Luck as a stat?

Open Discussion on all things C&C from new product to general questions to the rules, the laws, and the chaos.
Post Reply
Scurvy_Platypus
Ungern
Posts: 60
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 7:00 am

Luck as a stat?

Post by Scurvy_Platypus »

I seem to recall Tunnels & Trolls having a luck stat (I'm at work and can't check to make sure). And Eberron has the whole Action Points thing that they do. So I'm wondering what folks think about the idea?

Generation of the Luck stat would be a straight 3d6 roll. Whatever you get, you're stuck with. Obviously if that doesn't work, you can change it. :)

A player may substitute Luck for any other stat when making a check. The player may decide to substitute a Luck roll, even if they have orginally failed the inital check. When Luck is used however, the result stands even if the Luck result is worse than the inital roll.

The number of times that Luck may be used in a game session is determined by their attribute bonus. A character with a Luck of 13-15 would therefore be able to use their Luck once per game session.

A couple of bits that would be much more dependent on the individual DM and the type of campaign they're running:

What to do with an "average" luck? My personal inclination would be to allow them a single Luck roll too. So a Luck stat ranging from 9-15 would result in a single roll each game session.

What do you do with a negative stat? Depends on the DM really. I personally would allow the player to pick a roll sometime during the session where the substitution of Luck could result in Dramatic failure (a failure that works within the story) but doesn't/won't result in the actual death of the character.

An alternative would be to simply only allow one Luck roll as normal, but the negative modifier on the attribute is applied to the roll.

A third alternative would be to say that you get one roll as normal, and that Luck checks with a positive attribute can act as if they were a Prime, and negative modifiers means it's non-Prime.

Obviously the options could be mixed and matched around to suit the feel that a DM wants. The main point for having something like a Luck stat would be to introduce an easy to keep track of method for Drama Points/Action points, as well as being a quick and dirty stat the DM can check against for those odd situations that come up.

Feedback, suggestions?

User avatar
BeZurKur
Hlobane Orc
Posts: 116
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 7:00 am

Post by BeZurKur »

I like it. It will impact the tone of the game, however. Would getting a lucky shot in vs. an aimed shot change the players view of the character? In most cases I guess they'd take it over an aimed miss, but it is something to consider.

It should allow a re-roll substituting the luck number for the regular attribute number but not changing the status of attribute as prime or non-prime. In fact, I think Luck shouldn't be eligible as prime or not. Instead, everyone has it as a Neutral check against 15 for whenever the CK asks for a Luck check.

For example, a rogue has a DEX of 14 with a +1 attribute bonus and a luck of 12 thus no bonus. He fails his climb check. He may roll again, still using DEX as prime, except this time he substitutes the 12 value with no bonus. Let's say he botches it again and is now falling to his certain doom. The CK calls for a luck check. The rogue must roll 15+ to see if there is a miraculous save somehow, like a flat rock jutting out the side. Luck attribute bonuses still apply, but I wouldn't use Task Levels or Character Level.

Negative luck is a little trickier. I'd say that the CK gets to choose when in the session the player must substitute the luck value instead. However, unlike the positive value being a re-roll, the CK must declare the substitution before the die roll. This way the player still curses his luck but is not necessarily stripped of a success. The CK may only call upon the bad luck as many times as the absolute value of the penalty. He may even do this to affect other rolls against the player. He may apply it to Dexterity when a monster is attacking him to represent the player stumbling over a rock or root.

User avatar
Omote
Battle Stag
Posts: 11560
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 7:00 am
Location: The fairest view in the park, Ohio.
Contact:

Post by Omote »

I don;t use LUCK as a stat per se, but I have used "Fate Points" in many of my campaigns, which could be seen as luck. Fate Points in my game worked like a one-time reroll or stop-you-from-dying bandage. I used them to prevent lower level PCs from getting bumped off so easily.

I've never really thought of luck as an actual stat. Might be interesting.

