Sunday, June 10, 2012
But what is "luck"? Why should it be different than just the result of the series of dice rolls made during the game?
Obviously, in those games which include it as a separate concept, luck is an active force in the game world. Rather than being a description of events after the fact, it is a prescriptive concept that rests in certain people and not in others. It (usually) can have the qualities of "bad" or "good", so that those cursed with bad luck see detriments in the game world, while those blessed with good luck see benefits. From this, we can conjecture that it must be an actual force in the world, and not just a description of relative fortune.
So, "luck" was the favor of the invisible world. That matches pretty well with RuneQuest and Basic Roleplaying, where Power is also the characteristic that is associated with spirits and magic. It also fits well in games like Flashing Blades, where God has ordered lives for good or ill. What would be interesting would be to see ways of affecting the luck rolls and advantages. Luck could be used as a way of enforcing alignment (or whatever) restrictions, by making characters who do not live up to their professed philosophies lose luck, and those who hew closely to the restrictions of their ethos gain it.
(Inspired by a couple of comments here.)