Awarding Luck

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cjoepar
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Awarding Luck

Post by cjoepar » Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:07 am

Hi, I'm just wondering how some others handle this in their games. I am almost exclusively running straight dungeon crawl type adventures and realized recently that I really haven't awarded any LUCK to the party. This is balanced nicely because the players really haven't burned any LUCK, but I feel like I'm neglecting an important game mechanic. The trouble is, without any clear cut objectives, I don't have much to justify awarding LUCK to the characters. I have a couple of powerful undead (that the party has deliberately avoided so far) that I intended to award a point of LUCK once they have been destroyed, but other than that, I don't have a lot of ideas.

Any thoughts from the rest of you about this? What do you all give out LUCK for, and how often? I appreciate the input.

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Skyscraper
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Re: Awarding Luck

Post by Skyscraper » Thu Jan 09, 2014 11:01 am

Your players might spend luck for their PCs if they receive some more or less regularly. I know I'd be reluctant to spend that resource, unless I'm in a do-or-die situation, if the resource doesn't get replenished.

I've given luck semi-regularly.

I've given 1 point of luck to all PCs a couple times, when an important adventure milestone is reached, e.g. they've succeeded in a major plot point. E.g. they destroyed an evil artifact, and they foiled plans to destroy their village.

I've given a point of luck to PCs here and there for actions such as: doing something courageous, that worked out positively, when most would not have acted, e.g. when all PCs are hesitating to even look into a dark hole, in the hut of a witch, one PC decided to simply jump inside. I don't really judge whether the idea of jumping into a hole is good or not; in another circumstance, the PC could have died and the player could have been the laughing stock of the group. In that particular circumstance, everyone was afraid, one of their group had just died (we were in the funnel), and no one wanted to enter that hole. But one decided that where all we too scared to simply put a hand in, he'd jump into the darkness. Here, the hole was a secret area where important information was kept by the witch. I gave a point of luck for similar things a few times.

I've given a point of luck for killing a demon that lived in the village.

I've given three points of luck to the one player that had a (drug-induced) vision of burning down a desecrated temple - and he did it, cleaning the demonic taint from the place.

In summary, I've given luck when someone does something heroic or even something foolhardy, if it turns out well. And I'll give luck when imporant successes are achieved. Many times, when things are done that relate to religion, I'll give or remove luck.

I gave a -1 luck penalty to a PC that carried the warped body of a demonic creature back to the village.
Maledict Brothbreath, level 4 warrior, STR 16 (+2) AGI 7 (-1) STA 12 PER 9 INT 10 LUCK 15 (+1), AC: 16 Refl: +1 Fort: +2 Will: +1; lawful; Armor of the Lion and Lily's Blade.

Brother Sufferus, level 4 cleric, STR 13 (+1) AGI 15 (+1) STA 11 PER 13 (+1) INT 10 LUCK 9, AC: 11 (13 if wounded, 15 if down to half hit points), Refl: +3 Fort: +2 Will: +3, chaotic, Robe of the Faith, Scourge of the Maimed One, Darts of Pain.

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cjoepar
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Re: Awarding Luck

Post by cjoepar » Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:51 am

I appreciate your input, Skyscraper. This is helpful.
Skyscraper wrote:Your players might spend luck for their PCs if they receive some more or less regularly. I know I'd be reluctant to spend that resource, unless I'm in a do-or-die situation, if the resource doesn't get replenished.
Yes! This is exactly what I've come to realize. Since we are all new to the game, I've inadvertently created this mindset which is why I brought it up here for some advice.

Skyscraper wrote:I've given 1 point of luck to all PCs a couple times, when an important adventure milestone is reached, e.g. they've succeeded in a major plot point. E.g. they destroyed an evil artifact, and they foiled plans to destroy their village.

I've given a point of luck to PCs here and there for actions such as: doing something courageous, that worked out positively, when most would not have acted, e.g. when all PCs are hesitating to even look into a dark hole, in the hut of a witch, one PC decided to simply jump inside. I don't really judge whether the idea of jumping into a hole is good or not; in another circumstance, the PC could have died and the player could have been the laughing stock of the group. In that particular circumstance, everyone was afraid, one of their group had just died (we were in the funnel), and no one wanted to enter that hole. But one decided that where all we too scared to simply put a hand in, he'd jump into the darkness. Here, the hole was a secret area where important information was kept by the witch. I gave a point of luck for similar things a few times.

