D&D (2024) How Would You Make Inspiration More Used?

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
One of the things they seem to be gunning for in the playtest is adding more ways to gain Inspiration. According to the interview on YouTube, they are looking for "a way to feed people inspiration through the system itself" and generally encourage gaining it and using it. Rolling 20's and being Human are ways to get it in the playtest.

I'm interested in getting some ideas on how to deliver and encourage the use of Inspiration. How would you like to see Inspiration given, and how would you think of encouraging people to use it? What's your take on how the playtest is doing it so far?

For me, I'm OK with a nat 20 giving you Inspiration. The Human racial trait is a little wonkier. One of the things I like about Inspiration is that it is not something you can build for, it is something you have to play for, and I would prefer that to be the case going forward, too.

Some ideas that have worked pretty well in my games:

Inspiration Gained from your Conflicts.
I've had games set up giving every character one of the Seven Deadly Sins, and whenever you succumbed to your Sin, you got Inspiration. I had a Planescape game where Inspiration was awarded by doing things in line with your philosophy that you otherwise wouldn't do (when an Athar member refused healing from a cleric of a god, for instance). I've had games inspired by screenwriting that separate a character's Wants from Needs, and those characters got Inspiration when they gave into their Wants. In another game, each PC was linked to an enemy group (ie, this wizard is set against the barbarians that hated magic), and they got inspiration by mentioning something that they did that would attract that enemy group (ie, the wizard crafted a magic item).

In all of these situations, Inspiration was something the players controlled their own access to, by making specific decisions to pursue it that had to do with the kind of challenges they faced. I think one of the most useful ways was using it as an incentive to make "bad" character choices that would still drive the action forward. It was a nice way to incentivize playing a little sub-optimally at the game to enhance the story.

What if we make that more explicitly part of the bargain? Something as simple as a list of flaws and associated actions: if you have this flaw and do this action, you get Inspiration. Like:
  • Arrogant: You gain Inspiration when you refuse to listen to the rest of the party.
  • Greedy: You gain Inspiration when you increase the number of gold pieces you have.
  • Unlucky: You gain Inspiration when you roll a 1.
  • Vow of Silence: You gain Inspiration whenever 24 hours pass without you speaking.
Inspiration Gained from your Party's Bonds
I had a game where we played characters who knew each other growing up. The DM gave us inspiration for various acts of friendship and camaraderie. Like:
  • When you roll a crit, you can give the bonus damage to an ally you consider your Friend. If you do so, get Inspiration.
  • When an ally you consider your Rival drops to 0 hit points, you can use your reaction to tell them to keep standing. If you do so, they get Inspiration.
  • When you spend at least 1 day of downtime with an ally you consider your Love Interest, you each get Inspiration.
Spend Inspiration on Cool Stuff
Advantage is nice, but it's not really distinct - there's a lot of things that give it. But I've been part of some games that have some special ways to spend Inspiration rather than advantage. That Planescape game had you spend Inspiration to power faction abilities. The game with the Seven Deadly Sins also had Seven Heavenly Virtues that were associated with effects you could gain by spending Inspiration. And in kind of an inversion of the human in the playtest, I've seen Inspiration used with extra race abilities, magic items, spells, or feats. Some ideas here that were fun include:
  • Inspiration as an optional spell component: Spend inspiration when you cast a spell and someone automatically fails their save.
  • Spend Inspiration to Twist Fate: Rather than advantage, you just tell the DM to twist fate to your advantage. Maybe the guard you're sneaking past needs to take a bathroom break right then, or maybe the sun gets in the eyes of an attacker (giving them disadvantage).
  • Spend Inspiration to Deny an Opportunity Attack: I can run away and you can stop me. POCKET SAND i mean INSPIRATION.
What are your best Inspiration ideas? I'd like to be...Inspired. :)
 

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D1Tremere

Adventurer
I've been considering dropping the inspiration mechanic for the story point mechanic used in the Essence 20 system (GI Joe/Transformers/Power Rangers).
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Two simple changes and the inspiration would flow like water. Remove the cap on inspiration (currently a binary, yes/no) and let players spend inspiration after a d20 roll (currently have to declare an inspiration spend before rolling).

That's it.

Generate inspiration however you want. Spend it to do whatever other things. Use it to fuel creative spellcasting. Bring in gaining inspiration after rolling a nat 20. Let players shuffle inspiration around. That's all fine. But if you want players to spend it rather than hoard it, it needs to be something they can stockpile and it needs to be something that gives them a tangible benefit.

Inspiration sucks when you roll two successes, it feels like you wasted it. Likewise with two failures. But spending it after the roll...makes players feel like they have a literal second chance, which they do. Sure, it's neat to roll two dice at once, but if players can only have one inspiration at a time and they feel like it's wasted inspiration, players are going to hoard it.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Sure, it's neat to roll two dice at once, but if players can only have one inspiration at a time and they feel like it's wasted inspiration, players are going to hoard it.
The idea to spend after a roll is a pretty good one. I definitely prefer the "only one at a time" mechanic, since hoarding and purging are really swingy.
 


