as you like. However, the Manual is bugged in some versions of the game, and may only return a maximum of 99 attribute points, severely hampering your character.
- Prior to patch 1.04, rogues' attack power was based on strength alone, meaning that increasing dexterity to use higher-quality daggers would not increase attack power as it is supposed to. As of patch 1.04, the attribute-based bonus damage from the weapon is now properly 50% strength and 50% dexterity. In addition, if the rogue's cunning attribute is higher than their strength attribute, they can learn Lethality to use their cunning score in place of their strength.