D&D 5E Desperation


Scion of Murgen (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.

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.
Tend to concur.

I sympathize with the folks who feel like Inspiration is "tacked on" and hard to remember. It can be a little tricky to implement.

I remember that back in the early OSR Jeff Rients had a house rule that once every session each player could roll the big d30 in place of any other die roll, representing a burst of extra heroic effort. I think Inspiration is similar, in that the point is to represent the fictional concept of drawing on those heroic extra inner reserves.

I like the concept of tying it to roleplaying the Bonds, Ideals, and Flaws, but yeah, it's tricky to remember and I definitely don't think the DM needs tracking that to be another thing on their plate.

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I like the concept of tying it to roleplaying the Bonds, Ideals, and Flaws, but yeah, it's tricky to remember and I definitely don't think the DM needs tracking that to be another thing on their plate.
My problem is that it is the DM's responsibility to track actions against each players BIF, and players have to also remember and engage it. And there isn't a player "poke the DM and ask for inspiration".

So it sort of doesn't work.

My thought is to allow players to tap a Bonds without inspiration as if they had inspiration, but once per session.

So give Alignments to Bonds as follows:

Lawful: Bond to an abstract system or rules.
Chaotic: Bond to a specific person or relationship.
Good: Selfless Bond, Bond whose purpose is benefiting the Bondee.
Evil: Selfish Bond, Bond to a desire that benefits the Bonder.

Then the Bond Alignment determines what it can be tapped for. So the player doesn't have to tie the Bond to the specific reroll narratively (which helps deal with the "munckin bond" issue).

And then you reroll with advantage (or disadvantage) enforced.

When you tap a Bond successfully, you must describe to the table something about the Bond and how it relates to the PC in a short bit. The DM can then add something (bwahahaha). This description may be unrelated to the current situation. This is basically a mechanic to generate backstory for your PC and insert it into the game. As it is 1/session, and should be short, it shouldn't cause disruption.

Lawful Evil: I am bounty hunter, paid by the state or guide. (Relation to an organization, self-benefit)

Chaotic Evil: Bob pays me good money to find and deal with trouble makers. (Relation to an individual, self-benefit)

Neutral Good: I love planting apple trees everywhere. (No organization or person, mainly benefits others)

Chaotic Neutral: Bob and I are good buddies. (personal relationship, neither mainly self or other benefit)

Lawful Good: I would give my life for the Church (even if that church is evil)
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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?
I am playing in a game with the DND One method (the original 20 method) and I don't like it.

I liked the original inspiration. In many games it was rarely awarded. In a few it was awarded often (once a battle), In a few it was never awarded. In one game I played it was a flat 2 inspirations awarded at the end of every session one for MVP and one for best role play. All of those methods worked great.

The beauty of the original 5E inspiration is it is totally flexible and can be incorporated into the social contract in session 0 regarding how you are going to play the game. That makes it a lot better and less disruptive.

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