1.1 SPECIAL Attributes


Every d20 SPECIAL character has a number basic characteristics, called ‘Attributes’. The seven Attributes are Strength (abbreviated Str), Perception (Per), Endurance (End), Charisma (Cha), Intellect (Int), Agility (Agi), and Luck (Lck). Taking the first letter of each spells the word ‘SPECIAL’ – you can use this acronym to easily remember the seven Attributes.

Most Attribute scores range between 3 (terrible) and 18 (tremendous). A score of 10 or 11 is considered average; higher Attribute scores will give you bonuses, while a lower Attribute score will give you penalties.

The method used for determining your character’s Attributes is explained later. Once you’ve mastered the basics of the game, you’ll also learn about fractional Attributes and how your scores increase with experience.

Attribute Modifiers:

Just about every dice roll you make is going to be modified based on your character’s Attributes. Each of your character’s above-average Attributes gives you a benefit on certain die rolls, and each below-average Attribute gives you a disadvantage on other die rolls. A perceptive character is more likely to notice the raider ambush he’s walking into. A tough character has a better chance of surviving a radscorpion’s poison sting. A stupid character is less likely to remember that path through the Ancient minefield.

Each Attribute has a modifier. The table below shows the modifier for each score:

Attribute Score Modifiers

Attribute Score Attribute Modifier
1 -5
2-3 -4
4-5 -3
6-7 -2
8-9 -1
10-11 +0
12-13 +1
14-15 +2
16-17 +3
18-19 +4
20-21 +5

The modifier is the number you apply to the die roll when your character tries to do something related to that Attribute. You also use the modifier with some numbers that aren?t die rolls. A positive modifier is called a bonus, and a negative modifier is called a penalty.

The Seven Attributes:

Each Attribute partially describes your character and affects some of his actions. This section describes each of the seven. When an Attribute changes (decreased due to poison or disease, or increased from using Ancient medicines, for example) all statistics associated with that score change accordingly.

Strength, Endurance, and Agility are often referred to as ‘physical Attributes’. Perception, Charisma, and Intellect are considered ‘mental Attributes’. Luck doesn’t fit into either of these categories.

Strength: [Str]

Strength is simple to define; it measure your character’s muscle and physical power. How much can he lift? How hard can he it? Exactly how powerful is he? Strength is the class Attribute for enforcers, and is important for anyone who wants to prevail in combat.

You apply your character’s Strength modifier to:

  • Strength Attribute checks, including athletic activities such as climbing, jumping, or swimming, or for applications of brute force – breaking down doors and the like.
  • Attack rolls with melee weapons.
  • Damage rolls when using a melee or thrown weapon. (Exceptions: Damage with light weapons add only half the Strength bonus, while two-handed attacks add one-and-a-half times the Strength bonus. A Strength penalty, but not a bonus, applies to attacks made with a bow or a sling.)

Perception: [Per]

Perception describes a character’s awareness, intuition, and common sense. Does he notice when the scav pilfers his ammo clips? Can he detect the underling ambush? While Intellect (described below) represents one’s ability to analyze information, Perception represents being in tune with and aware of one’s surroundings. Perception is a class Attribute for savants. If you want your character to have acute senses, put a high score in Perception.

You apply your character’s Perception modifier to:

  • Perception Attribute checks, such as those dealing with vision and hearing, searches, and sensing the motives of others.
  • Initiative checks. Characters with high Perception can usually act first in battle.

Endurance: [End]

Endurance represents your character’s health and stamina. Can he keep going and play through the pain? Can he march through miles of bone-wearying wasteland without stopping for a breather? Does he shake off the mutant flu like a dog sheds water or does it bury him? Endurance is the outlander’s class Attribute, but it’s important for everyone since it increases a character’s hit points.

  • Your Endurance score (not your End modifier) directly determines your base hit points. If your character’s Endurance changes, his hit points also increase or decrease accordingly.

You apply your character’s Endurance modifier to:

  • Endurance Attribute checks, including stamina-related activities such as long-distance running, forced marches, or resisting the elements. An Endurance check is required in situations requiring great fortitude, such as for resisting poison and similar threats.

