We all know and love how the dice can change the course of a session. One incredible roll can change the course of a campaign and create the most memorable moments. Luck is a core feature of D&D 5e, and the Lucky feat has caused a fair share of controversy over the years.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more reviled, controversial, and banned feature at a TTRPG table. Many players have strong opinions one way or another about this feature. It has been called OP, but is it?
Take a journey with us, and we’ll go through how the Lucky feat works, how you can get it as a player, how to navigate it as a DM, and fun alternatives if you ban the feat at your table. Let’s get started!
The Lucky feat is one of the standard feats that you can find in the Player’s Handbook. It is relatively straightforward to explain and use. Lucky is an excellent feature for lower-level players and has continuous use at any level.
However, it is not to be confused with the racial trait of the same name. The Lucky trait 5e handles differently than the feature in many ways. Let’s go through their differences.
5e Lucky Feat
Your character has three luck points that refill after every long rest. You can spend these luck points to roll an additional d20 on saving throws, skill checks, and attack rolls.
On top of that, you can roll for an attack roll made against you and choose if the attacker uses their original roll or your own. This way, you could hypothetically impose a disadvantage on an enemy and even deal them a natural one.
There are two significant disadvantages to this feat that you need to consider.
The first is that you can choose to spend the luck point after you roll the die, but before you know the result. Essentially, you can roll the dice and then decide not to use the roll before looking down at it.
The second problem is that no one gets advantage if multiple creatures or players use a luck point on a specific roll. The effect is canceled out, and the roll proceeds as normal.
5e Lucky (Racial Trait)
The Lucky trait is a racial trait only available to Halflings. It functions differently than the Lucky feature and has less dramatic uses. It is open to all types of Halflings, and you get this trait at Level One.
Simply put, whenever you roll a natural one, you can reroll and must use the new total. This effectively gives you advantage on failed rolls, which is a fantastic boon. This could hypothetically save your character from certain death or failing other critical checks.
There are not many notes in the Player’s Handbook about this trait and its limitations. If certain rule loopholes come up, your DM may make their own call on the rules. There are some standard house rules to limit this ability, and your DM will likely choose one of these.
Some DMs may only allow you to use this trait during the same situations as the Lucky feat. You could only use it for attack rolls, saves, and skill checks. Sometimes, they may also restrict it to one use per session or one use per long rest.
There is one primary way to get the Lucky feat. This is through your regular level-up bonuses. You can forgo your Ability Score Improvement at many tables and instead take a feature.
You can only take a feature once, and you must meet the prerequisites for certain features. These include a particular score in Strength for the Grappler feat, a specific Dexterity score for the Defensive Duelist feat, and many others.
Lucky has no prerequisites, so every player could hypothetically take it. If multiple party members take the Lucky feat, this could cause some unexpected and exciting circumstances.
5e Lucky disadvantage or advantage can be complicated to navigate. There are no specific PHB rules about what to do in these situations.
Lead rules designer Jeremy Crawford offers one solution for handling disadvantage: ‘You pick the d20 but have disadvantage, so things like Sneak Attack that are blocked by disadvantage are blocked.’
In simpler terms, you can end up rolling three dice on a single roll and pick which one to go with. This could be fantastic, especially if you rolled exceptionally high. Similarly, you could roll three dice and select the highest when you have advantage.
These kinds of complications are only one of the reasons why some DMs shy away from using Lucky and allowing the feature at their tables.
When a feature like Lucky is selected, it can be difficult to justify during a session naturally. Unlike other available features, you can’t have an extensive training montage to explain how your player character gained the skill. It isn’t something that is a sign of growth.
Or is it? There are many creative ways that DMs can explain and integrate the Lucky feat and make it flow with the story. You can make it thematically obvious, which is best if your player has always intended to take this feature. You could turn it into a trainable skill, or you could even give your player characters a plot thread to follow related to the feature.
Thematically speaking, this feature is best for the most fortunate player characters. Something about them keeps getting them out of the most demanding situations, no matter the circumstance. You can use this to your advantage, and there are many great ways you can blend it in.
Let’s say that your player’s character has always had excellent luck. They tend to roll well, get in and out of situations easily, or other lucky events. This is a perfect opportunity to standardize their skills or tie in a new aspect.
Lucky also fits perfectly with characters who have luck-based themes and imagery. The feature would do well with their overarching character if a player character has a gambling aesthetic and loves to play poker.
