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Unluckily Lucky

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"Y'know, people are always telling me how lucky I am. But the truth is, everything I touch turns to shit."
Nathan Drake, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Some people are a magnet of fortune. Some people are constantly beaten up by it. Then there's these guys.

Some characters seem to live in a strange limbo of fortune: They are constantly finding themselves trapped in awful situations, many times without even trying. This would be seen from almost any perspective as rotten luck; but despite all that they always manage to come out of all those problems without a scratch, much less troubled than any reasonable person would expect, or even with the upper hand.


From another perspective: These people have an amazing ability to come clean out of any sort of pickle thrown at them, no matter how unlikely the chances or ludicrous the way. Anyone would say Lady Fortune has them under her wing, except that there's the little fact that they always get themselves into those sorts of situations in the first place, and in fact seem to attract them like honey to bees.

Are they Born Lucky? Are they Born Unlucky? It's hard to say. Friends, enemies, and even they themselves will be hard-pressed to give a straight answer. Answers will probably lean towards the lucky side, since no matter what they still come out alive out of anything; just don't expect that to mean much while they are knee-deep into yet another trouble.

Note that characters that are lucky in some aspects and unlucky in other completely different ones do not qualify under this trope. The main factor here is that their luck and unluck are at odds in the same circumstances.


If the unlucky events that follow these characters are sufficiently awful, they have a good chance of being a Walking Disaster Area or The Jinx; and if they are strange enough, they can be a Weirdness Magnet. Compare with The Fool, who gets out of dangerous situations by pure dumb luck without even realizing it, as well as Plague of Good Fortune.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Anne Happy: Main character Anne Hanakoizumi, a.k.a. "Hanako" is incredibly unlucky, to the point that her "luck" measures in the negative. Despite, or possibly because of this, she very frequently experiences surprisingly lucky, even miraculous, events. For instance, her luck class's first assignment is to carry an egg for a day without it breaking. It was expected that, since everyone in the class was unlucky, no one would succeed. However, not only did Hanako succeed, the near-expired store-bought egg hatched a healthy chick in the middle of class.
  • Berserk: Despite living what seems like a life cursed by fate, every misfortune in Guts' life is accompanied by some stroke of luck or fateful encounter that enables him to endure it, if only just barely, and prevents his hope from dying.
    • Concerning his childhood: He was an orphan the moment he was born, but he was discovered by Sys and saved from dying beneath his mother's corpse. Sys died and Gambino abused him while making him fight as a Child Soldier, but he survived and developed precocious talent as a warrior. He killed Gambino in self-defense and got wounded while escaping, collapsing by the side of the road, but another troupe of mercenaries happened to pass by and take him in before he died of exposure.
    • In the Golden Age Arc, he got in a fight with Griffith and received a wound that almost killed him, but he had impressed Griffith so much that he ordered Guts to be nursed back to health, and offered him a job when he woke up. He had the rotten luck of encountering Zodd the Immortal, and later Wyald, but the former he survived because his destiny was entwined with Griffith's, and the latter because by that point he was pretty much the ultimate fighter. The Eclipse—in which he was betrayed by his best friend, got branded as a demon sacrifice, had all his companions devoured by monsters, and lost his left hand and right eye while being Forced to Watch the rape of Casca, his true love—gave him reason to curse the day he was ever born. AND YET: he and Casca are Rescued from the Underworld by the Skull Knight just in the nick of time, meaning that he basically survived by cheating death and the laws of causality.
    • It only gets crazier from there. Long story short, Guts' life is painful and miserable, but if his luck keeps up there will always be a silver lining.
  • The Genius Prince's Guide to Raising a Nation Out of Debt (Hey, How About Treason?)'s Wein is essentially anime version of Ciaphas Cain (see below). His various attempts to sell out his nation in order to retire comfortably or at least trying to avoid trouble in order to stop his country's cashflow problem or getting dragged into international conflicts always spiral out of control due to uncontrollable external factors, but the combination of his skill and sheer luck, he manages to not only comes out alive, but his nation benefits and his reputation is enhanced...which makes fulfilling his goal of selling his country even harder.
  • The titular Great Teacher Onizuka is sometimes this. In one example from the anime, he comes across a large bag of money (that's good), which he spends all at once. It turns out the money was the school's field trip funds, which was planted on him in order to frame him for embezzling (that's bad). He somehow manages to convince the school not to fire him (that's good), but only by pledging an even more expensive field trip which he can't possibly afford (that's bad). He then fails to earn anything near the amount needed, only to win a car in an unrelated lottery (that's good). He then lends the car to a complete stranger, with no guarantees that the stranger will return it on time, if ever (that's bad). The stranger turns out to have been hired by the person trying to frame Onizuka (that's bad), but has a change of heart and returns the car anyway (that's good). At the last possible minute, naturally.
  • Guido Mista from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Vento Aureo. In his backstory, he saved a woman who was about be raped, and when the rapist and his criminal partners tried to shoot him, they all missed their shots, so much that Mista had the time to take one of their guns, reload, and shoot them back with perfect aim while staying still under their fire (and this was before Mista gained his Stand ability to redirect bullets). However, this story was claimed too unbelievable by the jury, and he was condemned for 15 years of prison. This story caught the attention of Bruno Bucciarati, a gangster who was looking for potential Stand users, and Bruno got him out of jail and gave him a job that paid well and that he was good at. Most of his fights in the series have an element of unluckiness, but he always manages to get out alive and/or with some advantage on the long run. Fans have taken note of how he ends up fighting people who can redirect his bullets back at him one way or another, to the point that by the time the battle ends, his body is usually completely riddled with bullet holes, yet he usually does win in the end.
  • Touma Kamijou of A Certain Magical Index is extremely unlucky, thanks to the Imagine Breaker power in his right arm cancelling out the good fortune he would otherwise receive. However, it also negates the powers of both magicians and espers. He has the bad luck of getting dragged into battle against powerful members of both factions, but also the good luck of having the power to defeat them.
  • Medaka Box: Kumagawa Misogi is repeatedly referred to as the weakest person in the world. His inability to win is also repeatedly remarked upon. However, due to his knowledge of both these facts, he can always turn his losses into benefits to screw over others. And despite his label as the weakest, this just means that he is aware of the the weaknesses of everyone. This makes him capable of taking down nearly any opponent other The Hero and some exceptionally powerful beings.
  • One Piece: Monkey D. Luffy is really this instead of Born Lucky. It’s just that he's so optimistic and thrill-seeking that the bad situations he gets into are exciting rather than horrifying for him.
    • One example is in the Impel Down arc, where he and his allies find themselves falling into a vat of molten lava. However, the alternative would have been them getting caught on their way down to the fourth level by the Warden, so this ultimately was the better option (not that they could appreciate that).
    • And then there's his escape from the Buggy Pirates on the way to the Grand Line. While it's seen as the example of his Born Lucky status, in actuality all it did was put him in the hands of Smoker, who would probably have put him in the above mentioned Impel Down. Even when he is rescued from that situation, he is thrust into a giant storm that, without the quick thinking of his crew, would have sunk them all.
    • Luffy and his crew's tendency to end up in horribly dangerous situations and getting out of them has culminated in him unwittingly gaining the allegiance of a massive alliance of pirate crews, the friendship of multiple kingdoms' royal families, and being designated as the Fifth Emperor.
  • Zombieland Saga has Ai Mizuno, who was unlucky enough to get hit by lightning TWICE in the exact same circumstances (performing during a storm in front of loads of fans). The first time kills her. The second, well... it turns out that for zombies, being hit by lightning autotunes their voices, makes them glow, and lets them shoot (harmless) lasers from their fingers. The audio/video effects prove so awesome that she and her band are skyrocketed into popularity.

