In Kult: Heretic Kingdoms, you can customize your character by improving your statistics (melee, ranged, magic or speed) with advancement points. You need 100 points to improve one stat one category (from F to E-,E,E+, D-,D,D+, etc.), and at creation you can distribute 800 points. Each time you gain a level you get 100 points (or more, if you're higher level), and apart from that you can find 'Hex Marks' in the dreamworld that give you 10 a piece. (There are usually 4 hex marks per map.)
But what has this to do with attunements, you ask? Well, actually hardly anything, apart from that attunements are another way to customize your character. But it was a nice sidetrack to give some extra information.
So now to attunements. They are special properties you can acquire and activate. Before you can use one, you first need to find an item that contains the attunement and equip it, meet the requirements, then gain enough attunement points to unlock it, and then activate it before you can use it. Now don't panic: I'll explain all steps separately.
Normally you can only gain attunements by finding an item that contains it. The problem is, if you find a new item, it won't list what attunement it contains, only it's requirements. (see below) So you just equip it, meet it's requirements, and hope that an interesting attunement will unlock. (Naturally you can cheat and take a peak at my items lists to find out beforehand.) However, there are a few rare occasions during the game play that NPCs (Non-playing characters: the people you meet) will teach you an attunement, so you know it immediately.
Once you find an item with an unknown (locked) attunement, you need to equip the item, and meet the requirements that are specified. Sometimes the requirements are automatically met, like with the broadsword you start the game with: it's requirement is 'melee, normal', and the broadsword is a normal melee weapon. When you equip it, you can see that the requirement is in green. (Hold your mouse over the item in the inventory to see it's details.)
But with the dagger it's different: it's requirement is 'dreamworld', meaning you can only unlock it in the dreamworld, which you learn to enter shortly after the start of the adventure. So when you equip it while not in the dreamworld, the requirement will be shown in red, and any attunement points you gain are not used to unlock the attunement of the dagger.
There are a number of different requirements:
Note however that the item will function perfectly well if you don't meet the requirements: you are just not busy unlocking the attunement. So if you find a Greatsword that has no element, but it's requirement is 'heavy melee, water', it will still do damage normally. But you will need to take it to a Civil Mage, for instance the river guardian in Arathen, to change it to water, before you can unlock the attunement. But then again, you might even change it to fire, since you want to use your favourite attunement fireblade. Then you're still not unlocking it's attunement, but are doing a lot of fire damage in the mean time.
There is one other way to gain attunement points: when you slay spirits (in the dreamworld), or demons, they will leave essences. Each essence will give you 5 attunement points when you pick it up. Note that this is a useful way to unlock attunements in items you don't want to fight with.
And then finally, the items reaches 100%, and the attunement is unlocked! Yippee! But, nothing happens. It still doesn't seem to do anything. Bummer. Let's return this game. It doesn't work.
Ho, ho, ho, not so fast. We're not at the end of the introduction yet. Let me explain further.
After a short bit into the adventure, you learn how to activate attunements. All the freshly gained attunements begin in the passive list ('All' in the attunements window). But when you move one into the active list, you might finally reap it's benefits. Might? Yes, because you will still need to meet it's requirements. So once you've fought enough with your broadsword to unlock it's attunement, outclass - I,and you move it to the active attunements, it will only work while you equip a melee weapon with normal speed. (You can check in the active attunements: the red ones don't meet their requirements.) But on the up side, any normal melee weapon will do, even one with a different attunement. So once you find a longsword and equip it, you will do more damage, still profit from outclass - I, and in the mean time unlock another attunement as well. So no more long faces.
This also means that rings, boots, cloaks and amulets are worthless to you once you've unlocked their attunements, since they're never part of a requirement and give no other benefits. (That is, unless they're quest items, of course.)
For some attunements it's easy to forget you still have to meet their requirements, like Fleet Foot only works while equipping an air weapon or focus, and Demonslayer only works in the dreamworld. So recheck the active attunements list for red ones if attunements do not seem to work.
When you first learn to activate attunements, you can have 4 active at a time, and if you want to change those, you need to find a way to spend the night (Campfire, Inn, ...). Then you'll be offered to freely change them around. Once you gained a few levels, you gradually gain more active 'slots'.(It's about 2 more every 5 levels, I think.)
By the way, there is no reason why you can't activate mutually exclusive attunements: you can't fight with a melee weapon and a bow at the same time, but you might want to alternate. Or use different elemental damage against different opponents. You can't very well take a nap to change your attunements while they're pounding on you! (Well, a permanent nap perhaps ...)
Most attunements are pretty self-explanatory: if you activate one that increases your dodge skill, you will see in your character window that your dodge skill is automatically increased. And separate skills with similar effects can be used together, unless they're part of a sequence: outclass - I and outclass - II are mutually exclusive. But combining skills is the secret to success: if you have an attunement that does something spectacular on a critical hit, it might combine very well with an attunement that gives you critical hits more often. (Although you need to be careful that the requirements are not conflicting.)
One class of attunements that's also very suitable for combining, is the focus attunements, also called spells or magic. Focuses are somewhat comparable to elemental bows, in that they shoot elemental damage to where you point. But the attunements make the difference: once you activate a focus attunement and wield a focus of the same element, it will start casting that spell. (In the bottom bar there will appear 4 boxes, each filled with an icon if the appropriate attunement is active.) The first time you attack with the focus, the magic will be released, but then it needs to recharge. You can see the icon being greyed, and then slowly become light again. When it's fully recharged, it will fire again. And yes, there are 4 boxes, and coincidentally also 4 focus attunements per element, so if you have all 4 attunements active, you can enjoy a veritable light show of all the spells firing away. Since they have different recharge times, they will usually not fire at the same time but in turn. (And note that you can temporarily disable specific spells with CTRL-F1 to F4)
Well, what are you waiting for? Start finding items, meeting requirements, collecting attunement points, unlocking attunements and activating them!