Adding a Luck Stat to Classic D&D

This is inspired by Jeff Reint’s notes on playing Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. The idea is luck should be a fluid stat whose effects vary over time.

When you create a character roll a seventh stat, Luck, on 3d6. Even if you use alternate methods for the main six leave Luck at 3d6 because it will change quite a bit. Luck provides an adjustment according to the following table:

Luck stat Adjustment
4-5 -2
6-8 -1
9-12 0
13-15 +1
16-17 +2
18 +3

Before each session each player rolls on the luck effect table. This determines what his luck adjustments affects for that session. I recommend making little fold down cards or clips for your DM screen so you don’t forget when luck goes wrong.

Percentile Roll This session’s luck effect
01-10 Add luck adjustment to all rolls to hit you
11-20 Add luck adjustment to all damage done to you
21-30 Add luck adjustment to all damage rolls
31-40 Add luck adjustment to all to reaction rolls
41-50 Add luck adjustment to all to hit rolls
51-60 Add luck adjustment to saves against poison/death ray
61-70 Add luck adjustment to monster moral
71-80 Add luck adjustment to saves against magic wand, magic spell, or magic staff
81-90 Add luck adjustment to saves against turn to stone, paralysis, or dragon breath
91-00 Add luck adjustment to hireling moral

If you roll doubles on the luck adjustment roll to see if your fortune has changed:

D10 Roll Change in fortune
1 Reversal of fortune: New luck is equal to 21 minus your old luck
2 Falling fortune: New luck is equal to the average of you old luck and 3 rounded down
3-4 Waning fortune: New luck is equal to the average of you old luck and 10 rounded down
5-6 No change in fortune
7-8 Waxing fortune: New luck is equal to the average of you old luck and 12 rounded up
9 Fortune’s favor: New luck is equal to the average of you old luck and 1 rounded up
10 Reversal of fortune: New luck is equal to 21 minus your old luck

4 thoughts on “Adding a Luck Stat to Classic D&D

  1. I added a Luck stat in 2e, though I just set it equal to Charisma rather than roll it (it's “how much the gods like you.”) I didn't use it as above, I just used it for whenever anyone asked a question that chance would answer. Disarmed in the forest, the PC asks “Is there a branch big enough to use as a club around?” Luck. The PCs are milling around in a room and a trap goes off in half the room. Who is in the affected area? Luck rolls.

  2. Interesting idea. I was considering treating luck kind of like hit points so that Pcs could spend the points, gain them back, get damaged by unluckiness attacks, etc. This is a good approach that you're developing as well. I'd like to hear more about how it works in a game sometime.

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