...............................................Omote

FPQ
_________________
> Omote's Advanced C&C stuff <
Duke Omote Landwehr, Holy Order of the FPQ ~ Prince of the Castles & Crusades Society
@-Duke Omote Landwehr, Holy Order of the FPQ ~ Prince of the Castles & Crusades Society-@
VAE VICTUS!
>> Omote's Advanced C&C stuff <<

Treebore
Mogrl
Posts: 20660
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 7:00 am
Location: Arizona and St Louis

Post by Treebore »

I like grim and gritty, but I do allow "god calls", basically a 5% chance to call on your god to save your sorry butt. "religious" classes get a +1%/level bonus, and the few times I have had players play very devout characters I have given them the bonus as well.

When needed one of the players usually makes the roll. Preventing a TPK. Plus then I get to roleplay a god and then, if I want, or think it is necessary, I hand out a quest to have the game go in a direction I want it to. I won't do this to players who have been playing devoutly religious, at worst their god will "ask" them to do something. Which actually amounts to the same thing since the player takes the worship aspect of their character so seriously.

IF a players PC who hasn't been very religious (lip service only) makes a successful god call they usually have to pay a price, such as their favorite magic item, or a very expensive magic item, and/or perform a quest. They usually become very devout after that, or they "hate gods who dare to be greedier than they are".

Its been lots of fun over the years.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

Grand Knight Commander of the Society.

Ghul
Ulthal
Posts: 575
Joined: Fri May 05, 2006 7:00 am

Post by Ghul »

I use something I cal "Luck Points". Every character gets three to start with, and gain three per level. A luck point is used to re-roll any die roll, but the luck point must be announced in advance. So, naturally, there are cases where the luck point is wasted if the initial roll is good enough for the player.

For example: Ox the Barbarian is fighting an Ogre. Both combatants are on the ropes, and the next blow could decide the battle. It's Ox's turn to swing. Player announces, "I want to use a luck point on this attack roll."

He rolls a d20 and scores a 2. So, he gets to re-roll. The second roll is what he's stuck with -- he does not get to choose one or the other. If he'd rolled a 19, the player would say, "I'll take that roll." Either way, the luck point is spent.

I've been using this method for about six or seven years now, and my players love it.

--Ghul

Maliki
Lore Drake
Posts: 1523
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 7:00 am

Post by Maliki »

Ghul wrote:
I use something I cal "Luck Points". Every character gets three to start with, and gain three per level. A luck point is used to re-roll any die roll, but the luck point must be announced in advance. So, naturally, there are cases where the luck point is wasted if the initial roll is good enough for the player.

For example: Ox the Barbarian is fighting an Ogre. Both combatants are on the ropes, and the next blow could decide the battle. It's Ox's turn to swing. Player announces, "I want to use a luck point on this attack roll."

He rolls a d20 and scores a 2. So, he gets to re-roll. The second roll is what he's stuck with -- he does not get to choose one or the other. If he'd rolled a 19, the player would say, "I'll take that roll." Either way, the luck point is spent.

I've been using this method for about six or seven years now, and my players love it.

--Ghul

I used a similar system years ago for a couple of campaigns, but then sort of let it go. Nobobdy seemed to miss it.
_________________
Never throw rocks at a man with a Vorpal Sword!

Scurvy_Platypus
Ungern
Posts: 60
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 7:00 am

Post by Scurvy_Platypus »

Whimsy cards: Yeah, I know of 'em. I've actually still got the Storypath cards from way back when. Also played a bit of Torg too.
Luck Points/Fate points: The Luck stat is basically my answer to those points. Personally, it always annoys me when I have to decide _before_ my dice roll if I'm going to use it or not. Something like that feels to me like the mechanic is saying, "You can use me, but it could be a total waste. HA HA you fool!" If I'm going to allow the players to modify the outcome of something, I want them to be invested in the outcome, not whether or not they just wasted something they won't get replaced until the next level.

By limiting the number of uses to match the attribute bonus, and allowing it to refresh each game session, it provides a simple tracking mechanism as well as reinforcement of a particular style of play.

Everyone having a potential get-out-of-jail-for-free roll each session encourages people to be willing to take a bit more of a risk on something. But then again, the playstyle I like to encourage is much more in the style of people going around and doing larger than life things, as opposed to worrying about and conserving resources.

Fafhrd and Grey Mouser lived in a world where death could come at any time. But they still acted in a larger than life manner, at least in my opinion. Hence my appreciation for things like Orgies, Inc. and looking to put in Luck. Thanks for the responses so far, and I'm still happy to hear more.

