In some works and mythologies, she's a real, active deity. In others, she's a metaphor no one literally believes in (whether correctly or not).
In Western art, she's commonly depicted holding the Wheel of Fortune, rota fortunae, which she spins at random, changing the lives of those trapped on the wheel, and which has little to do with Vanna White. Like Lady Justice, Lady Luck is often portrayed blindfolded, representing the impartiality of fortune, which falls randomly without favoring or disfavoring need, status, or moral character.
While Luck is almost always female in the Western tradition, this is not a gendered trope, and male examples of personified luck belong here as well.
The relationship of Lady Luck to Fate varies, assuming both exist. They may be opposing forces, or they may be two aspects of the same reality.
- Noragami: The binbogami, the Japanese god of bad fortune and luck is a cute, childish pink-haired woman claiming the name of "Ebisu", the Japanese god of good luck and fortune (and fishermen, incidentally) as her "business name" to repair her reputation. The actual Ebisu is a masculine figure who reincarnates as a young boy.
- Boethius, a late Roman/very early medieval philosopher, although a devout Christian, kept the idea of Fortuna alive during the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance via his enormously influential The Consolation Of Philosophy. She appears prominently in his dialogues, with the Wheel of Fortune (no, not that one) being used as a symbol of people being elevated and torn down at random.
- A Confederacy of Dunces: Ignatius J. Reilly, the overeducated manchild protagonist, repeatedly invokes Fortuna in response to his various misadventures.
- Discworld: "The Lady" is possibly the single most powerful goddess on the Disc, despite having no dedicated worshipers, and the only temple ever built to her was destroyed in a natural disaster. Everyone hopes that she exists and smiles upon them at some point in their lives, and many people pay her lip-service through the repetitive prayer "please-oh-please-oh-please-oh-please..." She is the eternal rival of the god Fate, being one of the only entities capable of upsetting his plans. She is known to give her aid to certain mortals who entertain her, with Rincewind being one of her favourites, but must instantly leave the presence of and withdraw her favour from anyone who speaks her true name.
- Charmed (1998): The friendly Leprechaun race have magical power over luck itself; their chief responsibility is bestowing good fortune to mortals who deserve it and bad fates to the cruel. In their debut episode, the Villain of the Week is killing leprechauns to steal their magic; with the assistance of the Charmed Ones, the leprechauns eventually get revenge by giving the murderer such bad luck that a meteor falls on him. Interestingly, their powers were described as truly neutral and could manifest in strange ways: for example, a leprechaun frees Paige when she's stuck to a wall (lucky!), but she promptly falls off the wall about seven feet to the ground, breaking furniture as she goes (unlucky).
- Hercules: The Legendary Journeys: The Greco-Roman version appears and gives bad luck to a greedy merchant as punishment for not using his money to help the less fortunate.
- The Librarians 2014: The Librarians go up against Fortuna herself in "And the Steal of Fortune". Imprisoned as a bronze statue for trying to make the world run on chance, she's stealing luck to gain enough power to take over the world. The Librarians manage to break her spell by cheating, since it defies luck, and that weakens her enough to return to a statue.
- Supernatural: In "The Gamblers", the Winchester brothers are suffering from God removing their usual Plot Armor and seek out help from Fortuna, the Roman Goddess of Luck. Fortuna often helps those she deems true heroes and runs an Alaskan pool hall designed to steal luck from unsuspecting players. As is usual for Luck-based characters, she's presented as unpredictable and dangerous, giving luck to those who win in her hall and prove themselves truly heroic and takes luck from those who don't, even sometimes personally killing those who lose her games if angered enough.
- The Gaullish Celtic goddess Vesunna is believed to have been associated with prosperity and good fortune.
- The Greek goddess of luck, Tyche, has older precedents but really came into her own in the Hellenistic era. Her symbology differed a bit from modern Lady Luck, incorporating a Horn of Plenty and a ship's rudder in addition to the Wheel of Fortune.
- In Hinduism, Lakshmi, wife of Vishnu, is the goddess of good fortune, while her sister Jyestha is the goddess of bad fortune.
- Fortuna was one of the most popular deities in the Roman pantheon.
- In ancient Semitic mythology, Gad was the god (sometimes, goddess) of fortune.
- In pre-Islamic Arabia, Manat was a goddess of fate and fortune.
- In Shinto and Japanese folklore, a binbogami is a kami or spirit of bad fortune, usually appearing as a skinny old man.
- Carmina Burana: The first and most famous part of the song, "Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi" (Fortune, Empress of the World), is an extended prayer to Luck.
