Luck Manipulation, a Tiered Mutation for GammaFinder and Freedom Finder (Starfinder-compatible)

So, tiered mutations designed for the GammaFinder setting continue to be both extremely popular, and fascinating to me from a game-design perspective. I now view each tiered mutation as potentially useful in both a post-apocalypse GammaFinder setting, and in a more comic-book themed theoretical “FreedomFinder” setting, which so far only exists as a thought experiment and a single set of soldier options.

Which means I am currently being inspired to create tiered powers that work for both settings, looking at mutant abilities and tiered mutations as a growing Starfinder-compatible rules subset.

So the next dual-purpose power to get the tiered mutation treatment is Luck Manipulation.

Design Concerns
Super-luck is a classic comic-book power, but has deep roots in science-fiction as well (such as Teela Brown from the Ringworld novels, or Odysseus Gaul in “Oddy and Id”). However from a game-mechanical perspective, keeping super-luck both interesting (so it is not just a set of bonuses and rerolls, which are easy to balance but dull when one considers all the narrative possibilities being luck can bring) and defined (so a GM knows what luck reasonable can and can’t do) is tricky.
That same trickiness can be found in many social skills and situations, such as what a good Diplomacy check can get for a character. As a result my solution for Luck Manipulation is a combination of reliable rerolls and bonuses, some skill-replacement, and effects defined as being as-useful-as typical npcs of various levels of friendliness. While this still puts some decision-making on the GM, it is grounded in the same sorts of decisions GMs already have to make, and tied to specific existing guidelines.

realweirdwest-gambler-color-01

(Art by Jacob Blackmon)

Luck Manipulation (Su)
You have inexplicable luck that seems to kick in at just the right moment.
Tier 1: You have 3 luck points per day. Whenever you make an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, you may spend 1 luck point to roll an additional d20. You can use this ability after the original roll, but before the outcome is revealed. You choose which of the d20s is used for the attack roll, ability check, or saving throw.
Whenever something is determined entirely at random, you may spend a luck point to have a second result rolled. You may then choose between the two random results.
Spending luck points does not take an action, but you may only spend one per round. You character need not be conscious or able to move to spend luck points, and what is “best” for the character is determined by the desires of you (the player), rather than from the character’s point of view. (For example if your PC is charmed and convinced to attack a friend, you could use luck rerolls to make the character more likely to miss, even thought the character wants to successfully attack).
Tier 2: You can now spend 3 luck points to create a minor fortuitous circumstance. This circumstance is as useful as if there was an appropriate indifferent NPC present. (“They don’t care about your plight, but may give you simple advice or directions. “) Thus you can receive simple advice or directions a typical local person would be able to give you without putting themselves at risk.
While this is a minor effect, it can still give you information and options you cannot gain any other way. For example, if lost in a wilderness and seeking the closest city, a typical, local, indifferent person could point you down the right path as “simple directions.” You could therefore use your minor fortuitous circumstance to come across a scrap of a map showing a path to a city (though no details about the city), or even flip a coin at a crossroad to pick the better of the two paths.
Tier 3: You can now also spend one luck point when an attack roll is made against you. Roll a d20, and choose whether the attacker’s roll uses their d20 roll or yours.
If multiple creatures use a luck point on the same roll, they cancel out, resulting in no additional dice.
Tier 4: You now have 4 luck points per day. You can also now spend a luck point to have a lucky random event, which duplicates the result of any one skill check. You do not need to have the skill, or the normal tools or special conditions for the skill, though all other limitations apply. For example you could push random numbers to access a security code (Computers), mention your mother’s name and have it be the name of your interrogator (Diplomacy), or walk through a room at just the moment no one is looking at you (Stealth).  You resolve this skill check with a special luck check (1d20 + double your tier) with no other bonuses. As a result at this tier, this power normally only accomplishes relatively minor tasks.
Tier 5: You can no create a tier 2 minor fortuitous effect for 2 luck points. If you spend 3 luck points, you can create a moderate fortuitous effect. This circumstance is as useful as if there was a typical friendly local NPC present (“Friendly creatures treat you with kindness and respect. They may give you more-detailed advice or simple aid, but generally won’t go out of their way to be helpful.”)
Tier 6: When you create a tier 4 lucky random event, the luck check is now 1d20 + double your tiers in luck, + your key ability modifier.
Tier 7: You now have 5 luck points per day. Each day, you assign a +1 luck bonus for the day to your EAC, KAC, melee attack rolls, ranged attack rolls, one save category, or to all ability and skill checks based on one ability score. Alternatively, you can add a +2 luck bonus to all luck checks and rerolls gained from expending luck points. Once you make this decision, it cannot be changed until you regain your daily abilities.
Tier 8: You can now create a tier 2 minor fortuitous effect for 1 luck point, and a tier 5 moderate fortuitous effect for 2 luck points.
You can also now create a major fortuitous effect for 4 luck points. This circumstance is as useful as if there was a typical helpful local NPC present (“Helpful creatures typically give you more lengthy or difficult aid, or offer small services that are readily available to them.)
Tier 9: You can also now spend a luck point to gain a +1 luck bonus for 1 round. You choose to add this to your EAC, KAC, melee attack rolls, ranged attack rolls, one save category, or to all ability and skill checks based on one ability score. Alternatively, you can add a +2 luck bonus to all luck checks and rerolls gained from expending luck points for 1 round.
Tier 10: You now have 6 luck points per day.
You can also now create a tier 5 moderate fortuitous effect for 1 luck point, or tier 8 major fortuitous effect for 3 luck points. When you create a tier 9 luck bonus, it lasts for 1d4+1 rounds.

WANT MORE GAMMAFINDER?! OR FREEDOMFINDER?
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Thanks, everyone.

About okcstephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the publisher and lead genius of Rogue Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps.

Posted on April 14, 2020, in Game Design, Microsetting, Starfinder Development and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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