User avatar
moriarty777
Renegade Mage
Posts: 3735
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2006 7:00 am
Location: Montreal, Canada

Post by moriarty777 »

Some of this reminds me of the Karma Pool concept in Fasa's Shadowrun (I haven't kept up it since the game changed hands so I don't know if Karma is still used in its present incarnation)

You got maybe a point at the end of the adventure and you could accumulate them. These could be used for rerolls... adding an extra die to your pool (multiple d6 were used for checks)... That sort of thing... It was pretty cool.

WEG Star Wars used Force Points pretty much in the same way as well as it could 'double' certain results you achieved ... allowing for some pretty crazy and heroic maneuvers.

Likewise... I know someone has put out an article regarding Fate Points but I haven't read the details upon it yet.

It's an interesting mechanic to be sure and I know when I was playing the Wheel Of Time d20 game, you could take a Feat called Dark One's Luck which allowed a reroll once per day (taking the better of the two rolls).

As a Stat... well that would be an interesting thing to look at but the only place I've seen it is in the old Wizardry computer games!

Moriarty the Red
_________________
"You face Death itself in the form of... 1d4 Tarrasques!"

Partner to Brave Halfling Publishing
http://www.arcanacreations.com
Image

User avatar
BeZurKur
Hlobane Orc
Posts: 116
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 7:00 am

Post by BeZurKur »

Some posters have mentioned the use of Fate and others a Luck stat. While these two share similarities, such as the opportunity to change a roll, they are different in their affect on tone. We should consider these differences to decide the effect we want for our game -- if any.

The use of Fate points reinforces the larger scope of heroes by allowing them to turn a failure into a success through the sheer weight of their fate or destiny. The utilization of a Fate point does not diminish the character but makes him greater.

A Luck stat, while it can turn a failure into a success, does so by removing the characters skill or talent from the equation. The success is awarded by an ambiguous force called luck that also works against some characters. In campaigns that recognize this force, they actually track it and assign a value to it, thus making it a stat.

I can see a place for either mechanic. The use of Fate points fits into virtually any high fantasy game. These characters often save the world or at least the kingdom. Luck as a stat can work in a Greek Myth game where it can represent the favor of gods. PC's would go against characters with their own Luck scores. That would be a great way of representing gods that took interest in certain mortals -- for better or worse -- and reflect their intervention through the game mechanics.

imperialus
Mist Elf
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 7:00 am

Post by imperialus »

One other interesting aspect of a luck stat is it could mechanically alter the circumstances a character would find him in. Say the party bard has been caught in bed with the baron's daughter. A quick roll of the luck stat could determine what kind of response he gets. A natural 20 could mean that the baron simply laughs it off with a boys will be boys, girls will be girls reaction. After all he used to be an adventurer himself. If he failed miserably the bard could soon find himself being tracked down by Gorthab Harp-smasher, famed slayer of bards who's hatred of the class knows no bounds.

Another example:

Say the thief is pilfering some stolen items from a nobles manor and the alarm is raised. If he passed his luck roll that means that there are no guardsmen nearby and he has at least a few minutes to make good his escape. Perhaps on a natural 20 not only are there no guardsmen in the area but they are clear on the other side of town trying to break up a battle between streetgangs, the thief is almost definatly going to be able to waltz out of the manor unmolested. A minor failure could mean that while there are guardsmen nearby they are relatively untrained and it should be easy enough for the thief to elude them. A colossal failure might mean that not only are there guardsmen nearby but it is a squad of the crimson guard, the emperors personal bodyguards and the leader of the squad is the targeted noblemans' nephew/son-inlaw/godson and thus takes personal interest in seeing the perpetrator caught.

Edit: As for what I myself use, every character has a single "hand of god" point that can be used to either:

1) turn any roll into a natural 20

2) Keep a dead character alive altering his hitpoint total so he/she is one away from being dead (my hitpoints go to -con before death) and stable.

andakitty
Hlobane Orc
Posts: 191
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:00 am

Post by andakitty »

BRP games have the Luck roll as standard issue, and it is used in just that manner (POW x a modifier). I am not sure how to do it for C&C, although I suppose a roll against WIS might be similar in feel.

