Attributes are a set of statistics that describe a character's strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom and charisma.
During character creation all six of the Nameless One's attributes are set at 9, and he gets 21 Character Points to distribute between them all.
Additional Character Points are granted throughout the game, when The Nameless One (TNO) gains a new level, but he only gains a stat point every time he gains a new level, a level he hadn't reached in any of his 3 classes before.
Torment features a curious departure from standard Dungeons & Dragons rules while also clinging to them at the same time, in a way that ends up being the reverse of D&D rules. In D&D, Strength was the only attribute that could advance above 18, at a certain percentage of the 19th point at a time, which is to say, it was very unlikely that any player could get 19 Str. In Torment, all the other attributes can go up to 19, no problem, only Str is still hampered by the percentage rule, so any increase of TNO's Str with Character Points can only proceed, from 18, to 18/10, to 18/20, etc.
However, there are two ways around this. The bonus gained from Specializations are not limited as Character Points are; if TNO is Str 18, and goes up to level 7 in the Fighter class before he gets that high in any other class, he will receive an unlimited +1 Str bonus and achieve 19 Strength. Character points applied thereafter will also be unlimited. The other way is from bonuses granted in the storyline, but the first is not available until Curst Prison, so that is not recommended for Fighters.
Strength (Str) affects The Nameless One's ability to hit (THAC0) and the damage he inflicts in combat. Outside of combat, it influences how much he can carry and his ability to bash open doors and locked containers. It is also important for intimidating during conversations, which usually requires a score above 15.
- See Strength for more detailed information and ways to increase strength.
Dexterity (Dex) influences The Nameless One's ability to avoid getting hit by an enemy, and gives him a better (lower) Armor Class. It is most useful for thieves, as it helps with all the thief skills, including stealth and pickpocketing.
- See Dexterity for more detailed information and ways to increase dexterity.
Constitution (Con) allows The Nameless One to have more hit points and regenerate hit points faster.
Constitution is retroactive. That is, if TNO's Constitution is increased, he will gain all the Bonus HPs as if he'd had that Constitution from the start of the game. Conversely, it does not help to increase Con before leveling up.
- See Constitution for more detailed information and ways to increase constitution.
Intelligence (Int), while having no combat effects, is most useful for mages, as it increases the number of spells The Nameless One can memorize, as well as increasing his chance of learning a spell successfully. It increases the character's Lore skill and also affects many dialogue options if it is high enough (15+).
- See Intelligence for more detailed information and ways to increase intelligence.
Wisdom is a very important attribute in multiple ways. It gives the Nameless One more dialogue options, and gives any character a bonus to experience, making them level up much faster. It also helps The Nameless One regain memories from his past lives, and thus aids storytelling.
- See Wisdom for more detailed information and ways to increase wisdom.
Charisma (Chr) gives The Nameless One more dialogue options, and can help him earn better monetary rewards. Charisma is useful to chaotic characters.
However, any challenges offered by Charisma requirements are easily met by the use of the Friends spell. Charisma becomes very important in Ravel's Maze. It can easily be raised to the 16 required, or even 18, with only one casting of the Friends spell, which TNO must cast on himself, as it only affects the caster. TNO can easily switch to Mage class to cast it and back to Fighter with Dak'kon's aid, or back to Thief class with the help of Annah, before the spell runs out.
- See Charisma for more detailed information and ways to increase charisma.
There are many way throughout the game to permanently or temporarily gain bonuses to attributes. The most obvious way is every time the Nameless One levels up, he can spend one character point on any attribute.
The maximum permanent gains to attributes are (Not counting specializations):
|Attribute||Base Max Gain||With Ancient Scroll*|
Places to lose points:
- Sarossa (only due to a bug - should not happen in the Enhanced Edition)
- Ignus -7 MaxHP in exchange for spells and fire resistance
- Pillar of Skulls -5 to -20 MaxHP
Recommended Points at Character Creation
Wisdom is by far the most important attribute in Planescape: Torment for the reasons stated above. Intelligence and Charisma are also very important to unlock many dialogue options, often leading to drastically better rewards - with the difference that Charisma can be easily raised by spells (see Friends).
Strength, Dexterity and Constitution are also used in attribute checks during certain dialogues, but much less than the 3 mental attributes. It should also be noted that Strength can be raised by spells as well (see for example Strength or Power of One).
Another important note is that raising Constitution up to 14 at character creation provides extra, non-retroactive HP (+2 per point above 9, up to +10 at 14 Con). Those extra HPs are not essential, but are "missable" nonetheless.
With all that being said, there is no "best" allocation at character creation. You will have to miss out on a couple of checks or non-retroactive bonuses at the start no matter what, but you can make sure those are minor if you focus on mental attributes.
As a rough indication, 16 in any attribute will allow you to pass 85%+ of attribute checks. Passing the higher checks can be done using temporary bonuses (consumables, tattoos, spells ...), though there are no indications in-game when a check takes place (you have to know the check is there and what attribute value you need to have to pass it).
As a rough guide:
- Only 2 checks are above 16 - one with Nordom (17) and one in the Fortress of Regrets (21) at the end of the game.
- It can be safely disregarded for the vast majority of the game with regards to attribute checks (but of course remains useful for melee fights).
- Remember that Strength can be increased temporarily by Spells, up to 25.
- There are only 3 checks based on Constitution. Only one of them is meaningful and is made in the Fortress of Regrets (21) at the end of the game.
- Raising Con to 14 at the start of the game results in a non-retroactive +10 HP bonus however.
- A score of 15 is enough in the beginning of the game, though you should make sure to have some equipment ready to raise it to 18 for certain dialogue checks (such as when interacting with the Unbroken Circle of Zerthimon, or when speaking to specific skeletons in the Dead Nations).
- The highest checks are 21, and only come after the Curst Prison (very late in the game), with the only meaningful ones being in the Fortress of Regrets at the end of the game.
- A score of 16 is enough to pass all checks in the beginning of the game.
- Outside of interactions with the Unbroken Circle of Zerthimon (which require 19 Wis to complete), with Adahn (17), and with Nordom (18), 16 Wis will last you until your first trip outside Sigil.
- 16 Charisma is enough for the vast majority of checks. Only those checks require a higher score:
- Charisma is also important when interacting with merchants (up to a 25% discount with 20 Charisma).
- Remember that Charisma can be increased temporarily by Spells, up to 25.
In closing, make sure to check the individual attribute pages if you'd like to know more about "free" permanent attribute increases. That can help you plan your points allocation better.