I've given a point of luck for killing a demon that lived in the village.

I've given three points of luck to the one player that had a (drug-induced) vision of burning down a desecrated temple - and he did it, cleaning the demonic taint from the place.

In summary, I've given luck when someone does something heroic or even something foolhardy, if it turns out well. And I'll give luck when imporant successes are achieved. Many times, when things are done that relate to religion, I'll give or remove luck.
These examples are quite helpful. Since I am running a simple dungeon crawl through an old abandoned dwarf keep, there really aren't any objectives until they clear it out and stop the monsters from raiding the surrounding countryside. I normally have more story-driven adventures, but when I started this campaign I wasn't sure what the interest level would be so I didn't really want to put a lot of effort into that sort of thing. The result is I have run a dozen or so adventures with this group and they're only about 3/4 of the way through this dungeon. There are some ideas here though that give me some ideas specific to this dungeon.


About how often does your party get LUCK? Once per adventures, every other adventure... Just trying to gauge the appropriate number.

Thanks again for the response.

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Re: Awarding Luck

Post by Maxwell Luther » Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:31 am

Not to sound sacrilegious, but the key to awarding luck, like many other aspects of running an RPG, depend on you realizing that you are the 'god' of the game.

What this means is that you should award Luck based upon what you feel is a extraordinary advancement of your enjoyment running the game, which is, after all, an incentive to keep you running it. So when players act in ways that amuse you or make your job easier or help you to advance the story, you should reward them with Luck. It's the bonus XP of other games. Now, I don't mean to imply that you should just give it out willy-nilly, but the example above of someone moving the story along by doing something 'obviously' stupid but highly entertaining ('Oooh, I wonder what awful thing is going to happen to him?') is an easy call. That being said, people who do stupid things all the time, however, should not be rewarded for their natural inclinations and you should mix it up so people don't start to meta-game the rewards process, as that is unfun and makes you have to work harder. See the difference?

You are the god of the game: if your followers please you and advance your will in the campaign world, reward them...

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Re: Awarding Luck

Post by Zargon » Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:43 am

I have yet to bestow luck points to the players. Despite this I have seen them spend their precious points to use them as they are designed, knowing that regaining them would be unprecedented, and knowing that the person with the lowest Luck always seems to be the target of random misfortune. Interestingly none of them are thieves or halflings right now. If and when they live to complete a campaign I may reward them with some renewed Luck, but until that day they had better rely on other means... :twisted:
Fables of the Borderlands - #1 DCC campaign on Obsidian Portal!

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Skyscraper
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Re: Awarding Luck

Post by Skyscraper » Tue Jan 14, 2014 12:36 pm

cjoepar wrote:About how often does your party get LUCK? Once per adventures, every other adventure... Just trying to gauge the appropriate number.
In my 12-15 game session long mini campaign:

At least one PC got a luck point about once every other game session. The entire party gained 1 point of luck twice. One PC gained three points of luck, once. One PC lost a point of luck, 2-3 times. PCs used luck at least twice as much as they received, if not more. One PC lost other attribute points, about 3-4 times. About 17-19 PCs died during the campaign, all level 0 (some during the funnel, some during the "level 1" adventure, where some were still level 0, since each player only levelled up a single PC out of a possible few level 0 survivors). There were a total of 24 PCs in the campaign, 20 initially and 4 more when a new player joined. The PCs, starting at level 0, levelled up to level 1 about midway in. The funnel was probably much longer than it could have been - it was too much fun to cut it short ;)

I think that awarding luck points is fun. If the PCs are evolving in an old dwarven keep for example, you can certainly give luck to them if they kill the evil creature now inhabiting the chappel. I had a strong religious angle to my campaign, and I think that "greater powers" are really a core element of the DCC paradigm. Whenever the PCs do something good for one religion, give'em a luck point. Whenever they do something bad, remove one. They'll get the idea. E.g. if they loot the sarcophagus of the dwarven high priest, perhaps you could warn them: as they search, they get a bad feeling. When a PC picks up the holy symbol... he looses a luck point (without even wearing it or knowing what it does). This of course depends on the god at stake, does he dislike having this creature holding his holy symbol? Maybe not.