    Comic Books 
  • Zayne Carrick from the Knights of the Old Republic. The clumsiest, most unlucky Jedi of his generation, he manages to survive the massacre of his fellow Padawans by simple virtue of arriving late to the knighting ceremony made by their Evil Mentors. He runs away, pursued by said mentor Jedi under trumped-up charges of becoming Sith, and in trying to prove his innocence and raise hell on the masters' plans he runs into all kinds of problems involving the Mandalorians, the returning Sith, said mentors becoming more mustache-twirling evil from the stress and hundreds of relatively mundane (yet hair-raising) problems. Despite all that, he doesn't die no matter how crazy things get, manages to kill anybody who threatens him, builds a reputation as a formidable warrior that helps him occasionally, and eventually gets the girl.
    Zayne: The Force does not want me dead. It doesn't want me happy, but it doesn't want me dead.
  • Jimmy Olsen, even in his more competent iterations, is a world-class Weirdness Magnet with a tendency to get into major trouble as a result. However, except for a few occasions, he always comes out with nary a scratch or even angst.
  • In Marvel, Rick Jones is a lot like Jimmy Olsen. But then, he's always partially blamed himself for Bruce Banner being turned into the Hulk, and tries to help him (both Banner and the Hulk) as a result; this tends to make the nature of his luck (good versus bad) ebb and flow.
  • The Water Wizard (now called Aqueduct) was an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain just like everyone who was invited to meet at the Bar with No Name during the original "Scourge of the Underworld" story in Captain America's comic. But he missed the meeting when his car blew a flat tire. He was upset at what he thought was just more bad luck at the time, but could only say prayers of thanks — and turn himself in for his own safety — when he found out that everyone who did make the meeting was ambushed and murdered by Scourge.
  • Scooby-Doo #20 (Gold Key, July 1973) had a story titled "Unlucky Luck", where Velma tries to break Scooby and Shaggy of being superstitious. She has Fred and Daphne plant a ladder and a black cat along a designated path on which she has Scooby and Shaggy follow as part of a game. Of course, they're hesitant, until crossing each bad luck path results in some fortune—a wallet full of money and boxes of candy and dog biscuits. Velma thinks her plan has worked until Scooby and Shaggy go back for their luck talismans—they think if that was bad luck they had, just think of how much good luck they'll have now.
  • Martin Soap in The Punisher suffers misfortune after misfortune throughout his time in the series. Miraculously enough, he also survives all of it in one piece. He ultimately becomes one of the very few Punisher characters who leaves the series with his life and sanity intact.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: Depending on the Writer, Donald Duck himself is this. He was Born Unlucky and there is no story whatsoever where he is not put through a gauntlet of injuries and humiliation, but on some of them he managed to obtain a silver lining by staying around (sometimes because of determination, sometimes because of despair) when whoever was his rival for the tale had already taken the apparent prize and left and the real prize appeared afterwards (thus making the "lucky" rival someone who Gave Up Too Soon).

