D&D 5E Desperation

I've never been a fan of the recovery methods regarding Inspiration. Any interesting online ideas we borrowed for Inspiration did not work or stick at our table. The 5.5e mechanic of refreshing your Inspiration after scoring a natural 20 seems gimmicky to me so I'm just gonna nix that idea straight off the bat. I will still likely use the Inspiration idea - handing it out in creative ways, perhaps as a rather uncommon/rare reward if the fiction calls for a character being Inspired, but other than that I'm removing it as a constant bland resource.

Instead I'm thinking of rebranding the mechanic as Desperation and a PC earns Desperation when one gains the Bloodied condition. You can only have 1 Desperation at any one time, however, the caveat being, the PC loses their Desperation at the end of a combat encounter/scene. That limits the Desperation use to combat solely and it's likely to see more play.

And if you thinking this is too much of a boon for the PCs, there is nothing stopping DMs from adding this feature to key bad guys, right?

Thoughts? Too much admin?
 
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DataDwarf

Explorer
I have everyone start every session with Inspiration. Unused Inspiration does not carry over from session to session. Inspiration can be used to reroll any roll, take an extra action, regain an expended spell slot (equal to half your proficiency bonus rounded up), or regain an expended resource or feature that can be used as if you took a short rest.

The idea here is that inspiration is used to perform heroic actions.

I found I was terrible at remembering to grant Inspiration. And I'll admit this is definitely not a perfect solution, but it seems to work for my groups.
 

pointofyou

Adventurer
If I were to use Inspiration I would prefer a mechanic on the lines of a pool where if the players use it it becomes available to the DM and vice versa. I have no idea how I'd square that with the mechanics in the 1D&D playtest but I am clinging to the hope those will change between now and publication.
 

I have everyone start every session with Inspiration. Unused Inspiration does not carry over from session to session. Inspiration can be used to reroll any roll, take an extra action, regain an expended spell slot (equal to half your proficiency bonus rounded up), or regain an expended resource or feature that can be used as if you took a short rest.

The idea here is that inspiration is used to perform heroic actions.

I found I was terrible at remembering to grant Inspiration. And I'll admit this is definitely not a perfect solution, but it seems to work for my groups.
Wonderful ideas for its use, and I could certainly incorporate that into the Desperation mechanic since everything you practically mentioned would likely be used during combat. My complaint with the concept of Inspiration still stands - it is just a tacked-on resource with no tie-in to the in-game fiction. We'd have to just accept each character has one potential for creativeness (Inspiration). I find that meh!

That is why Desperation appeals to me more because it is tied to the fiction.
 

Argyle King

Legend
If I were to use Inspiration I would prefer a mechanic on the lines of a pool where if the players use it it becomes available to the DM and vice versa. I have no idea how I'd square that with the mechanics in the 1D&D playtest but I am clinging to the hope those will change between now and publication.

I was going to say something similar to this.

You could easily use the Force Die and Force Tokens from FFG Star Wars as a way to create an inspiration pool.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
I have everyone start every session with Inspiration. Unused Inspiration does not carry over from session to session. Inspiration can be used to reroll any roll, take an extra action, regain an expended spell slot (equal to half your proficiency bonus rounded up), or regain an expended resource or feature that can be used as if you took a short rest.

The idea here is that inspiration is used to perform heroic actions.

I found I was terrible at remembering to grant Inspiration. And I'll admit this is definitely not a perfect solution, but it seems to work for my groups.
That's the general rule at AL event's I've judged too. You get inspiration at the start of the scenario.
I've used it in my home game, but it's still been hard to keep reminding players to use it when we've gamed remotely. In person games, I've had a pool of sparkly d20s that I hand out (another DM in our group gives out poker chips) when a PC has inspiration. It's a physical reminder that gets handed back in when expended. That helps a LOT. I just need to come up with an online alternative.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I prefer Inspiration be used to reward portrayal of the character's established characteristics and use this method for handling it at the table: The Case for Inspiration. The DM doesn't have to manage it and the players have a limit of 4 Inspiration each per session, use them or lose them.

If you're going to have it awarded when a PC reaches half hit points or less, you might want to limit that to "the first time a character reaches half hit points or less in a combat encounter." Otherwise it may get a bit much with healing and losing more hit points in the same fight.
 

DataDwarf

Explorer
My complaint with the concept of Inspiration still stands - it is just a tacked-on resource with no tie-in to the in-game fiction. We'd have to just accept each character has one potential for creativeness (Inspiration). I find that meh!

That is why Desperation appeals to me more because it is tied to the fiction.
Totally agree that it feels tacked on. Tieing it to the story/fiction is a cool idea and if your players are on board with trying it out I say go for it! Worse case you find out it doesn't work/it is not enjoyable and move on.