Sometimes, there are ways that you can turn the Lucky feat into a trained feature.
For example, if a paladin took the feature, you could have their god bestow favor or a boon on them. It could be a symbol of their devotion or something their god teaches them to use. A warlock could learn to manipulate luck from their patron and turn this into a magical effect.
The feature could also be a physical object or experience your player finds. This is a tangible way your characters can learn to use this feature and can add to the moderated style of the DnD Lucky 5e feat.
Another great method to integrate this feature into your story is to turn the component into a plot point. Yes, your characters can go and investigate their party member’s uncommonly good luck and find some new experiences along the way.
This is perfect if a character has been historically unlucky and suddenly starts having incredible luck. They could go and try to find out why they are suddenly favored. This could be a fun thing for a BBEG to pull together and throw your party off their game.
The Lucky feat would make their new luck a permanent feature, but it could still be linked to other events happening in the world. For example, if your rogue touched a strange artifact in the last dungeon your players completed, it may have granted them immense luck.
Should You Have The Lucky Feat At Your Table?
Many DMs find themselves asking the age-old question: should you allow your players to take the Lucky feat? It has a reputation for being overpowered, and there are extreme feelings about whether or not it is ‘fair.’
From a practical standpoint, banning the Lucky feat can preserve certain scripted events that you’d like your players to experience. It also makes the game consistently harder.
However, it would help if you carefully evaluated why you decided to ban the Lucky feature. Is it because you want to preserve special surprises, or are you worried about your players getting out of your traps and plots too quickly? Or is your storyline too fragile to handle a few extra rolls with advantage?
In my experience, the best DMs are DMs who can roll with the punches and handle whatever their players throw at them. This includes unexpected Natural 20s, strange character choices, and even killing your Big Bad Evil Guy in one go.
The Lucky feature has been in D&D since the beginning. It would not still be included in current D&D editions if it was not a popular choice and added to the game.
The luck points mechanic is a great way to regulate your players and how often they can use this feature. This is naturally built into the feature, and you can impose specific house rules to limit their regeneration.
If you decide to ban the Lucky feature from your table, there are a couple of other ways to give your players the chance to use luck-based statistics. These include creating a Luck statistic, using modified house rules for Lucky, and putting additional limitations on the feature.
You could impose a house Luck roll. If a player is doing luck-based actions, you could have your players roll for luck as an ability score. Depending on the roll, they could pass a DC or fail. This is ideal for playing cards, gambling, and other in-game gambling experiences.
Your players could determine their Luck score by rolling for a random array as usual, or you could let your players decide their Luck ability score.
A simple way to change the way luck functions is to make specific house rules. That way, you don’t have to ban the feature outright, but you limit the use more.
For example, you and your players could agree that luck points only reset at the start of the session, not during a long rest. This is perfect for tables covering long periods in a single session that could hypothetically have many long rests.
Sometimes, none of these will do. In that case, there are other moves you can make to change the game more.
You could hypothetically do a partial ban where only a certain number of players can take the feature. This is a good option if you are concerned about the number of players who have access to three rolls with an advantage each time.
You could also set a level requirement. You could require your players to reach a certain level before taking this feature. This could be anything you choose and gives your players a set time frame when they can finally access this power.
Experiment With The Lucky Feat
Lucky is a feature that has been difficult for DMs and players to navigate. It is a source of controversy in the TTRPG community, but it doesn’t have to be. With consistent communication and thought, you can make Lucky work at your table and give your players a chance to use it. You can also develop unique mechanics to improve everyone’s experience.
The Lucky feature is not overpowered in 5e. It can only be used three times per long rest and only in specific scenarios. Lucky is no more overpowered than the Observant feature with proper DM and player communication.
Lucky 5e is a feature that gives your players advantage and control over how certain rolls get made. You expend luck points to gain advantage on a roll of your choosing and can even impose a form of disadvantage on enemies that have attacked you.
You can get the Lucky feat like any other D&D 5e feature. You can choose to take it instead of an Ability Score Improvement, but only once. There are no prerequisites, so any character could hypothetically take this feature.
The Lucky feat is one of the best features for players to choose from in 5e. Not only does it give you more power over certain types of rolls, but it can change the trajectory of a fight in a moment. It is an outstanding feature.