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Luck question


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I'm curious how luck is used in your games?

I know some use it as form of bennies for every six rolled or have the GM decide what it means.

My group came up with an idea that for every 6 rolled it would give the PC 5 points/per as a sort of "mini VPP" to pull a rabbit out of a hat (a contact, a secret power, a weapon, etc...)

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I know this doesn't answer your question, but I sometimes allow my players to take "Fate Packages" for their characters.  That's 1d6 of Luck and 1d6 of Unluck - for free.  It doesn't count against character point limits or Complication limits.  And they can take more than one d6 of "Fate", but usually no more than 3d6.  And they're rolled on the same dice.  This represents characters that have more wacky, unpredictable things happen to them than others.

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1 hour ago, PhilFleischmann said:

I know this doesn't answer your question, but I sometimes allow my players to take "Fate Packages" for their characters.  That's 1d6 of Luck and 1d6 of Unluck - for free.  It doesn't count against character point limits or Complication limits.  And they can take more than one d6 of "Fate", but usually no more than 3d6.  And they're rolled on the same dice.  This represents characters that have more wacky, unpredictable things happen to them than others.



Interesting.  It brings to mind a mechanic from a totally forgettable rules-light western game I finished reading a couple of months ago (In my nonexistent free time, I'm adapting and expanding on a rather generic adventure from the rules book).  Seriously, I honestly couldn't remember the name of that game if you offered money: it was that forgettable.


But it had an interesting mechanic.  I seem to recall it was one of those "cinematic" type systems (but again: I don't actually remember.  Man was it unimpressive).


I don't even remember how it affected the "regular" skill  / attack roll, but along with the "skill check" dice players threw two additional dice of different colors from each other and the skill check dice.  One was labeled "good luck / good things the other was, as you've already guessed, bad juju.  subtract the bad from the good and do a thing with it.  Wish I could remember the thing....  Maybe it modified your roll up and down?  Removed penalties or somehow changed the scene?   Lord, but it was forgettable-- the adventure was the only interesting thing in the whole dad-gummed book.  :lol:   


It's not really going anywhere, but your comment made me think of the "roll the good and the bad and total them" aspect.   



If only I could remember what they were actually _for_, though.....




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For freeform games or as a quick, simple mechanic for snap rulings, d6 minus d6 is nice because it's +/-5, so it's immediately intuitive how good or how bad the results are, without even comparing it to a stat or a target number.

As for the actual question of how to use Luck/Unluck... if how it's written up in the books doesn't butter your biscuit, my inlination would be to take a cue from BESM, and have the player roll for it at the beginning of the session, then for each point of Luck they can have one reroll, and if the result is worse, well, they can use another reroll unless they're out of Luck :winkgrin:


Unluck, of course, means the GM can tell you to reroll, though if the player gets a better result then I'd let them have it, and even play it up because that's the kind of thing that makes for a memorable moment of awesome. Likewise, I'd probably only call in the Unluck roll on a moderate success, rather than spoil the excitement of getting a really awesome roll by making it not count. The game is about having fun, after all, and ALMOST doing something really cool except the GM said no, you can't, is not fun.

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I usually prefer to have luck (and unluck) affect something other than actual rolls.  Dice rolls are luck already.  Luck makes something entirely different happen, not just a better or worse roll of something that you're doing.


Lucky (Very Lucky):

The guy chasing you trips or stumbles.  (He trips and sprains his ankle.)

The guy chasing you in a vehicle is cut off by a truck coming in from a side street.  (The truck hits his vehicle.)

You fall in water instead of on concrete.  (You land on a stack of mattresses.)

Normal in the crowd distracts the enemy you're fighting.  (Normal throws something, throwing off the enemy's aim of his BFG.)


Unlucky: Well, pretty much the same as the above, except flipped.


And yes, combat re-rolls are also a legitimate use of Luck/Unluck.  But there should be a narrative reason for it.


"I was fighting Professor Evil, and I rolled a 16, but then my Luck kicked in and I re-rolled a 4!"




