Each character has base attributes which are then impacted by their traits. The total is shown on the character screen, with the base visible on mouseover. Base attributes are mostly gained during childhood through education, but can also be altered by events.
Some events and event chains will only have certain choices open to you if you have a qualifying level of an attribute. For instance, if a vassal demands one of your titles, normally rejecting him will give him an opinion malus for years, but if your Diplomacy is high enough, you can reject him politely and he won't be angry about it.
For many applications of attributes, the relevant factor is not the character's attribute but the State attribute.
State attribute = Ruler attribute + (0.5 x Spouse attribute) + Councillor attribute
- Only the primary spouse's attributes affect the state attributes. Concubines and secondary wives do not affect the state attributes.
- If there is a regency, the attributes of the regent plus the councillor are used instead.
- If a regent or spouse is also a councilor, they will only count once.
- A courtier's state skill (e.g. for monthly prestige gain) is just their personal skill.
Diplomacy skill reflects your ability to negotiate and please people. It is the determining attribute for Chancellors.
- Increases your courtiers' opinion towards you (also councilors and spouse)
- Boosts Cultural technology acquisition
- Increases everyone's opinion toward you (except those who see personal diplomacy)
- Increases the effectiveness of gifts
- Gives you prestige (0.01/month per point)
- Increases your vassal limit
- affects battles in which you are a commander,
- affects the size and reinforcement of demesne levies,
- gives a boost to Military technology acquisition.
- increases the rate at which your armies recover morale
- increases your demesne limit (along with spouse stewardship)
- gives a boost to Economy technology acquisition
- increases chance to convert province to ruler's culture.
- increases your demesne income (+2% per point)
Intrigue is a measure of skill at manipulation and scheming. It is the determining attribute for Spymasters.
- Increases plot power (and decreases the power of plots against you)
- Makes your plots less likely to be discovered(?)
- Increases imprisonment chance (and makes you harder to imprison)
It does not give any technology boost.
- gives a boost to all technological acquisitions.
- gives you piety (0.02/month per point)
Characters can strive to improve their base attributes in several ways:
- Ambition events
- Focus (with Way of Life)
- Education#Effects_on_guardians (without Conclave)
Two hidden attributes measure the physical well-being of your character: Health and Fertility. A character's base health and fertility are not normally visible, but trait effects are listed in tooltips.
- Main article: Health
Healthy characters are less likely to fall prey to disease and more likely to fully recover from disease. They are also less likely to die from old age in any month. High health is key to a long life.
Fertility determines how likely an individual character is to conceive. Keep in mind that both parents' fertility is taken into account. In addition, it appears that having spouses also be lovers will make it 3 times more likely for Breeding#Pregnancy to occur.
Various Traits affect fertility, including:
- Celibate (-1000%)
- Mangled (-50%)
- Inbred (-30%)
- Severely Injured (-25%)
- Chaste (-15%)
- Homosexual (-15%)
- Strong (+10%)
- Midas Touched (+15%)
- Lustful (+20%)
- Hedonist (+20%)