If you’re new to Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition, you might’ve heard that Lucky is overpowered. Maybe you’ve played in or seen games where the Dungeon Master bans it from their table. Or maybe you’re tired of seeing power gamers always choose it.
It’s true that the Lucky feat is really good. From making ability checks easier to increasing your critical hit rate, Lucky seems like it trivializes some of D&D’s challenges.
But, is it really that strong?
Let me make a case for Lucky. I don’t think it’s overpowered. And, it has a place at the table.
By the end of this, you’ll see why Lucky in 5e is not too strong. And, maybe, just maybe, you’ll convince your table the same.
If you’re new to D&D 5e, here’s a hand guide to the Lucky feat. In case you have any questions about how it works.
Alright. Let’s get to it.
1. It’s a Resource (And It’s Meant To Be Drained)
Like everything else in 5e, the Lucky feat has a finite number of uses per day.
Per the Player’s Handbook (p. 167):
"You have 3 luck points. Whenever you make an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, you may spend 1 luck point to roll an additional d20."
You recharge your luckiness after a good night’s rest (as in, a long rest). Ignoring that as that’s too much meta for me, this means that your Player Character can only be SO lucky.
Let’s make a comparison.
Some high-level monsters have a feature called Legendary Resistance. They get three of these (sound familiar?). And, whenever they fail a saving throw, they can say “naw” and decide to succeed instead.
A common tactic for these enemies is to force as many saving throws as possible. Getting through them to use their Legendary Resistances as fast as the party can.
The same applies to the Lucky feat.
Players (and yes, I’m calling you out) don’t like getting hit or suffering any kind of malady. Now, the more experienced or foolhardy might weather a few blows. But, most (myself included) want to prevent bad things from happening to their dear, sweet, precious character.
And the solution?
That’s right: 5e’s Lucky feat.
A major problem many DMs and players have is the number of encounters per day their table experiences. Most tables have 1-3.
But, Wizards of the Coast recommends 6-8 encounters per adventuring day.
Now, that might seem like a lot. But here’s the deal; encounters don’t need to be a major event and your adventuring day could take several game sessions.
Basically, any time a character needs to make a roll is an opportunity to use a luck point.
If you’re a Dungeon Master, this means a possible solution is throwing more encounters at your players. Now, I’m not saying put them up against combat after combat or keep throwing high-difficulty obstacles at them. But, I am saying that more small encounters encourage them to use their resources.
Put a 10 foot pit in their path; make that rope bridge sound a little more flimsy; use the atmosphere to nudge them to make sure they stay aware of their surroundings. These are all little ways to push players to use their Lucky feat instead of hoarding it.
Even better is when you don’t know if you need to use the Lucky feat.
2. Mistakes Happen (Translation, Luck Can Be Wasted)
Next up on the docket of me tearing down the house that Luck built; did you even need to use it?
The world may never know.
One of the key points in the Lucky feat is you need to decide whether you’re using it or not before determining the outcome. Again, let’s look at the PHB:
"You can use this ability after the original roll, but before the outcome is revealed."
You can’t make a roll, see it sucks, then use your Lucky feat. Because that’s cheating. And cheating leads to yeeting…you out of the game. Look, it works.
Imagine this; your Lucky character (let’s call them Lucky Twolegs) stands at the edge of a canyon. On the other side is the clan of giants who kidnapped Prince McStuffy. The only way across is a 200 foot rope bridge. There’s a bit of wind and a soft rain trickles down from the grey sky above. Ahead, the bridge sways in the breeze. You hear the creaking of wood and can see the water gathering on the planks.
Knowing Prince McStuffy is on the other side (and, more importantly, your payment for his safe return), your character steps out onto the bridge. But, alas, a completely unforeseen circumstance! The wind picks up and Lucky needs to make a Dexterity saving throw to catch yourself or plummet hundreds of feet.
So, Lucky rolls and gets a 16…
Your DM looks at you and asks, “Are you going to use Lucky?”
Are you going to risk that being good enough? Are you going to use a luck point?
I sure would.
Little does Lucky’s player know that the Difficulty Class actually isn’t that hard. It was only set at 15.
But, their player sees a possibility of something unsavory happening. So, using a luck point adds that extra safety net that makes PCs feel warm and cozy.
The point is, players, when put into a precarious position, are more willing to use their resources. Whether they know the chances of success or not.
Which leads me to my final point; sometimes, luck just isn’t on your side.
3. It’s Not Infallible (You Ever Roll Double 1s?)
Do you know what the odds of rolling the same number on 2d20s are?
1 in 400 (or 0.25% if you’re into that).
So, unlikely. But…I’ve seen it happen. Once upon a time, my last total party kill started when our tabaxi monk rolled double 1s…with Advantage. It’s real, and it’s terrifying.
What I’m saying is, despite the fact that rolling 2d20s gives you about an average of +5 to the outcome, it’s not perfect.
Even if you don’t roll the same number, you can still roll under 10 on both die. At that point, that +5 doesn’t amount to much.
The point is, just because you or your players have the Lucky feat doesn’t mean they’ll roll well with it.
That’s about all I have on the Lucky feat in 5e.
- It’s just another resource to drain
- Luck points can be wasted on otherwise easy tasks
- Even when rolling 2d20, it’s not a guaranteed success
One final thing I’d like to point out; it survived playtesting. Wizards of the Coast ran this through prior to releasing the edition. So, that has to account for something.
What are your thoughts? Do you use Lucky in your games or have you banned it from the table?
Leave a comment to let me know why. I want to hear your reasons
4 thoughts on “Is the Lucky Feat in 5e OP?”
Lucky isn’t infallible
No, but it sure brings down the likelihood of getting critical. Imagine someone rolling a crit on you. If your opponent rolls a 20, he might roll a 20 again. But the odds are he won’t and in a campaign, 3 uses of luck a day, most of those crits will disappear.
It also is a much superior version of the Fighter’s Indomitable feature.
Anyone sensible wouldn’t reroll a 16. They would reroll low numbers when there is a reasonable chance of success.
So here’s the problem. Many DMs don’t want 6-8 encounters per day for a reason, and that is usually that players are more interested in roleplaying and story. Especially if the players and DMs are grown-ups with jobs and kids (like us), maybe a 2h session a week is all the time you have. You *really* dont want to run 6-8 encounters per day, just to wear down your players abilities, because it takes a lot of time. And most nreleased advetures like CoS and RoTF are much more story-heavy than more classical D&D adventures, so in this case WoC indirectly encourages fewer battles per day.
Now that it survived playtesting doesnt account for much, as the playtesting should have been done with the DMG recommended encounters of 6-8 per day, in which case it is not OP, as you say.
Those are all fair points. And, I’m not arguing that Lucky isn’t an amazing feat and there’s a reason many DMs disallow it.
But, a single adventuring day could last several sessions. Going through a dungeon, traveling through dangerous terrain, or navigating a sticky political situation could take place during a single day but take a session or two to get through. So, the time to fill with encounters could be longer.
As far as the roleplaying and story goes, those could include encounters on their own. A conversation with the town guard is an encounter. Whether it requires any rolls is up to the DM. But, if the player’s really need information, that’s an opportunity to use a Lucky point. Same goes for saving throws made against traps or environmental hazards like saving themselves (or one of their friends) from a long fall.
Encouraging rolls outside of combat and building tension is a way I would suggest to nudge player characters with the Lucky feat to use up their points outside of combat.
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