- Elvis Presley calls upon Lady Luck in "Viva Las Vegas"
I'm gonna give it everything I've got
Lady Luck, please let the dice stay hot
Let me shoot a seven with every shot
Viva Las Vegas!
- Forgotten Realms: There once was an ancient goddess named Tyche who embodied all forms of luck. The Dawn Cataclysm caused her power to be split into two goddesses; Tymora, goddess of good luck and victory, and Beshaba, goddess of misfortune and accidents.
- GURPS: The "Dungeon Fantasy" sub-line features classic dungeon fantasy-style clerics and holy warriors, and allows for the possibility of them worshiping a range of deities. GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 7: Clerics offers different spell lists and special powers for different types of deity served, and "Luck" gets a mention, albeit a short one.
Experience suggests that any god of luck will be frighteningly whimsical — but most are benevolent enough, provided that their worshipers don't take them for granted. Priests and holy warriors have luck-related advantages, of course. Additionally, clerics wield spells that manipulate fortune directly (Bless, Curse), that map the currents of fortune (Sense Danger, Divination, Predict Weather), or that produce subtle effects that could be explained as random chance (Weaken, Foolishness, Bless Plants, Turn Blade, Healing Sleep — "Ah, 'twas but a flesh wound").
- Warhammer Fantasy has Ranald, the God of Luck, Good Fortune, and Mischief. Many of his temples double as gambling dens; his religious observances include games of chance; and his Divine Lore has several spells to manipulate luck.
- Guys and Dolls: The song "Luck Be a Lady". Later covered by far too many artists to list, most famously Frank Sinatra.
- Halloween Horror Nights: Lady Luck was the mascot for the 21st Halloween Horror Nights, which was known as "No One Beats The House (Be Careful What You Wager)". She took the form of a beautiful woman in a green dress but also showed a more monstrous face in her other form. The scarezone "Your Luck Has Run Out" was based entirely around her.
- Shows up in many of William Shakespeare's plays:
- Hamlet: In the Play Within a Play, the players denounce "thou strumpet Fortune!" and ask "All you gods in general synod [to] take away her power / Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel."
- Henry V: The Comic Relief characters Fluellen and Pistol discuss Lady Fortune and her "furious fickle wheel".
- King Lear: Invoked as quoted above.
- Advance Wars: Referenced. The Born Lucky commanding officer Nell has an ability called "Lady Luck" that boosts the damage of friendly units.
- Dicey Dungeons: Lady Luck is the host of the Immoral Reality Show the game takes place in.
- The Elder Scrolls: Nocturnal is the Daedric Prince of luck, at least for the thieves who venerate her.
- Fallout: New Vegas: The Miss Fortune perk/character is a play on the phrase "lady luck". She can also be a Anthropomorphic Personification since there's a 10% she can show up to cripple enemies, offering the player better "luck" in dealing with them.
- Final Fantasy X-2 has the Lady Luck dressphere, which specializes in using dice and slots to deal different types of attacks to the enemy. Quite obviously, it also boosts the user's luck, which they'll need in order to avoid screwing up and getting a Dud...
- Final Fantasy XIV: Nymeia the Spinner is a member of the Twelve and worshiped as the goddess of fate. She weaves the tapestries of both destiny and the starry sky on her spinning wheel.
- Psychonauts 2 has the Lady Luctopus, the embodiment of a gambling addiction in the form of a giant neon octopus. Raz accidentally created Lady Luctopus by connecting the concepts of "Money" and "Risk" inside the mind of normally strict and pragmatic Hollis Forsythe, turning her clean and organized hospital-themed mental world into a twisted mix of a hospital and a casino.
- Care Bears: Good Luck Bear. True to his name, he is Born Lucky and can even increase others' luck. He can also create four-leaf clovers.
- Class of the Titans: Lady Luck appears in the form of Fortuna, the Goddess of Luck and Chance and owner of the Fortune Casino, in "The Game Plan". After Zeus is kidnapped by Cronus, the group tries to get Amalthea's Cornucopia, an item that can grant any wish, to rescue him. The Cornucopia is in the hands of Fortuna, who refuses to give anyone anything unless they succeed at her deadly Wheel of Fortuna game, which is why they send their luckiest member Neil to get the job done.
- Rugrats: Discussed in "Lady Luck", where Grandpa Lou is gambling and says that Lady Luck isn't with him. The babies take this literally and search for Lady Luck, eventually believing a nurse to be Lady Luck.