    Fan Works 
  • The title character of Alexandra Quick is pretty heavy on this. Almost every year something comes up that tries to kill her but she almost always has available just the right tool or asset that will allow her to escape with her life. This also functions on another level as she's Skilled, but Naïve and Too Clever by Half so that in addition to the world trying to screw her while also giving her what she needs to save herself, she tends to throw herself needlessly into dangerous situations while being smart enough to get herself out.
  • Shepard in Cycles Upon Cycles by his own admission has a combination of really good luck and really bad luck.
  • Common Sense: Part of Ash Ketchum's growing "It's All My Fault" martyr complex is that he's constantly running into incredibly rare Pokemon and other amazing (other trainers would give their souls to see just one of the things Ash does) circumstances as per canon... and he's being relentlessly pursued by Team Rocket, who in this fic have Taken A Level In Badass and have become a Knight of Cerebus Terrible Trio. Which means that so wherever he goes, whatever he meets, they are at best a few minutes right behind him to try to steal it... and every single time he (or whoever/whatever he meets) loses a fight to Team Rocket (which happens pretty often), the organization as a whole becomes much more powerful and the Terrible Trio has one more humiliating thing to rub in Ash's face. And the worst part about said complex is that Ash alone seems to be the only Pokemon Trainer that can do any kind of damage to Team Rocket's operations.
  • The Triptych Continuum incarnation of Flash Sentry falls under this trope. His talent is, essentially, to act as a lightning rod for disasters, setting them off in such a way that nobody gets hurt. Unfortunately, his talent isn't necessarily concerned with his own safety, and it really doesn't care about Flash's dignity. If something utterly humiliating needs to take place in order to defuse a crisis, then that's what's going to happen. Flash having spent most of his post-manifest life with no idea of what his talent is doesn't exactly help.
  • In the Worm fanfic It Gets Worse, Taylor triggers with a power that tends to put her in dangerous situations, but that always gets her out of them not only unscathed but sometimes even laughing.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The movie 29th Street follows Frank Pesce, the "luckiest man alive in spite of his bad luck."
  • Lampshaded by Charlie at the end of Kangaroo Jack. At first, it seems incredibly unlucky that he and Louis lose $50,000 when the titular kangaroo runs off with Louis' jacket—until it turns out that had they delivered the money to the mysterious "Mr. Smith," he would've killed them as ordered by Charlie's mafioso stepfather. Not only that, but thanks to the events of the film, Charlie gets said stepfather thrown in prison, develops a hot-selling line of hair-care products and finds True Love.
  • Force Sensitivity in the Star Wars universe may work like this. On the upside, you get some pretty awesome powers, up to being a borderline Reality Warper and can shape galactic history. On the downside, you're now conscripted into a ceaseless religious war between two schools of equally powerful sorcerers (a war that's already lasted for over 25,000 years, so don't expect to avoid it) and spending your life lurching from one crazy situation to the next. Zayne (see the comics section) is an Exaggerated case.

  • A Chinese folktale has an old farmer go through this, to the point where he responds to everything with "I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing." Case in point: One day he wakes up to find his only horse has run away: "I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing." The following day, the horse comes back with a herd of wild horses: "I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing." The day after, his son tries to break in the horses and breaks his leg: "I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing." A war breaks out the next day, and all the village's able-bodied young men are conscripted, sparing the son getting killed on the battlefield.