Two simple changes and the inspiration would flow like water. Remove the cap on inspiration (currently a binary, yes/no) and let players spend inspiration after a d20 roll (currently have to declare an inspiration spend before rolling).

That's it.

Generate inspiration however you want. Spend it to do whatever other things. Use it to fuel creative spellcasting. Bring in gaining inspiration after rolling a nat 20. Let players shuffle inspiration around. That's all fine. But if you want players to spend it rather than hoard it, it needs to be something they can stockpile and it needs to be something that gives them a tangible benefit.

Inspiration sucks when you roll two successes, it feels like you wasted it. Likewise with two failures. But spending it after the roll...makes players feel like they have a literal second chance, which they do. Sure, it's neat to roll two dice at once, but if players can only have one inspiration at a time and they feel like it's wasted inspiration, players are going to hoard it.
...brother?
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I’ve said this before and I’ll probably say it again. Making inspiration more common and not reliant on the DM to remember your traits and judge your roleplaying of them is a worthwhile goal. Making the main way of gaining inspiration random is not a good way to try and achieve it. Inspiration should be tied to something you choose to do, rather than just random chance. So, humans gaining Inspiration after a long rest? Great. Musicians being able to give their allies Inspiration by playing music? Great. Gaining Inspiration on a nat20? Not so great, in my opinion.

Personally, I would like to see Personality Traits, Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws continue to be a thing. But make it so the player can claim Inspiration once per trait per session instead of having to wait for the DM to give it to them.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
I rather like the notion of making inspiration derived from both random and non-random sources.

Giving BIFTs a mechanical purpose by having players claim a point is a great idea, imo, and encourages players to really pay attention to those character qualities. At the same time, I also like the idea to tie it to Nat 20, or Nat 1 as a "consolation prize." (Or even stranger: just choose a number at character creation and that's your "Lucky Number", so PC gets Inspiration for rolling a "Nat 7" or whatever?) And there's certainly a place for the original Inspiration-as-award, of course.

So why not all of them? Some random, some earned, some awarded? Cap Inspiration at, say 3 points in-hand at any one time (or whatever), and cap earning to one point from each source per long rest (or whatever). That sets a baseline number that all PCs can access everyday, while there's also a little day-to-day random variation as some PCs get a lucky extra one every now and then. The exact number in-hand and nature and number of sources could be tuned to the style of each table.

edit: Oh, and make using more interesting. Tweaking dice rolls isn't terribly inspirational.
 
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payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
  • Arrogant: You gain Inspiration when you refuse to listen to the rest of the party.
  • Greedy: You gain Inspiration when you increase the number of gold pieces you have.
  • Unlucky: You gain Inspiration when you roll a 1.
  • Vow of Silence: You gain Inspiration whenever 24 hours pass without you speaking.
I like where you are going with this. However, arrogant sounds very problematic to the party dynamic. Some groups deal with the conflict well, and others just descend on each other.
Inspiration Gained from your Party's Bonds
I had a game where we played characters who knew each other growing up. The DM gave us inspiration for various acts of friendship and camaraderie. Like:
  • When you roll a crit, you can give the bonus damage to an ally you consider your Friend. If you do so, get Inspiration.
  • When an ally you consider your Rival drops to 0 hit points, you can use your reaction to tell them to keep standing. If you do so, they get Inspiration.
  • When you spend at least 1 day of downtime with an ally you consider your Love Interest, you each get Inspiration.
I like the social piece way more than the combat stuff. I think inspiration mechanics could have a lot of design room in the other pillars of the game!
Spend Inspiration on Cool Stuff
  • Inspiration as an optional spell component: Spend inspiration when you cast a spell and someone automatically fails their save.
  • Spend Inspiration to Twist Fate: Rather than advantage, you just tell the DM to twist fate to your advantage. Maybe the guard you're sneaking past needs to take a bathroom break right then, or maybe the sun gets in the eyes of an attacker (giving them disadvantage).
  • Spend Inspiration to Deny an Opportunity Attack: I can run away and you can stop me. POCKET SAND i mean INSPIRATION.
I think you might find some push back on auto succeed stuff. I do like engaging the players, and asking them to assist in the narrative, but I also like the game boundaries to be defined.

My ideas?
I could see something like spending inspiration for advice or clues on how to solve puzzles/riddles, get through a maze, find water or shelter in harsh environments etc..

Spend inspiration find a guild, church, order contact to assist in social situations.

I am sure I can think of more but I need to stew on it. I like where you are going though.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I like where you are going with this. However, arrogant sounds very problematic to the party dynamic. Some groups deal with the conflict well, and others just descend on each other.

I like the social piece way more than the combat stuff. I think inspiration mechanics could have a lot of design room in the other pillars of the game!

I think you might find some push back on auto succeed stuff. I do like engaging the players, and asking them to assist in the narrative, but I also like the game boundaries to be defined.

My ideas?
I could see something like spending inspiration for advice or clues on how to solve puzzles/riddles, get through a maze, find water or shelter in harsh environments etc..

Spend inspiration find a guild, church, order contact to assist in social situations.

I am sure I can think of more but I need to stew on it. I like where you are going though.
The more they make inspiration like Fate points the better.
 

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