What it means to be Lucky in Fallout 4

What it means to be Lucky in Fallout 4

Of all the things one could consider themselves in the Fallout universe, intelligent, strong, agile, enduring, perceptive, and charismatic, the hardest thing to imagine one to be is lucky.  With the destruction of the war and the centuries of nuclear fallout wreaking havoc on the world and its people, how could anyone returning to that, especially after a devastating personal loss, think that they were lucky?


Some people think they are lucky when they find some extra money in their pockets, others only believe it when they’ve won the jackpot in a lottery, the idea of luck though is much like the concept of faith.  It is a belief that a force beyond our scope and comprehension imparts its effects on our lives and in the case of luck, strictly for the better.  The difference between faith in the goodness of a deity(s) and luck, is that luck is not restricted to morality or karma it exists outside of both and simply is applied to the individual regardless of merit.


Therefore luck is often relied upon in gambling, it is leaping without a net and hoping one will appear, it is spray’n’pray, emptying your clip and hoping at least one of your bullets hits the target you intended. Luck is frantic, and freeing, and fun, and insane, but being lucky always means getting away with a risky venture and therein lies the interest I’ve had in this characteristic.

Luck fills in the gaps between impossible and the reality of a lucky break, in Fallout you can deterministically increase luck, having a luck of ten means you have the maximum amount of starting luck, equating to good things simply happening to you left and right.


I had always invested so heavily in intelligence to concretely design and develop the future of the commonwealth that I often went through hoarding supplies and meticulously spending hours on settlements and building weapons from scratch. This attention to detail helped me learn a lot about the world but also conditioned me to spend so much time looking at the world as a sum of its resources instead of enjoying what those resources represented.

gun nut

I scoffed at every weapon I found because I could just build better ones, I used state of the art power armor to protect myself from the harsh combat conditions of the wasteland feeling invincible through tech, and slept in lavishly decorated mega towers I built from the resources I had plundered and collected by inspecting every last container for the pieces I needed.  I was living the life I had wanted but it was a manifestation of will, not because the game decided to give it to me on a silver platter.


In my latest playthrough character Lucky Lark I’m saying forget it, I’m not a god, I’m not the leader of the free world, I am no genius, I am just a guy walking through the wasteland getting incredibly lucky by finding all of those weapons pre-customized and landing impossible shots not because I’m precise but because I’m just lucky. The experience has been incredibly freeing and allowed me to really enjoy the idea of simply going with what’s best and having the game fill in the rest.

There is nothing to seek and nothing to gain, there is only survival and free happiness in the form of lucky breaks, nothing is determined by my skill only by being in the right place at the right time and this philosophy while foolish in all other circumstances makes the gamble of surviving in the wasteland that much more rewarding and fun.


Next week I will have the first installment for my character series titled Lucky Lark, if you enjoyed it please feel free to read through the other articles within the series.

What do you think of Luck in games?  How has it affected your playthrough and playstyle?  Do you feel it is worth it to invest in the luck characteristic or do you prefer to not leave things to chance? I welcome discussion on this topic and if you have experiences of your own you wish to share please respond to the thread for this article, or talk to me through my email or any of my social media: playprofessor@gmail.com, FacebookTwitter.

Play Professor is the blog of ludologist and video game journalist Andrew Mantilla. You can check out more of his content on FacebookTwitterInstagramand Youtube.

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