  • Ciaphas Cain:
    • THE HERO OF THE IMPERIUM, Ciaphas Cain himself. Every dangerous situation he gets into is a result of him trying to avoid another one that sounds more dangerous on paper, only making it out through luck and incidentally foiling an enemy plot in the process of saving his own skin. For example, instead of joining the frontline defense against an Ork horde, he attaches himself to a search party investigating tunnels the Orks might be able to use, and finds the far more lethal Necrons instead, and only escapes due to his sidekick Jurgen's Anti-Magic properties. In another, he goes away from a main battle with Chaos forces to an out-of-the-way dredger where there plausibly might be a demon summoning taking place; as he'd fervently hoped against, there was. This, incidentally, keeps enhancing his reputation and makes his attempt to get cushy desk job even harder.
    • "Jinxie" Penlan of the Valhallan 597th causes accidents through her clumsiness every time she's mentioned, but they all work out in her favor. This actually improves her squad's morale since they trust her to be their resident Weirdness Magnet and absorb all the bad luck that'd kill them.
      Cain: She's not nearly as accident-prone as she's supposed to be. I'll grant you she fell down an ambull tunnel once, and there was that incident with the frag grenade and the latrine trench, but things tend to work out for her. The orks on Kastafore was as surprised as she was when the floor in the factory collapsed, and we'd have walked into right into that hrud ambush on Skweki if she hadn't triggered the mine by chucking an empty food tin away...
  • Discworld: Rincewind is The Lady's favorite... which is a very bad position to be in, as she is Lady Luck. He stumbles into so many disasters while running away from more disasters that only the Theory of Narrative Causality has kept him alive for so long. In fact, in one story he accepts to join a Magnificent Bastard scheme by someone who called him the (un)luckiest bastard he's ever met before even being told what it is; this is because he's Genre Savvy enough by now to know that if he declined and walked (and then ran) as far away from the scheme as he could, the scheme and its potential collateral damage would still find him. Part of the problem is that, as he is the favorite of the Lady, Fate (the literal god of such) absolutely hates him. His Discworld Role-Playing Game write-up literally gives him Extraordinary Luck and Unluckiness. These don't cancel out, they just ensure that whatever happens to him, it's going to be... interesting. Rincewind's luck is so uncannily unpredictable that even Death finds him baffling. Every being in the multiverse (even gods) has an hourglass that runs out of sand when their time is up. Rincewind's hourglass looks like something made by a glassblower on LSD who had the hiccups, full of interconnecting tubes, and features sand occasionally flowing upwards; all of this makes it totally unclear if he's close to dying. Death keeps it on his desk as a curiosity.
  • In The Wheel of Time, Mat Cauthon is Born Lucky and uses it to get through battle after battle safely. However, the same luck (or fate) keeps getting him in battle after battle...
  • Rene Arroy from the Arcia Chronicles was Born Lucky, so when things are left up to chance, they usually go his way. However, this also means that he casually subjects himself to incredible dangers that, even though he always manages to survive them (in some way), have long-lasting and grave consequences for him.
  • John Putnam Thatcher: In the Back Story of "By Hook or by Crook,'' Mark Parajian was horribly injured in a construction accident and took months to recover. However, the hospital records from this accident allowed a Long-Lost Relative to track down Mark and his siblings (who were living miserably in a refugee camp) and give them a prosperous, happy life in America.
  • Blake Thorburn, in Pact, inherited seven lifetimes worth of terrible Karma from his (very evil) forebears to the family name, and as a result people tend to dislike him, animals hate him, twists of fortune don't go his way, and he's often caught up in events that force him to fight various supernatural creatures. However, he's usually able to pull through thanks to his own luck-it's theorized in-story that, as Blake is, unlike his predecessors, actually trying to do good and improve the world, the universe is giving him just enough rope to hang himself instead of just crushing him.
  • Discussed in Animorphs #12: The Reaction. After Rachel has jumped into a crocodile pit to save a kid and caused her house to collapse by accidentally morphing into an elephant, she then gets interviewed about the two incidents...
    Interviewer: How did it feel to fall into a crocodile pit, then have your house fall on you?
    Rachel: Not very good.
    Interviewer: Don't you think you're incredibly lucky?
    Rachel: Um, no. If I were lucky I wouldn't keep falling. Right?
    Interviewer: But you weren't hurt either time.
    Rachel: I think winning the lottery would be lucky. Having the house fall on me, that's not all that lucky.
    Interviewer: Do you have any advice for other kids like yourself?
    Rachel: Um, yes. My advice is don't fall into crocodile pits and don't have the house fall on you.
  • In David Eddings' The Malloreon, the hero and his companions are chasing a villain who'd kidnapped his son. Initially, they are months behind their quarry as they chase her, and they suffer through countless troubles and misfortunes that turn them off their course and delay them drastically. Oddly enough, as is noted well into the story, after all the delays and hold-ups, they're now only a few days behind their enemy.
  • In Henry Kuttner's short story "Housing Problem", a couple rent a room to an extraordinarily lucky man, who turns out to have built a tiny house for House Fey. When they accidentally drive the fey out, he walks out and leaves the house with them, saying they won't be back. Different fey move in, but they seem to be less houseproud, and the wife suggests it's become a bad neighbourhood. Then things happen like the husband falling into the machine he works on and the whole thing breaking - saving his life, but putting him out of work for a week - and the two of them slipping and falling in the mud just before they were about to walk in front of a bus. It's not bad luck, just sloppy.
  • One Of Us Is Lying: Nate's father considers falling off a roof and suffering back damage to fall under this this. It allowed him to qualify for disability payments at a time when he was an alcoholic who probably would have ended up unemployable in short order anyway.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire gives us the Gang of Hats called "House Slynt" — and, you can argue that this trope is more their hat than their trademarked froggy-faced countenance and naked opportunism are. They've risen from their humble roots in King's Landing to being knighted and/or squired lords to being arguably listed among the great lords of the Riverlands... and then promptly reduced back to keepless nobles-in-name-only after only a few months on this rollercoaster ride of mixed fortune. On the plus side, they no longer hold the title to the biggest money sink Westeros has to offer. Yup. In this series, coming out (mostly) alive (if a little poorer) and not holding the rights and titles to Harrenhal anymore can be counted as rather massive strokes of great good fortune wrapped in the incredibly grubby package of a terribly unjust demotion care of both familial missteps and unrelated events.
  • Bink, the first protagonist of the Xanth series, is a Muggle Born of Mages in a setting where magic is required to survive. His whole life has been a chain of lucky-but-often-humiliating events — which turns out to mean that he has magic after all: the magic of never being harmed by magic. And since his magic would harm him if it were too obvious about its nature (as demonstrated in the first book when the enemy who first figured out what was happening promptly switched to a sword), he seems to escape harm through sheer accident, which does nothing for his reputation or self-esteem.
  • There's a children's book called Fortunately where a boy keeps getting into alternating fortunate and unfortunate situations, often finding a way out of the latter through sheer luck or athletic skill. It starts with the boy having no way to go from Florida to a party in New York, but fortunately a friend loans him an airplane, which gets destroyed midair, but he has a parachute, unfortunately there's a hole in it, he sees a haystack on the ground to land, but there's a pitchfork sticking out, he narrowly misses the pitchfork in it and the haystack, but lands in Soft Water...