User avatar
DangerDwarf
Maukling
Posts: 5284
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 7:00 am
Location: East Texas

Post by DangerDwarf »

moriarty777 wrote:
Some of this reminds me of the Karma Pool concept in Fasa's Shadowrun (I haven't kept up it since the game changed hands so I don't know if Karma is still used in its present incarnation)

Yeah, I've used Sr Karma in my AD&D games in the past. Worked out pretty good.

In SR4 it was changed to Edge, which is an actual attribute now. Basic principle, different mechanics though. Plus, lets you invoke the "Dead Man's Trigger" ability, which I have to say, is a cool name.

imperialus
Mist Elf
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 7:00 am

Post by imperialus »

Came up with this for a house rule on Luck. I'd appriciate thoughts and input.

Luck: The 7th stat, Luck is rolled after all other ability scores are finalized. To determine your Luck roll 2d6+6 and use the same modifier table as other stats. Luck cannot be swapped out with a different stat, and no character can choose Luck as a prime statistic, it is a measure of the favor of the gods, Karma, the luck of the draw, that intangible force that can make the difference between life and death just as readily as it can decide if you have a winning poker hand.

Luck is used in one of two situations:

1. Any time you are dissatisfied with a die roll you may re-roll using your Luck modifier plus any other applicable adjustments (BTH bonus, level, ect.) instead. For better or worse, this second roll is the final result. Using Luck in such a manner means that your Luck stat is permanently lowered by 1. No magic spell short of a Wish or Miracle can restore the lost Luck. Upon going up a level a single point of spent luck is restored up to your original maximum.

2. I may call for a Luck Check. This is used to determine the outcome of situations that your character has no direct control over.

For example: Say Bob, the party thief is robbing a nobles manor and the alarm is raised. I may call for a Luck check. If the roll is a success, that means that there are no guardsmen nearby and he has at least a few minutes to make good his escape. Perhaps on a natural 20 not only are there no guardsmen in the area but they are clear on the other side of town trying to break up a battle between streetgangs, and Bob is almost definatly going to be able to waltz out of the manor unmolested. A minor failure could mean that while there are guardsmen nearby they are relatively untrained and it should be easy enough for Bob to elude them. A colossal failure might mean that not only are there guardsmen nearby but it is a squad of the crimson guard, the emperors personal bodyguards and the leader of the squad is the targeted noblemans' nephew/son-inlaw/godson and thus takes personal interest in seeing the perpetrator caught.

Using Luck in such a manner does not lower your Luck stat.

User avatar
BeZurKur
Hlobane Orc
Posts: 116
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 7:00 am

Post by BeZurKur »

I like it, particularly the skill check. You can base a lot of checks around this, such as random encounters. If the players are spending too much time trying to read the Scrolls of Whatnot, instead of making the regular random encounter check, assign a target number and roll against luck. As long as they move forward, there is no need to check unless something makes you think they should. C&C prep is now easier!

I also like that you can use up your luck. That's a cool touch. However, regaining one per level seems too extreme for me. At that pace, I wonder if the players will use it much. They'd probably only consider it when they are close to leveling up. I say let them use it as much as they like, dropping it a point each time, but don't tell them when it refreshes. Maybe a luck check at the current level in between scenes or chapters could work. Every time you switch, make the announcement for the luck check recovery. Even if no one used it. That might prevent from players hoarding it, but also careful of not overspending. To me, a luck feature you'd barely use is hardly a feature. Just my two cents.

imperialus
Mist Elf
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 7:00 am

Post by imperialus »

not a bad idea... brainstorming here but perhaps if at the begining of each session players make a luck check. If it passes they gain a point of luck up to their maximum, a natural 20 restores their luck to it's maximum value, a failure means they loose a point of luck, and a natural 1 means that they loose a point of luck (permanantly?) and the gods are looking on him/her with disfavor and the character cannot choose to roll against his/her luck that day.

imperialus
Mist Elf
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 7:00 am

Post by imperialus »

Alternatively what if perhaps instead of increasing the refresh rate of luck using it becomes more appealing? How about whenever you elect to use your luck to affect an outcome it is automatically assumed to be prime?

That would allow for Hank the Int 6 fighter to suddenly have a stroke of brilliance when staring at an intricate puzzle trap that is about to kill him and come up with the correct solution.

