There are eight basic and four derived attributes in Oblivion. The term "attribute" generally refers to the basic, not derived, attributes. For example, the Fortify Attribute effect alters only the basic attributes; separate Fortify Health, Fortify Magicka, and Fortify Fatigue effects apply to the derived attributes.
The effects of the eight basic attributes are listed immediately below. Also, each of the eight basic attributes - except Luck - governs three skills, as detailed further below in the section Relation between Attributes and Skills.
Each of these attributes has a base value and a current value. The base value is, generally speaking, the value without any active enchantments, magical effects, diseases, or other temporary modifiers. The current value is the value after all such modifiers are taken into account. If the current value is different from the base value, its value in the in-game journal will be colored (green if boosted, red if reduced). Most relevant gameplay aspects are based on current attribute values.
The base value of each attribute normally can only range from 0 to 100. Each time your character levels up, you have an opportunity to permanently increase the base values of three attributes. There are also a limited number of opportunities to receive attribute bonuses as quest or other rewards. Some of these bonuses (in particular, the Oghma Infinium) directly alter the relevant base attribute values. Others are implemented as abilities with a Fortify Attribute effect; these abilities also effectively alter the relevant base attribute values.
The current value of an attribute can be boosted past 100, including through the methods described immediately above. Most - but not all - of the benefits of the attribute continue to increase for values greater than 100. Specifically:
- Strength - values above 100 continue to increase your maximum Fatigue and Encumbrance, but not damage done by melee weapon and hand-to-hand attacks.
- Intelligence - values above 100 continue to increase your maximum Magicka.
- Willpower - values above 100 continue to increase your maximum Fatigue and Magicka regeneration rate.
- Agility - values above 100 continue to increase your maximum Fatigue and chance to avoid being staggered in combat, but not damage done by ranged weapon attacks.
- Speed - values above 100 continue to increase your movement speed and the length of your jumps.
- Endurance - values above 100 continue to increase your maximum Fatigue and Health gain upon leveling up.
- Personality - values above 100 continue to increase your Disposition scores with NPCs and creatures.
- Luck - values above 100 continue to modify the effective values of most skills, although the effective modified skill values used in the game's calculations are constrained to a range of 0 to 100.
The values of the four derived attributes are derived from the eight primary attributes. It is possible to magically alter these derived values either directly through spell and other effects (e.g., Fortify Magicka) or indirectly through increasing primary attributes (e.g., Fortify Intelligence).
In addition, some attributes specific to NPCs (and creatures) determine their behavior:
- An NPC's tendency to attack you.
- Helps determine how likely it is an NPC or creature will attack or flee in combat. An NPC with 100 confidence will never flee, whereas an NPC with 0 confidence will always flee.
- How much an NPC likes (or dislikes) you.
- Energy Level
- Determines how often an NPC or creature moves to a new location while executing a Wander AI package. According to a description of this attribute on the TESCS Wiki, it may also modify the distance the NPC or creature will allow to accumulate between itself and the actor it is following.
- How much morality factors into the choices an NPC makes.
In general, NPC attributes are not visible to the player within the game. The main exception is the NPC's Disposition towards the player, visible from within Bartering and Speechcraft dialogues. Percentage damage to an NPC or creature's Health is also visible when you are in combat. To obtain the other values, you must use the Console (for example, via the SetDebugText options) or the Construction Set. Values obtained in this way are listed on the individual articles for all of the game's named and unnamed characters.
Magical Effects on AttributesEdit
The following magical effects can be applied to attributes:
- Restore Attribute – The target's attribute is increased up to its base value. An attribute can only be restored after it has been damaged (see below).
- Fortify Attribute – The target's attribute is temporarily increased above its base value. This temporary increase may allow the attribute's value to exceed 100.
- Drain Attribute – The target's attribute is temporarily reduced below its base value. The attribute cannot be restored, and is instead reset to its original value once the effect is over. Although the attribute cannot be restored, it can be returned to its original value by dispelling (in the case of a spell) or curing (in the case of a poison) the cause of the drain.
- Damage Attribute – The target's attribute is reduced by a certain amount. A damaged attribute remains at the reduced amount until it can be restored (see above).
- Absorb Attribute – The target's attribute is drained by a certain amount, and the same attribute of the spellcaster is fortified by the same amount.
Relation between Attributes and SkillsEdit
Although all attributes except Luck govern three skills, the governing attribute does not have a direct effect on those skills' values. The sole exception is Luck, which governs no skills, but invisibly alters the values of eighteen of the twenty-one skills (every skill except Acrobatics, Athletics, and Speechcraft). Although the in-game journal will not show any change in skill values due to Luck, increases in Luck above 50 will result in larger effective skill values, which are taken into account when calculating factors such as weapon damage and Magicka costs. However, the maximum effective value of each of the eighteen skills altered by Luck is 100 (Acrobatics, Athletics, and Speechcraft, in contrast, continue to increase in effectiveness beyond skill value 100). Therefore, a high Luck becomes less useful when your skills are close to mastery.
Some attributes directly improve your ability to perform a related skill. In particular, both the attribute value (Strength or Agility) and skill value (Blade, Blunt, Marksman, or Hand-to-Hand) are used to calculate the damage done with a melee weapon, a ranged weapon, and in hand-to-hand combat. (See the Complete Damage Formula for details.) Other attributes have no direct effect on skills. For example, Intelligence does not alter the characteristics of potions made using Alchemy, while Intelligence and Willpower do not affect the Magicka costs of spells. (However, a high Willpower will increase your Magicka regeneration rate; see Magicka Regeneration for details.)
On the other hand, skills can affect attribute gains, as using a skill allows larger bonuses to be applied to the attribute governing the skill when leveling up. This does not apply to Luck, which governs no skills.