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Amazing Race, season 21, part of the reason eventual winners Josh and Brent wound up over 12 hours behind the lead teams and set the record for bottom-2 finishes without getting eliminated was they kept catching unlucky breaks, but at the same time, they repeatedly got saved by dumb luck.
    Brent: We've had good luck, we've had bad luck, we've had dumb luck.
  • In the Babylon 5 episode "Grail", the character Thomas Jordan (aka "Jinxo") believes he's at the center of a curse on the Babylon stations; he was one of the people who constructed them, but the first three blew up while he was on leave, and the fourth disappeared after being completed (that time he didn't take leave at all until the task was finished), so he deliberately stayed on Babylon 5 after it was completed so it wouldn't suffer a fatal catastrophe, despite his long-term ability to sustain himself there being questionable at best. The character of Aldous Gajic has a different perspective; perhaps Jinxo was Born Lucky, having escaped catastrophe four times. Either way, it fits; good fortune for Jinxo to escape, and bad luck for the first four stations he helped build.
  • In Supernatural, Sam and Dean Winchester, as well as Castiel, are at the center of one cosmic disaster after another, but they continue to survive and are even brought back from the dead on the occasions they do die.
  • Uchu Sentai Kyuranger has the Red Ranger, Lucky, appear initially to be Born Lucky before establishing that he's more like this trope, with his relentlessly positive attitude being what draws good fortune to him even when bad things happen to him. Lucky himself declares that nobody is lucky to live in the show's Crapsack World, so he celebrates any good fortune that comes his way as something to be treasured and emphasized until the day they can fix the universe's rotten luck.
  • Chance in a Million (UK 1980's sitcom) had main character Tom Chance constantly plagued by extremely unlikely coincidences, often parodying common sitcom tropes.
  • Stan Lee's Lucky Man. The show's premise: a cursed amulet becomes attached to a man's wrist and it gives him lots of good luck. Of course, now everybody who knows how the amulet works is out to get him and it handily explains why the man is able to survive all of the typical insane stunts of an action series.

  • "Your Lucky Day In Hell" from Eels' album Beautiful Freak about someone whose life has been unlucky from the start, but tries to marvel at the thought of having one lucky day in his awful life. As the title indicates this doesn't provide much fun to look forward to.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Old World of Darkness, the dhampyr suffer from this. Their birth (a child of a human and an eastern vampire) is so unlikely that it messes up their fate. As a result, they gain supernatural luck, which they can learn to consciously manipulate but at the same time, they attract trouble a lot.
  • Setback in Sentinels of the Multiverse is a justified example. His ex-girlfriend cursed him with "the misfortune of the coyote", but because Setback interpreted this through the lens of cartoons, that manifests as him periodically getting massive surges of good luck to counterbalance the endless low-key disaster montage that is his life. For example, it meant that after having the bad luck to stumble into one of Baron Blade's super-serum tests, he had the good luck to have it actually work and not mutate him horribly or kill him... meaning that he now has the strength and durability to survive an extended career of pratfalls onto marauding war engines, falling off roofs while fighting rat monsters, and otherwise putting his foot in it. In play, Setback tends to have turns of little achievement or even hurting himself or emptying his pool by random chance...and other turns where he hits harder than almost any other hero, bounces from near-death to full health instantly, draws a giant hand of cards or gives everyone a round of free power uses.
  • The rules for Champions note that Luck and Unluck are not mutually exclusive, but will result in a very confused character who gets inexplicably screwed over when things are going well and saved when things are going poorly.
  • Played for Horror in Deadlands with the "Grim Harbinger O' Death" Disadvantage. It's high-point so it allows for min-maxing, and the disadvantage does not provides any penalties to rolls, so the possibility still exists that a player will be able to make his character succeed despite all of the savage odds placed against him. The Game Master, though, is asked by the rules to make the consequences of the player's actions, whether good or bad, end in lots of collateral death and bloodshed.