"I was fighting Professor Evil, and my shot would have missed, but he was distracted by a bug flying around his face.  So he swatted at it, rather than keeping he eye on me and avoiding my blaster!"


It suddenly occurs to me that it might be useful to have a handy table of lucky/unlucky things that might happen to justify rerolls and their results.  Each GM can write one up in advance based on the genre and campaign circumstances.  Then they can easily refer to it and pick an appropriate one, rather than having to make them up on the fly, risking always coming up with the same thing.


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For what it's worth, I use it pretty much the way you do; that's pretty much how it's written up in the 2e rules, after all, and those are the rules I use.


However, there are _tons_ of interesting suggestions all over the board for "de-randomizing" Luck, and for taking the GM out of it completely.  The Luck threads tend to get really interesting, and really, really long. ;)



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Never actually had a PC with Luck.  Closest was the one with Unluck, which of course never got rolled.  That said, I've got ideas.  Hot, spicy, dangerous ideas


Old ideas:

On 1/3/2019 at 1:05 AM, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

I'd suggest back-calculating the "value" of a success on Luck.  Each dice costs 5 and has a 1/6th chance of working.  That's basically equal to a 7- activation roll.  Also, Luck does always choose the "right" thing.  So call it a +1 for "always helpful", a -2 for "only in dire straits" and a -2 for the activation roll and we can back-calculate that a success on luck should be worth about 12 points of effect.  Therefore, before rolling, decide what power the Luck will be emulating.  Keep it simple, few to no modifiers on it so the math is fast.  Then roll the dice, put 12 points into that power for each 6, and apply the result. 

So if Black Tabby is about to take a really bad hit and you roll the Luck dice, each success might be 12 PD or 8 PDr.  If Black Tabby really needs to take out Pound Hound so he can get away with the gems, each success might be an extra two and a half DCs or points OCV.  If Black Tabby needs a distraction so he can hide from the cops, each success might be three DEX skill levels.  So on and so on.  


The hard part though is determining when to roll Luck at all.  If you use the -2 figure above, I'd say only once or twice per scene tops, and only when it's the only thing that could change horrible failure into glorious success.  So if the villain is a single phase away from success, roll it!  If the villain would need to beat three entirely undamaged PCs and finish off the fourth that's only taken one blow, don't bother. 

Roll it more often and it should be less effective.  Roll it even less often and it should be more effective. 


New ideas:

My experience is that mechanic/concept dissonance occurs when a "lucky" character is equally subject to the whims of the dice.  To avoid this, Luck should entail some form of dice manipulation. 


Two Luck dice is equivalent in cost to three 1pt Overall Skill Levels with a 1 Charge (-2) Limitation.  So if a die of luck means that once per [session/in-game day] you can shift a 3d6 roll by a point and a half or so, you're good!  And it turns out that rolling 4d6 and dropping the highest improves the average by just about a point and a half! 

So method one is to have the player roll their luck dice at the start of every [session/in-game day], count the NDB, and write that down as their Luck Points.  Anytime before they roll 3d6, they can spend a Luck Point to roll another die and ignore one of the dice after rolling. Or more than one point if the GM's on-board with it, which I would be since it works out to be less efficient. 

That works great for 3d6 rolls, but sorta sucks for damage rolls since the pools are so much larger.  So scale it to 1LP = 1/3rd of the base dice pool in added dice. 

This is quick, easy, and fun (in my experience with the system I'm cribbing from).  It also has the benefit of working well for Unluck, even if the character has both Luck and Unluck applied to the same roll. 


Another option I've toyed with is that at the start of each [session/in-game day] the player rolls their Luck pool and leaves the dice there.  At any time before they make a roll, they can move dice out of their Luck pool and replace dice they're about to roll with the Luck result they already rolled.  Need a success on that skill check?  Put a 1 in!  Need damage now?  Put that 6 in! 

Haven't tested this or seen it in a game, so can't speak to how well it'd work or how well it's balanced. 

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