Charisma: [Cha]

Charisma measures a character’s force of personality, persuasiveness, willpower, personal magnetism, and ability to lead. It represents actual personal strength, not merely how one is perceived by others in a social setting. Can your character talk his way past a bevy of guards? Can he help negotiate a peace treaty between the pure strains and the mongrelfolk? Can he convince his followers to hold back the rampaging warbot “for just one minute”? Charisma is a class Attribute for savants, and is important for any character who wants to become a leader.

You apply your character’s Charisma modifier to:

  • Charisma Attribute checks, such as attempts to influence others, interpersonal interactions, diplomacy, and checks involving bluffs or deception. A Charisma check is required to resist effects that require strength of will, such as for against mind-affecting psionic powers.
  • The number of times per day that you can use your psionic mutant powers.
  • The Difficulty Class to resist psionic powers used by the character.

Intellect: [Int]

Intellect determines how well your character learns and reasons. Can he figure out which way to point the relic before he presses the button? Can he decipher the strange riddle that unlocks the Vault of Ancients? Can he remember all the names of his fellow explorers? Intellect is a class Attribute for savants, but is also important for any character who wants to have a wide range of knowledge.

You apply your character’s Intellect modifier to:

  • Intellect Attribute checks, such as those dealing with memory, reasoning, or knowledge. In particular, a successful Intellect check is required to figure out how to use Ancient relics.
  • The number of additional languages (spoken and written) your character knows at the start of the game.

Agility: [Agi]

Agility measures hand-eye coordination, dexterity, grace, and balance. Can your character deftly maneuver through a gauntlet of death? Can he hit the security camera monitoring an Ancient base at 200 paces? Does he respond quickly enough to the torc grenade to save his skin? Agility is the class Attribute is for scavengers, but it is also extremely important for characters who are active in ranged combat.

You apply your character’s Agility modifier to:

  • Agility Attribute checks, such as those dealing with nimbleness or manual dexterity like acrobatics, balance, hiding, moving silently, delicate handiwork, etc. An Agility check is required in situations requiring quick reflexes, such as avoiding grenades and other attacks that you can escape by moving quickly.
  • Attack rolls with ranged weapons.
  • Defense Class, provided the character can react to the attack.

Luck: [Lck]

Some people are born luckier than others. Luck is an odd Attribute; it’s a combination of fate, karma and, in general, how the universe views you. All characters will benefit somewhat from a high Luck, and will suffer a little more with a low Luck. Luck is not a class Attribute for anyone.

  • The maximum number of Luck Points your character can have at one time is equal to your class level plus your Luck modifier (add four (+4) if you have selected Luck as a Prime). A character regains Luck points as he grows in experience.

You apply your character’s Luck modifier to:

  • Luck Attribute checks, such as those involving gambling. Luck checks can also be used when no other Attribute is appropriate.
  • Luck Points gained at character creation or when attaining a new level.
  • Lucky re-rolls. A character can spend a Luck Point to re-roll an Attribute check, an attack roll, or any other d20 roll. Your Luck modifier is applied to the reroll.
  • Fractional Attribute rolls.

A character who selects Luck as a Prime Attribute gains four (4) additional Luck Points to start (and four (4) bonus Luck Points at each class level).

Prime Attributes:

Of the seven Attributes, the player selects two as Prime Attributes. The selection of Primes has a large impact in determining the outcome of many actions in d20 SPECIAL. You gain a +4 bonus on those Attribute checks associated with a Prime. If the key Attribute for a check is one of the character’s Primes, he has a greater chance of successfully performing the task.

Selection of Primes is explained in greater detail later. For now, just remember that your choice strongly affects the possibility of success for many actions in the game.

Class Attributes:

Each class has one or more Attributes designated as ‘class Attributes’. At least one of the character’s Primes must match the class Attribute for his chosen profession. Strength is an enforcer’s class Attribute; for an outlander it’s Endurance; a scavenger’s class Attribute is Agility; and a savant has three class Attributes – Perception, Charisma, and Intellect. (Luck is not a class Attribute for anyone.)

A character receives a bonus on rolls related to his class Attribute(s) to reflect his training and practice. For starting characters, this bonus is small compared to that for his Primes. However, as your character grows in experience, the bonus related to your class Attribute(s) increases substantially.


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