    Video Games 
  • The Uncharted series has Nathan Drake. A Walking Disaster Area, his adventures always attract some nastiness along the way; falling architecture, stupidly uneven firefights, exploding vehicles, or the occasional supernatural threat to name a few. While this makes him severely question his luck, his uncanny ability to dodge everything thrown at him (including the bullets), have stuff fall in just the right place, or, in the worst cases, survive and fight with injuries that would kill any other man in seconds, has given him fame amongst his friends as a lucky bastard. In fact, while he keeps getting into firefights, his "health" meter is stated by Word of God to be actually a "luck" meter, meaning until a player dies, he isn't shot, but is narrowly missed instead.
  • In PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, Nathan's ability to get into and out of danger is made into a gameplay mechanic. He reacts with noticeable surprise when his Level 3 Super happens, and it's one of the odd supers that puts the user in some danger. He's the only one not affected by the mutation of El Dorado, and turning what would be a horrible situation for anyone else completely around is the intention with successfully pulling off the whole super. As per the usual Adaptational Badassery, being a Walking Disaster Area is now a super-power.
  • Fire Emblem Fates has Arthur, who's partially this and Born Unlucky. Cursed with god-awful luck from mild (never once winning at the lottery) to the downright absurd and life-threatening (lightning strikes, poisoned food and being mistaken for a bandit), you'd think that the stuff he survives will land him in an eleven-foot hole, but he brushes off falling off cliffs like it's a small cold. He certainly has bad luck due to his tendency to get into these situations, but his ability to survive situations that would kill most people cements him in this territory.
  • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, the player character's ability to get into life-threatening situations and then survive is the main reason people think they're The Chosen One. It starts with them being the Sole Survivor of a mountain-shattering explosion (by physically entering and escaping the world of dreams) and goes from there. Lampshaded more than once, especially if the Inquisitor tries to downplay the messiah-hood thing.
    Cassandra: A strange kind of luck. I'm not sure if we need more or less.
  • Super Robot Wars Z gives the second game's protagonist Crowe Broust this kind of luck as the reason he's a candidate to pilot his Humongous Mecha at all. Not that a bout of good/bad luck got him into the pilot's seat, that the artifact powering the robot actively seeks a pilot whose life will continuously swing between extremes of good and ill fortune. It manifests most strongly in Crowe's Perpetual Poverty, as he constantly finds himself forced by circumstances beyond his control into acquiring some kind of massive debt, which is always followed by a lucky break that allows him to pay it all off just in time to acquire a new one.
  • The backstory of Drakengard 3 explains that Zero was this before she died. Truly awful things constantly happened to her, ever since she was born, but somehow the universe always contorted itself so that she survived those things. She was beaten, but not so badly that she couldn't steal the food she needed to survive. She was betrayed, but slavemasters showed up at just the right time to distract the person attempting to murder her. She was caught by bandits, but they decided to sell her instead of killing her. She caught the plague, and then was betrayed again, but her sickness was still in its early stages, so she was able to kill the guy in self-defense. And then she was caught by guards and sentenced to be lashed for every person she'd murdered, but somehow they got the count wrong, so her death came a lot slower than it 'should' have. And then she actually died for real, but an Eldritch Abomination conscripted her into helping it destroy the world. So now she's a zombie Walking the Earth, trying to figure out how to die permanently. Which, after all the crap she's been though, she really wants to do.
  • Lady Luck seems to give Saints Row's Donnie some weird smiles. The man's repeatedly found himself in bad situations in Saints Row and Saints Row 2, yet he always lives to see another day (the same cannot be said about his colleagues or friends, however). He also survived the downfall of the two gangs he rolled with and is among the people who were abducted by the Zin Empire in Saints Row IV, which saves him from being a casualty of Earth's destruction.