I also think it is also okay for some items to just be a game mechanic and not have to be tied to in-game elements. But really there is no wrong answer here.
 

I prefer Inspiration be used to reward portrayal of the character's established characteristics and use this method for handling it at the table: The Case for Inspiration. The DM doesn't have to manage it and the players have a limit of 4 Inspiration each per session, use them or lose them.
So Iserith we have tried this once. It worked for one session, usually the metagamer in the group took advantage of this to the max but the others I felt didn't really participate. Need to give this another go me thinks. :)
 
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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
So Iserith we have tried this once. It worked for one session, usually the metagamer in the group takes advantage of this to the max but the others I felt didn't really participate. Need to give this another go me thinks. :)
The "metagamer" must have figured out the loop this creates: I portray my character, I get rewarded, and now I have a resource to increase my chances of success which I have to use before end of session. That's exactly what you want if your ultimate goal is more interesting portrayals of the characters during play. Why do you suppose the others didn't latch onto that?
 

payn

Legend
I've never been a fan of the recovery methods regarding Inspiration. Any interesting online ideas we borrowed for Inspiration did not work or stick at our table. The 5.5e mechanic of refreshing your Inspiration after scoring a natural 20 seems gimmicky to me so I'm just gonna nix that idea straight off the bat. I will still likely use the Inspiration idea - handing it out in creative ways, perhaps as a rather uncommon/rare reward if the fiction calls for a character being Inspired, but other than that I'm removing it as a constant bland resource.

Instead I'm thinking of rebranding the mechanic as Desperation and a PC earns Desperation when one gains the Bloodied condition. You can only have 1 Desperation at any one time, however, the caveat being, the PC loses their Desperation at the end of a combat encounter/scene. That limits the Desperation use to combat solely and it's likely to see more play.

And if you thinking this is too much of a boon for the PCs, there is nothing stopping DMs from adding this feature to key bad guys, right?

Thoughts? Too much admin?
Aside from inspiration (which I like), I do like this idea of desperation. Bloddied is a clear trigger and the encounter is a good time limit for having it. Nice idea.
 

payn

Legend
Actually, I just had an idea pop in my head. I know a lot of folks would probably hate it but what if each pillar had a meta-currency? Inspiration for social pillar, desperation for combat pillar, and...ingenuity for exploration pillar? Each would have their own triggers and time limits. I would really dig that. Also, its all pretty easy to simply ignore if you dont like it.
 

The "metagamer" must have figured out the loop this creates: I portray my character, I get rewarded, and now I have a resource to increase my chances of success which I have to use before end of session. That's exactly what you want if your ultimate goal is more interesting portrayals of the characters during play. Why do you suppose the others didn't latch onto that?
It was a while ago and 2 players have changed since then and my memory of that session has faded. If I'd had to hazard a guess, I'd probably lay the blame at my feet for not pushing harder with such a new concept . We went back to the generic system 1-2 sessions later. I think its time I give it another go, especially now with 2 newer, eager roleplayers.
 

I was so used to using physical tokens for inspiration that I became very bad at it when we switched to gaming online, so likewise, I just start people off having inspiration.

I have everyone start every session with Inspiration. Unused Inspiration does not carry over from session to session. Inspiration can be used to reroll any roll, take an extra action, regain an expended spell slot (equal to half your proficiency bonus rounded up), or regain an expended resource or feature that can be used as if you took a short rest.

The idea here is that inspiration is used to perform heroic actions.

I found I was terrible at remembering to grant Inspiration. And I'll admit this is definitely not a perfect solution, but it seems to work for my groups.

I like the idea of Desperation at half HP. It certainly feels properly "trope-y." Another option I'm thinking about is borrowing from Kids on Bike's Adversity Tokens and giving Inspiration on a nat 1, not a nat 20.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
A good inspiration mechanic can't rely on the DM being responsible for managing the inspiration of the players. There is just too much to do as a DM.

The "get inspiration on a 20" is intended to have it show up at the table more often. Remember that the DM should only call for d20 tests when the result matters; this helps discourage the DM from asking for rolls just to think up a response. If the result of a failed d20 test is "well, you can try again, nothing happens of note" then the test shouldn't happen; so all d20 tests should have a negative consequence, hence the inspiration reward (on top of anything else) for a natural 20 is justified.

Despiration is interesting. If you look at games like FATE, they have things where players can get a temporary bonus in exchange for the DM being able to mess with the PC later. This is tied to flaws -- the idea is that the DM can activate a flaw using the meta-currency, and the player gets the ability to get a bonus in exchange, time-shifted (possibly either way!).