On another note, I had a single player come out of the funnel with 3 live PCs out of a starting 4 for all players. The others had 1 or 2 left. The one with 3 live PCs was the most passive one. I find that giving luck points is also a way to promote doing something. DCC is deadly: traps, monsters that will spring the PCs. Especially those that do something, that trigger stuff. These must also get a reward for doing stuff. IMO, of course.
Maledict Brothbreath, level 4 warrior, STR 16 (+2) AGI 7 (-1) STA 12 PER 9 INT 10 LUCK 15 (+1), AC: 16 Refl: +1 Fort: +2 Will: +1; lawful; Armor of the Lion and Lily's Blade.

Brother Sufferus, level 4 cleric, STR 13 (+1) AGI 15 (+1) STA 11 PER 13 (+1) INT 10 LUCK 9, AC: 11 (13 if wounded, 15 if down to half hit points), Refl: +3 Fort: +2 Will: +3, chaotic, Robe of the Faith, Scourge of the Maimed One, Darts of Pain.

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cjoepar
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Re: Awarding Luck

Post by cjoepar » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:26 pm

Thanks again for the additional details Skyscraper, and also for your input Zargon and Maxwell Luther. This has really been helpful.

The party is actually close to a few locations where I had either planned to award LUCK from the start (they have to slay a wraith to get a magic weapon to kill a monster elsewhere in the dungeon), and another spot where I see new opportunity for LUCK reward based on some of this input (a band of rangers were turned into goat-men many years ago and need some help being returned to human form). I have identified a few other new locations within the ruins as well.

Many thanks!

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Re: Awarding Luck

Post by smathis » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:15 pm

I give out Luck all the time. The more I give, the more the players spend. And I like it that way.

Between adventures, I usually give the characters back their Level in Luck. With the luckier classes (Thief, Halfling, Valiant, Scoundrel) recovering back up to their full (originally rolled) total.

Luck is fun. And I hand it out for genre-appropriate actions, players who go against Turtle Mode to play a character as they feel he should be played, funny jokes, and generally anything that strikes my fancy.

I also use the TA rule where a player can spend as much Luck as she wants BEFORE the dice are rolled but only 1 point of Luck after the dice hit the table.

So there's more gambling with Luck at my table as well.

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Re: Awarding Luck

Post by oncelor » Thu Feb 13, 2014 6:23 pm

I give out an average of about 1.3 points of luck per session. Generally this means everybody gets one point of luck per session, and every couple or three sessions somebody will find an in-game reason to earn another point of luck. This lets me be a little more free to throw save-or-die type effects at the party than I otherwise would be, and it allows warriors, clerics, and wizards the occasional indulgence of burning a point of luck or two to bump up the effects of an MDoA or spell in a crucial situation, which has been fun.

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Re: Awarding Luck

Post by TimCallahan » Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:00 am

I ran a game for nearly a year and never once gave out any Luck. And Luck was conserved, used only for life or death situations.

But then I ran Daniel Bishop's "Stars in the Darkness" a couple of months ago, and that really blasted apart my reluctance to award Luck. If you haven't run that adventure, you should! It's so Luck-centric in so many ways, and between the loss of Luck and the temp Luck and the awarding of Luck at specific moments, I better understood that I was being too conservative with Luck all along.

And DCC lends itself to not being conservative with anything. So...now I give out Luck to at least one character every session, for heroic deeds or tipping the scale through mad decisions gone right (or wrong). It keeps the Luck flowing, which means more use and more use means more fun, in my experience.
Tim Callahan

Writer/Publisher of Crawljammer for DCC: http://crawljammer.blogspot.com/
Co-writer of Peril on the Purple Planet and writer of Advent of the Avalanche Lords for Goodman Games.

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Re: Awarding Luck

Post by Raven_Crowking » Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:24 am

Glad you had fun with that adventure, Tim!
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: Awarding Luck

Post by TimCallahan » Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:40 am

It was great!

And the temporary Luck (I actually used Chinese coins to represent that) is super because then no one has to fiddle with their character sheets and recalculate any modifiers or whatever.
Tim Callahan

Writer/Publisher of Crawljammer for DCC: http://crawljammer.blogspot.com/
Co-writer of Peril on the Purple Planet and writer of Advent of the Avalanche Lords for Goodman Games.

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