There are four attributes. Each has its own specific purposes, and you'll want to develop some more than others depending on how you want to play. Characters only gain one point per level (not counting character creation), so choose wisely. Attributes are used both to directly increase some aspects of the game and also to determine how much characters can advance their skills. After 757.5 days in game—that is, when your character's luck has run out—there is a chance every time you are wounded in combat that one of your attributes will permanently decrease by 1.
In addition to the player character, all NPCs and troop types have their own attribute values. For them, Strength and Agility have their regular benefits in combat, and Charisma affects the number of troops NPC lords can lead. For troops, attributes are determined randomly at the start of the game. Each of their attributes has a base value as defined by troops.txt, but beyond that a number of points based on the troop's level will be randomly distributed. This means an individual troop's effectiveness may vary between games.
Each point towards Strength increases a character's maximum hit points by 1 (this can be boosted further by increasing the Ironflesh skill). Strength also provides a damage bonus and affects the arc and speed of archery and thrown weapons. Some weapons and armor have a minimum Strength requirement for use.
The following skills cannot be developed beyond ⅓ of Strength:
Each point to Agility speeds up a character's attacks by 0.5%, running speed by a small amount, and adds 5 weapon proficiency points.
The following skills cannot be developed beyond ⅓ of Agility:
Putting a point into Intelligence automatically grants an additional skill point.
The following skills cannot be developed beyond ⅓ of Intelligence: