Oblivion: the mystery of the luck attribute

I’ve always wondered what the heck, exactly, luck does in the elder scrolls series. I looked around today to see if anyone had figured out the exact effects for Morrowind - nope. Doesn’t look to be the case for Oblivion either. Not a single strategy guide or wiki or anything has hard numbers. Not in the editor either.

What’s the deal here? Is Bethedsa just super-cagey?

You know, I sort of “tested” this out in a crude way by making a bunch of “Damage Luck” potions and trying them out on both myself and enemies.

Alas, the slipping-on-a-banana-hilarious-hijinks that I expected were not forthcoming.

I suppose the game just modifies random rolls in (or against) your favor depending on your luck, but I know nothing specific. I wonder if it also applies to, say, quantities/values of treasure found in chests, etc.

You could always make a boost +100 luck spell for 3 seconds and then open a bunch of chests over and over and get an idea if the loot changes.

When I play a min/max bunny, the luck attribute gets the short end of the stick. I could never comprehend what the luck attribute did in almost any game. Put a point in an attribute with no discernible function? Pffft.

Not a bad idea…

It does seem to have an impact when betting on matches in the Arena…

It makes a difference in some games. For example, in the Fallout games (at least FO2, but I think also FO1) there were certain random encounters that you could only get if you had a certain amount of luck. I think a couple really good ones you could only get if you had 10 Luck (the maximum).

Luck did affect treasure in Morrowind, and I’m pretty sure it does in Oblivion, too. I’m pretty certain that everything with a random chance involved is affected by it.

Luck also plays a major factor in your success at betting in the Arena. Higher luck will actually cause your chosen fighter to perform better in the battle. Not sure of the specifics of it all, though.

I equipped myself in my lucky pants, lucky shirt, lucky frikkin’ everything. Didn’t notice the loot getting any better. I also caught the vampire disease. Lucky, eh?

Luck was also a major factor in deciding criticals attacks in the FO’s (I believe that luck was the chance to critical in %, i.e. a luck of 5 gave a 5% base chance to critical).

That’s the problem. Unlike statistics like strength which have a measurable and predictable effect on gameplay, what luck affects is largely dependent on the whim of the programmer. There’s little if no transparency.

How much does luck affect treasure? Does it affect the nature or quality or the treasure? Do you get better magic items or more coin? How does luck affect arena fighting? Again, a shrug. Even in Fallout, better random encounters for me at least, was more of an Easter egg than a persistent benefit. I would be surprised if someone maxed out luck on his first playthrough of the game. Luck 10 may allow you to an opportunity to pick up the Mars Attacks ray gun, but mean hell for the rest of the game.

In making luck a rather mysterious attribute which operation is opaque to the player, there is a significant obstacle to assigning a greater value to the luck attribute over an attribute which affects the game mechanics in more visible and meaningful ways.

Luck does affect Arena betting. The strategy guide says that the fighter you’re betting on will have more hit points, proportional to your Luck in excess of 50.

That’s the only documented effect of Luck, though. I guess it may influence some random combat rolls. Or not.

In daggerfall there were techniques to have a vampire pound the least amount of tar out of you just so you could get that disease. So, some might say, yes.

I was cursed with a 5 luck just after leaving the sewers (helping the stinking invisible villagers). I then preceded to break 30 lockpicks in a row. Unlucky or unskilled?

Well again, I bet the arena match is set after you talk to the npc. Again a 3 second +100 luck buff could work. It might also be set as soon as you enter throgh the door too, so you could buff yourself before you walked though.

My only gripe with the arena othen then the fights are boaring to watch, is the fact that you can’t fireball other spectators in the othe sections.

I had the ‘cursed’ luck too- and what I noticed was I couldn’t pick locks well, and most people were really rude to me, and it seemed-but I did not verify that selling goods prices were really low.

Someone should make a “My Name is Earl” mod that ties luck stat to quests you complete.

I don’t believe in luck and I don’t believe in the Luck Skill attribute in games.