D&D 5E Gaining Inspiration through a ritual (House Rule)

BookTenTiger

He / Him
I came up with an idea for a house rule I wanted to throw out there. I'm terrible at giving out Inspiration as a DM. I just don't think about it often, and when I do it sometimes feels like favoritism! So I'm always looking for ways to offload that responsibility. In the past I've just done randomized Inspiration, or had players pass it to other players.

But I was thinking about campaign settings in which the gods are more influential, and how often in fantasy (and history) people performed daily rituals in order to curry the favor or pay gratitude to the gods. This gave me a new idea for how to handle Inspiration:

The Inspiration Ritual

Each character would have an Inspiration Goal, which they can change any time they level up. Goals could include things like:
  • I slayed a worthy opponent.
  • I found a valuable treasure.
  • I explored a new, exciting place.
  • I performed for an influential audience.
  • I learned an interesting fact about the world.
During a long rest, the player would reflect on if their character met their goal in the previous day. If they did, they gain Inspiration.

This could easily be expanded by turning it into a ritual. You could have players create an action they take while they reflect. For example...
  • I sharpen my weapons and think over the worthy opponents I've slayed.
  • I pray to my god and thank it for guiding me to worthy treasure.
  • I draw runes in the soil to mark a new, exciting place I've traveled to.
  • I pour over my tomes and take notes on new facts I've learned about the world.
What I like about this idea is that it means I don't have to worry about Inspiration anymore, but the players keep getting to use it. The mechanic also gets tied into their character goals, and might even influence their choices in the campaign!

Have you ever used anything similar? Have you ever had systems in which players award their own Inspiration?
 

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It's a very cool idea! I'm not convinced it's even a House Rule, though, since the DMG guides us to "Award inspiration when players take actions that make the game more exciting, amusing, or memorable." Proposing an Inspiration Goal and conducting an Inspiration Ritual for their characters does just that - perhaps a bit formally but it does it all the same. That same section (p240) goes on to specify about using inspiration "to reward roleplaying" and "as a reward when the characters achieve an important goal or victory, representing a surge of confidence and energy." Sounds like all that reflects your idea nicely and also adds a spin on the concept of "Players Award Inspiration" - which has the added benefit of being one less thing for you as DM to track!
 

aco175

Legend
But I was thinking about campaign settings in which the gods are more influential, and how often in fantasy (and history) people performed daily rituals in order to curry the favor or pay gratitude to the gods. This gave me a new idea for how to handle Inspiration:
First thought is that it feel forced upon the players and the "gods" is another name for the DM. It is like when the DM forces a player to roleplay and they are not into it and things feel weird. It seems hard to get players into the game each session to earn it but not force it. Some players are more into what seems would be awarded.

I just give out a 'hero point' each session to be used similar to inspiration. All the players have moments of good roleplay or say something funny or something. It frees me up to not thing about it and we never were really using it.
 


Stormonu

Legend
I'm not much for the ritual, but for my games I've made it the player's responsibility for getting inspiration. Basically, if a character chooses to invoke their character's flaw (requiring automatic failure at whatever they were attempting to do in a way that relates to the flaw), they get inspiration. They're more like story points though - they can trade them in for an automatic success or make a story alteration (within reason) if they frame it in how the success relates to their ideal or bond.
I find it's a way to get players to throw in backstory or otherwise develop their character in a fun way and offloading a little bit of mechanics off onto to the players in a way they get some creative control over the campaign.
 

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