    Visual Novels 
  • While every Ace Attorney protagonist is this to an extent, the trait is far more pronounced in the original protagonist, Phoenix Wright. Not only do his cases hit rock bottom several times before finding just the clue or lead he needs to continue pressing on, but outside investigations he's still at odds with Lady Luck. To name the most spectacular ones: he's been hit by a speeding car and sent flying head-first into a telephone pole, only coming out with a sprained ankle; and he's fallen from a burning bridge into a raging river known to be deadly, and all he caught was a cold.
    Franziska: As always, hard to know if he should be called lucky or unlucky.
    • Maya Fey ends up being a murder suspect in every game she appears in (no, seriously, EVERY game), and in only one of these cases was not the actual defendant. Fortunately, her best friend and boss is Phoenix Wright himself.
    • The bad luck that's haunted Maggey Byrde throughout her life is practically legendary: she's been hit by a bunch of vehicles, gotten sick from all kinds of foods, she fell from the ninth floor of a building as a baby, and she's been accused of murder no less than three times. On the other hand, none of this misfortune has actually managed to kill her, she always manages to get extremely competent legal aid to save her from her legal woes, and she's able to maintain a positive outlook in spite of it all.
    • One of the murder victims in the third game wins the lottery and gets murdered immediately after, for that very reason. He was massively in debt to a Loan Shark because of his gambling addiction, but said loan shark was in even more debt to The Mafia. The victim simply paying back his debt wasn't enough to cover the loan shark's debt, but the victim's collateral was. Since the victim won the lottery at the literal last second and was able to pay back his debt normally, the loan shark was forced to kill him for the collateral he otherwise would have gotten without a hassle. Oh, and just because we're on the topic, Maggey Byrde was the suspect in this murder.
  • Both of the Super High School Level Good Lucks in Danganronpa experience this in varying degrees.
    • Makoto Naegi's luck seems terrible on the surface, even to him, but much of his supposedly bad luck is actually good luck in disguise, because it lets him avoid something even worse. He's the only student with a poorly-fitting bathroom door that sticks closed, but that same door clears him of suspicion of murder, because he knew how to open it while the murderer did not and had to force their way in. He gets roped into being the unwilling referee for a sauna endurance contest, which ends up giving him a crucial piece of knowledge that lets him solve another murder. In Danganronpa 3, he slips and falls on his ass like an idiot, narrowly dodging a wrench thrown at his head. And, of course, he got put into the killing game in the first place, but goes on to defeat the mastermind and be hailed as a hero.
    • In the What If? short story Danganronpa IF, Naegi takes a spear meant for Mukuro Ikusaba. While she's treating his wounds in the infirmary, she's not sure whether his being in this situation is extremely good or bad luck: she doesn't know his blood type and can't give him a proper blood transfusion, but the spears missed any major arteries or vital organs.
    • Nagito Komaeda is far worse off, enough to qualify as a Cosmic Plaything. He lives in a constant cycle of extremely bad luck followed by extremely good luck. In elementary school the plane he was on with his parents got hijacked, and then was later struck by a small meteor in mid-flight, which took out the hijackers but also killed his parents, thus leaving him a massive inheritance. Then he was kidnapped for said inheritance but ended up being saved by the police, and also found a winning lottery ticket in the bag the kidnappers stuffed him in. And so on, and so on. This teeter-totter fortune has given him a blind faith in things going his way when he needs them to, and a belief in all his misfortunes being the precursor to good fortune (almost to the point of Bad is Good and Good is Bad). In a dark deconstruction of the trope, the cycle has left him so deeply-disturbed that in his Island Mode ending it's revealed that he's weary of living and hopes to die on the island in some way that leaves "the seeds of hope" behind. All in order to finally be free of all luck and to lend some meaning to his complexly chaotic existence. His luck can seemingly also be manipulated. When he engineers his own murder in which the other students would kill him without even realizing it until after the fact, he deliberately mutilates himself in order to fulfill the "bad thing" requirement of his "bad thing followed by good thing" luck cycle, thus ensuring that the one he wanted to kill him is the one who dealt the final blow.
    • The protagonists of Danganronpa games in general, not just Makoto, also frequently find themselves subjected to various embarrassing or annoying circumstances throughout the course of the game... that then turn out to be crucial evidence to prove their innocence in various cases.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-503 is described as being inclined towards "short-term good fortune and long-term misfortune" to a supernatural degree. His entire family was killed in a car crash when he was a child except for him (and he was trapped in the car with their corpses for days), he was divorced once and widowed twice and had ten (now deceased) children, and survived 9/11 as well as several suicide attempts. His second-to-last one alerted the Foundation, as he survived a point-blank shotgun blast that only took his lower jaw, which should have been impossible.
  • Masae Anela, in contrast to Chuggaaconroy being Born Lucky and ProtonJon being Born Unlucky, is known for having incredibly two-faced luck, dubbed as "Masae Luck." Often times, her luck treats her with Tall Poppy Syndrome, where her luck supplies her with tons of good graces that places her high above the rest, only to then yank it all away from underneath her feet. This is also able to work vice-versa, but needless to say, Masae's luck never treats her with dignity no matter which way it sways. To quote Chugga when the two of them played Koopa's Seaside Soirée...
    Chugga: You've pointed that out yourself, though, that whenever a game is going well for you, it just explodes in your face in, like, the last 5 turns, though. But then, when you get crapped on for the first 15 turns, then you suddenly shoot ahead at the last second.
  • From Not Always Working, this grocery store worker reveals himself to be something of a Butt-Monkey by way of stating that he's also the submitter for this story, where he got written up and threatened with termination over a technical issue, and this one, where a manager held back from letting him take his break for over five hours before finally declaring he simply wasn't getting a break that day, period. Turns out he has a knack for finding the bad managers at every location he gets transferred to and ultimately making sure they get their comeuppance, by having them mistreat him in increasingly-ludicrous ways. By the time of the third story, when he's once again threatened with a writeup for not helping a customer while off the clock, i.e. breaking labor law, he's had enough and turns in his two-weeks notice.