Carrying the thought further, perhaps luck would allow Wizbang the Str 4 wizard to gain a surge of strength due to the adrenalin coursing through his body and move the rock that his best friend is pinned under.

User avatar
BeZurKur
Hlobane Orc
Posts: 116
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 7:00 am

Post by BeZurKur »

imperialus wrote:
Alternatively what if perhaps instead of increasing the refresh rate of luck using it becomes more appealing? How about whenever you elect to use your luck to affect an outcome it is automatically assumed to be prime?

That I like. This is real aid from the gods kind of stuff. I think it would be important to give major NPC's the same attribute as well. The danger, however, is then going up against a major NPC villain at full luck while the players' spent theirs just getting to him. A possible way to balance it out is to consider what behavior you want to encourage from the players and allow them to refresh their luck points when they do that thing -- whatever it may be.

Better yet, have the player declare what behavior earns him a luck refresh check at character generation. For example, Theseus checks whenever he behaves overconfident; Odysseus refreshes when he lies his way out a problem; Achilles checks for being arrogant. This would encourage roleplay to benefit from the luck and the gods. I think the players should narrate how his luck and god's aid benefited him. This could develop an interesting backstory to the PC's.

Treebore
Mogrl
Posts: 20660
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 7:00 am
Location: Arizona and St Louis

Post by Treebore »

People think their luck changes anywhere from hour to hour to as long as day to day. So why not let them recover used luck by resting?

Instead of it being a stat with as much as 18 luck points to use in a day use that idea of so many luck points per level. Say 2 or 3/lvl. Then you would have to put a cap on it, or maybe slow down the progression as they get higher in level. Say at 5th level the luck gain drops by one. At 10th level and up you get one point every other level. A person can only have so much luck, right? Usually it seems to be bad luck.

Anyway, I like the idea, but the luck points definitely cannot become so useable as to become an "alter fate" ability.

(I spend some time thinking)

OK, I think I could handle maybe 10 "luck uses" per gaming session at most.

So I think 1 luck point per level, that is replenished every day/game session/or when the CK says so, can work. Then after 10th level they gain a point of luck every even numbered level (IE 12, 14, 16, 18, etc...)

So at most they will have 15 luck points to use in a given period of time.

As for the NPC/bad guy issue. Yes, they get them too, but to be fair to the PC's just assume they (the NPC/bad guys) have already used half of their days luck by the time they fight the PC's. Only let "key" bad guys have full luck, to balance out the fact that he will be battling a party that probably still has a large pool of luck between them.

So get rid of the "roll your luck" and just use the burn a luck point to have a roll redone. Assuming you even agree with my reasoning.

Or keep the luck stat, but use the luck pool as well. Just use them differently, IE as was earlier described. A small pool to burn luck for truly dangerous conditions, then a luck check based off of your stat for general luck checks where danger isn't such a critical element.

I think I will try playtesting this weekend.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

Grand Knight Commander of the Society.

Scurvy_Platypus
Ungern
Posts: 60
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 7:00 am

Post by Scurvy_Platypus »

For what it's worth...

It's looking like I'm going to be able to start playtesting some of my stuff next week. So my original idea (use the Luck as a reroll, number of times in a game equal to the stat bonus) is what I'll be trying it.

I'd be happy to hear how other people's tests/variations work out too.

Treebore
Mogrl
Posts: 20660
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 7:00 am
Location: Arizona and St Louis

Post by Treebore »

The only reason I don't like the stat bonus thing is that this is something I think should be evenly distributed among the players.

Yeah, everyone has different degrees of luckiness and all of that, but the only reason I would even put this into a game as a mechanic is to help characters live. So that is why I am going to go with an even distribution of luck/level. I want everyone to have an equal chance of their PC living.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

Grand Knight Commander of the Society.

Treebore
Mogrl
Posts: 20660
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 7:00 am
Location: Arizona and St Louis

Post by Treebore »

That same concept worked pretty well for Shadowrun too. I'll play around with it. You definitely have to use stuff in play to really get how it works, so hopefully I'll get two game sessions in this weekend (it is my wife and kids) and I can try it two ways. Then maybe the contrasts will give me enough to make better decisions.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

Grand Knight Commander of the Society.

Post Reply