That works better when that is the primary DM mechanic (triggering flaws). That isn't D&D.

So I'd rather have PCs run inspiration independently.

One thought I'd have was giving PCs more bonds. They can trigger a bond for inspiration and strengthening the bond. Maybe a triggered bond can produce a save-DC against a compulsion as well.
 

It was a while ago and 2 players have changed since then and my memory of that session has faded. If I'd had to hazard a guess, I'd probably lay the blame at my feet for not pushing harder with such a new concept . We went back to the generic system 1-2 sessions later. I think its time I give it another go, especially now with 2 newer, eager roleplayers.
Inspiration always gets forgotten...

BUT i have related experience. One of the powergamers I took this screen name for used to not like RP heavy sessions, he would half pay attention until the 'good part' Until I started dropping plot and rp boosts in... "Oh you made friends with X they can give you Y"

after a few games of watching role players getting big bonus things he started power gaming the RP too.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
It was a while ago and 2 players have changed since then and my memory of that session has faded. If I'd had to hazard a guess, I'd probably lay the blame at my feet for not pushing harder with such a new concept . We went back to the generic system 1-2 sessions later. I think its time I give it another go, especially now with 2 newer, eager roleplayers.
I think part of it is also the amount and type of content the group gets through in a given session (and, naturally, session length). We play for 4 hours and it is jam-packed with the PCs doing stuff. Because we cover so much ground, there are of course a lot of rolls. Therefore, the incentive to earn and spend Inspiration may be higher than in other games I've seen that aren't moving at this pace.

This may also be related to stakes. My players know that if they're rolling, failure is going to be bad relative to the situation. So they have an incentive to have Inspiration banked in case they have to roll. Almost always Inspiration in my games are spent on saves and ability checks and only rarely on attack rolls (often to just offset disadvantage).
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Instead I'm thinking of rebranding the mechanic as Desperation and a PC earns Desperation when one gains the Bloodied condition. You can only have 1 Desperation at any one time, however, the caveat being, the PC loses their Desperation at the end of a combat encounter/scene. That limits the Desperation use to combat solely and it's likely to see more play.
Please, PLEASE, don't lock getting this as a reward that can only happen in combat.

And for me, doing it so that it's only usable in combat, going away after, projects a lot about that DM's priorities that I would find as a mismatch for my own and would stay away from that game or any other the DM runs. Not because they are a bad DM, but because what I want from a game likely doesn't match with what they do.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Please, PLEASE, don't lock getting this as a reward that can only happen in combat.

And for me, doing it so that it's only usable in combat, going away after, projects a lot about that DM's priorities that I would find as a mismatch for my own and would stay away from that game or any other the DM runs. Not because they are a bad DM, but because what I want from a game likely doesn't match with what they do.
I think the problem is that they view checks outside of combat as non-dangerous. And they treat them as if the player can invoke them at will.

Ie, "I try to jump really high" and the DM automatically says "roll a d20". They do this 20 times, get instance inspiration.

The thing is, the rules say that the DM decides when a check happens. And, with the "you get inspiration for 20", what that means is only call for a check when it matters. If every low roll results in a problem (in combat this is easy; you waste your turn. Out of combat, it means there have to be stakes that matter, like jumping over a pit), then 20 granting inspiration isn't a problem. Even "a bad roll on a knowledge check means you believe something false".

Ie, don't use d20 rolls as a way to settle arguments between the DM and Player. Use them to determine the result of something risky.
 

Please, PLEASE, don't lock getting this as a reward that can only happen in combat.

And for me, doing it so that it's only usable in combat, going away after, projects a lot about that DM's priorities that I would find as a mismatch for my own and would stay away from that game or any other the DM runs. Not because they are a bad DM, but because what I want from a game likely doesn't match with what they do.
I get your concerns, my thinking was more along the death spiral, there are some other ideas floating in my head regarding the bloodied condition. I'm going to revisit Iserith's idea for Inspiration which will encompass all pillars of the game.

Furthermore our table has unlocked hit dice spend for a few years now for additional uses of one's resources, which assists in every pillar. We have expanded on feats, added and modified. Abilities now see use for odd numbers. The next thing I want to tackle are skills and eventually weapons.

The idea is I'm hoping to have a 5e system I'm happy with so the next time we start from 0, we use this system that offers players more depth in choice but is still far simpler than 3.x and combats don't grind at high level as they did for us in 4e.

The idea with Desperation is that the resource will likely see use as opposed to Inspiration now which rarely sees use for primarily 2 reasons (i) saving it for something really important + (ii) I forgot I had it.
I've even resorted to handing out poker chips, like some others have done.
 

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