These were actually a part of the game I created first, even before The Pool. Let's face it, most die pool games since the early 90s have generated die pools from a stat + skill merge. This one began the same way, but as I mentioned earlier, I started messing with how that worked to minimize the amount of die rolling by introducing fixed values. That leads us to what attributes do now. In short, any action you take that's governed by an attribute gets that many free effort points.
So what are they? They're broad and few, and they are:
- Sword - obvious force, physical and social. If you're being direct and exerting pressure on something or someone else, it's probably a Sword action.
- Cloak - shiftiness, avoidance, misdirection. If you're avoiding a situation, or somehow manipulating it though guile instead of strength, it's probably a Cloak action.
- Cross - resilience, steadfastness, perseverance. Of the three, this is the only passive attribute. It involves not being affected by an external stressor.
Let's take this to combat. You can bolster your attacks with Sword, since your attack is an application of force on an object. You use Cloak to augment your defense, since it takes you away from an oncoming attack. Cross comes into play when you've been hurt and need to get back up, meaning it's good for recovery (we'll talk more about that soon).
Each of these gets a rating, and you can apply it each exchange. However, you can only apply an attribute once an exchange. So even if you make 3 attacks at once, you only get your bonus from Sword one time. You can split it up if you like, but you don't apply your full rating to every action.