In Pillars of Eternity, there are just six primary attributes, but these attributes control every most variables when it comes to skills and a lot of overlap in other areas in the game, like conversations and world interaction. Each skill point is valuable and should logically be placed where it best suits your character. Unlike skills, attributes are assigned at the start of the game.
Primary attributes directly impact secondary attributes (what I'm calling them), in order to simplify the game. For instance, Might will give you Endurance, Health, and Fortitude. These combos allow you to spread your points out to important attributes without having to micromanage each one.
Primary attributes affect secondary attributes collectively. Secondary attributes are Endurance, Health, Fortitude, Reflex, Will, Concentration, Deflection, Interrupt, Duration, and Area of Effect.
These are assigned at the very start of the game and the core basis for your character.
+3% Damage, +3% Healing, +2 Fortitude
Might also impacts "brute" interactions within the world.
+2% Health, +2% Endurance, +2 Fortitude
Rarely used in interactions, it rolls for pain infliction and stuff like that.
+2 Reflex, +3% Action Speed
Controls interactions that require fast movement / slight of hand.
+3 Interrupt, +1 Deflect, and +2 Reflex
Controls interactions that involve "perceiving" things.
+6% Area of Effect, +5% Duration, +1 Will
It governs interactions that involve talking your way out of something or thinking / problemsolving.
+3 Concentration, +2 Will, +1 Deflection
Interactions involving leadership and the such will use resolve.
Health & Endurance
Endurance is your primary health bar, if it runs out you are knocked out until the end of the fight, but it does regenerate after combat. Your Health is your life force, it is harder to regenerate, isn't impacted by spells, and you can only be restored by resting.
If either reaches zero, depending on the game mode, your party member will either be knocked out (Endurance) and need to be revived after combat (or during) or die (health). Death is permanent for a character, but there is an option in some game modes to allow a character to be "maimed" instead, where they will die if they take additional damage. The only way to health health / remove maim is to rest.
The way maim works is when the character is knocked out, after battle and being revived, you will need to rest in order to cure the maim status. If the character takes any damage, they will die. Death isn't reversible, unless you return to a previous save (assuming your game mode allows it).
Defense abilities are given +3 bonus each level you gain automatically. Defense attributes are impacted by two primary attributes each, however, it's important to note that they all help in some way or another throughout the game and I wouldn't specifically worry about them at character creation. Spells, abilities, etc. can increase your defense.
Deflection: Resist direct attacks, influenced by perception, resolve, talents, spells, items, weapons, etc.
Reflex: Dodging AoE attacks.
Fortitude: Resist diseases, poisons, DoTs.
Will: Resist magic.
AoE: Increases the splash range of skills and spells.
Duration: Increase the length of time a skill or spell is active.
Interrupt: Increases the chance to delay an opponents action.
Damage: Increases damage from all sources.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Pillars of Eternity Game Page.