    Western Animation 
  • The title character of The Amazing World of Gumball is subject to countless misfortunes, but when his life is in danger, his luck tends to reverse in a way that lets him narrowly survive. And while Gumball does gradually shift from a hapless Idiot Hero almost entirely dependent on luck and his family's assistance to a more competent Action Survivor, he still needs a bit of well-timed coincidence to stay alive. For instance, in the fourth season finale, Gumball narrowly avoids being erased and manages to hit the Reset Button because his enemy's weapon malfunctioned, but in a way Gumball was able to fix when he took it.
  • Milo Murphy, the titular character in Milo Murphy's Law, is a Walking Disaster Area who somehow manages to not only survive his phenomenally bad luck but be the Pollyanna about it, while often benefiting in some way from his mishaps.
  • As with the comics verse above, DuckTales (2017) has Donald Duck as this. Seeking an accounting job? Actually, you got an adventuring job... from one of your estranged uncle's archnemesis. Outright stated when he's forced through a deadly obstacle course against his Born Lucky cousin Gladstone: Donald has horrendous luck and overreacts to every slight the universe throws his way, but he NEVER gives up and will stop at nothing to protect his nephews. In the end, Gladstone stops to pick up twenty dollars at his feet right before the finish line, while Donald obliterates a tiger through sheer rage, runs up the sheer cliff side of a giant pachinko machine, and launches himself to victory.

    Real Life 
  • Tsutomu Yamaguchi is sometimes considered the luckiest man in history because he survived the nuclear attacks on both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. However, he could also be considered the unluckiest man ever because... he was in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki when they were nuked.
  • George Orwell wrote in Homage to Catalonia about how he was shot in battle during the Spanish Civil War. Many of the people he talked to while recovering told him how lucky he was to be shot in such a way that the blood wouldn't drown him before he could be recovered from the field. He, on the other hand, wondered how anyone who'd gotten shot in the neck could be called lucky.
  • Roy Sullivan, the man struck by lightning 7 times in his life, who lived through all of them. He eventually died from a self-inflicted shotgun wound due to unrequited love.
  • Similarly, Walter Summerford was struck by lightning 3 times during his lifetime and survived all three. Then after his death, his gravestone was also struck, bringing the total up to four.
  • Ivan Basso crashed on stage 5 of the 2015 edition of Tour de France. The days after the crash, he still had testicular pains, so he asked the race doctor to take a thorough look at what could be wrong. The diagnosis: Early-stage testicular cancer. So early that he will most likely make a full recovery after the surgery is done. Which he did, but it did cause him to retire from competition.
  • Frane Selak, who escaped death eight times in various different accidents (a train, a plane, two bus accidents, a Groin Attack via a gun, two car fires, and a truck). He then went on to win a lottery in 2003.
  • The co-pilot of the plane that landed in the Hudson has said in interviews that everything that day went their way — except, of course, for hitting the birds in the first place.
  • The psychologist Richard Wiseman has studied luck and discovered it's mostly down to interpretation. If someone who thinks they're Born Lucky is shot in the shoulder, they focus on the fact they survived, whereas someone who thinks they're Born Unlucky can have the same thing happen and will focus on the fact they were shot. One example he found was a man who claimed to be incredibly unlucky, but had won the National Lottery. But he wasn't the only winner that week, which he felt was typical of his bad luck.
  • Violet Jessop, a nurse who was serving on the ocean liner RMS Olympic. Then the ship was accidentally rammed by a cruiser. No one was harmed. While Olympic was being repaired, she was assigned to its brand-new sister ship, the RMS Titanic. She escaped the following events unscathed. Four years later she was on the third sister ship, HMHS Brittanic, which had been converted into a hospital ship during World War I. Then that ship hit a mine and sunk even faster than Titanic did. Violet Jessop also survived that one, but barely, as she was on one of the lifeboats that were launched prematurely and ended up caught in the ship's still-running propellers.
  • During World War I, the Italians primarily faced off against the Austro-Hungarians, but by 1917 both sides were starting to run low on food. The USA had recently entered the war and would send the Italians some much-needed supplies, including food, but their convoys suffered heavy delays. Around the same time, the Austro-Hungarians inflicted a major defeat on the Italians at Caporetto and advanced over a hundred kilometers, taking the key city of Udine in the process. "Luckily" for the Italians, however, Udine's food depots were still nearly empty thanks to the American delays, so there was little food for the Austro-Hungarians to loot. In 1918 the stockpiled food was one of the decisive factors in the Allied victory, as the Italian troops were now well fed and organized, while the Austro-Hungarians were on the brink of starvation.
  • The USS Enterprise (CV-6) was, depending on your point of view, either the luckiest or unluckiest ship of World War II because she took a heck of a lot of damage during her career, enough so that the Japanese misreported her as having been sunk three separate times, but ultimately survived through to the end of the war. To give an idea, she managed to avoid being stuck at Pearl Harbor because she was delayed by bad weather for a day, but she still managed to lose 11 aircraft over the course of that day: seven were lost as part of a recon group to scout her intended path that got caught in the attack, shot down either by enemy aircraft or friendly AA guns who couldn't tell who was who; three were part of an intended retaliatory strike on a Japanese carrier that turned out to not be there, who diverted to a friendly airbase only for the AA guns there - despite being told friendly aircraft were coming in to land - to panic at the sight of them and open fire anyway; and one was also part of the strike group who simply ran out of fuel partway through and had to bail.


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