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


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the Jester

Legend
I guess I'm in the vast minority in that all the 5e games I have run or played in see inspiration used a lot. I think typically we see it happen multiple times per session. Probably like six.

Anyway, I like the idea of promoting more use of inspiration. I don't like the playtest's "roll a 20, gain inspiration" AT ALL. That's.... no. If anything, I'd grant inspiration on a natural 1.

So here's what I would do to get more inspiration flowing in groups that don't tend to use it. First, I'd have more explicit guidelines on awarding it. For example, I might say that you should grant a player inspiration:
  • When the player roleplays their character in a way that is true to the character's established personality, but contrary to their interests (for example, an honest character who admits the party is trying to infiltrate a castle to the guards).
  • When the character completes a quest, accomplishes a goal, or fulfills a personal mission that doesn't involve danger and thus isn't worth xp.
  • When the player "lubricates the game" (i.e. makes it run smoother- perhaps by bringing snacks, giving another player a ride, taking notes, being the party treasurer, mapping, etc).
  • When the player makes a piece of art, an in character document such as a journal entry or poem, etc.

The other thing I'd do (and I do do, in my own games) is have more stuff that ties in to inspiration: spells and magic items that let you use it in different ways, subclasses that modify how it works for you, feats that interact with it, etc.

The combination of explicit guidance and multiple in game prods that modify it would probably push a lot more groups into remembering about it.
 

MarkB

Legend
I'm hoping, and expecting, to see more ways to both gain and spend inspiration integrated into the classes. A few possibilities:
  • Switch out Bardic Inspiration in favour of just granting regular Inspiration.
  • Double down on this with Bards, give them extra ways of gaining, spending and passing on Inspiration - like, their Inspiration Range is doubled to 19-20, or they can spend their Inspiration as a reaction to let an ally re-roll a failed test.
  • Barbarians gain Inspiration when they rage if they don't have it, and can spend it to maintain their rage if they would otherwise have to drop it. Killing a foe grants them Inspiration.
  • Spending Inspiration can be substituted for a Ki point, sorcery point or superiority die if the character has expended all of theirs.
  • Spellcasters gain Inspiration if an opponent rolls a natural 1 on a saving throw they impose.
  • Fighters gain Inspiration if an attacker rolls a natural 1 on an attack against them.
I'm trying to think of a good option for rogues, but in most circumstances their best use of Inspiration is to gain advantage or negate disadvantage in order to sneak attack, and anything else feels like it would take away from that.
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
I guess I'm in the vast minority in that all the 5e games I have run or played in see inspiration used a lot. I think typically we see it happen multiple times per session. Probably like six.

Anyway, I like the idea of promoting more use of inspiration. I don't like the playtest's "roll a 20, gain inspiration" AT ALL. That's.... no. If anything, I'd grant inspiration on a natural 1.

So here's what I would do to get more inspiration flowing in groups that don't tend to use it. First, I'd have more explicit guidelines on awarding it. For example, I might say that you should grant a player inspiration:
  • When the player roleplays their character in a way that is true to the character's established personality, but contrary to their interests (for example, an honest character who admits the party is trying to infiltrate a castle to the guards).
  • When the character completes a quest, accomplishes a goal, or fulfills a personal mission that doesn't involve danger and thus isn't worth xp.
  • When the player "lubricates the game" (i.e. makes it run smoother- perhaps by bringing snacks, giving another player a ride, taking notes, being the party treasurer, mapping, etc).
  • When the player makes a piece of art, an in character document such as a journal entry or poem, etc.

The other thing I'd do (and I do do, in my own games) is have more stuff that ties in to inspiration: spells and magic items that let you use it in different ways, subclasses that modify how it works for you, feats that interact with it, etc.

The combination of explicit guidance and multiple in game prods that modify it would probably push a lot more groups into remembering about it.
I think that is the rub, some groups do this naturally, and others need system assistance. The vague triggers can be arbitrary and seen as "mother may I" type play. I like the inspiration on 20 roll because its a rare, but tangible trigger. I also like getting inspiration on a 1 roll too.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
One thing I like about the direction 1D&D is going in is that it is putting it more in the hands of the player, rather than relying on the DM to award. I don't like making it part of your "build," (no race/class/feats should inherently grant it, I think) but I love the idea of having a player say "I do this to get Inspiration."

It is so easy to forget this on the DMs side. I like it when the player provokes it.

That's part of why playing to flaws and sins and beliefs works so well. The player basically is like "I am doing this thing to get Inspiration. Gimmie." YES! Give them a button they can press to get it.

"I am a human" or "I have this feat" or "I have this class feature" or "I rolled a 20" aren't super engaging or active buttons.

"I had a moment of weakness and gave into my RAGE" is a much juicier button.

I also like how the idea of "Inspiration on a nat 1" mirrors the "Inspiration for flaws" idea in that it's something you get for not being optimal. For putting character or chance ahead of success. For doing something that makes the game better but makes you "weak." That's a nice vibe.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I think that is the rub, some groups do this naturally, and others need system assistance. The vague triggers can be arbitrary and seen as "mother may I" type play. I like the inspiration on 20 roll because its a rare, but tangible trigger. I also like getting inspiration on a 1 roll too.
To be fair, a lot of players seem to think that anything more involved than shouting a skill and throwing a die and just winning is labeled "mother may I" style play. They're clearly wrong so it's not an "argument" that's worth taking seriously.
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
To be fair, a lot of players seem to think that anything more involved than shouting a skill and throwing a die and just winning is labeled "mother may I" style play. They're clearly wrong so it's not an "argument" that's worth taking seriously.
Thats not fair at all, then again, you don't really care obviously with this posting. That is fine, but designers don't have the luxury of telling folks to go screw themselves because they don't like their playstyle.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Thats not fair at all, then again, you don't really care obviously with this posting. That is fine, but designers don't have the luxury of telling folks to go screw themselves because they don't like their playstyle.
Sigh. Okay. How do you define mother may I style play? Because near as I can tell, with almost 40 years playing RPGs, the referee's main job is to act as interface to the world for the players...which regularly includes telling the players what their characters can and cannot do. It's only an incredibly negative and adversarial reading of this interaction that can possibly result in calling it "mother may I," i.e. a player who cannot stand being told no actually being told no.
 

Sir Brennen

Legend
It sounds like people are talking about making Inspiration similar to Bennies in Savage Worlds. In that system, you have Hindrances (Honest, Blood-thirsty, One Eye, etc.). Taking them gives you initially more points to build your initial character. Then having them come up in play earns you Bennies. I rule they actually have to cause you an issue in game for it to be worth a reward, though. If you're Gluttonous, just saying "I scarf down a whole roasted chicken" isn't Benny worthy if it's at the camp site with your PC friends who are used to your habits. But if you do it at a fancy dinner in front of the count you just met and are going to negotiating a favor with, well that's a different story.

I think some consideration should be given to how much of a boost it would be to give Inspiration to players more frequently and allow them to accumulate more than one (equal to proficiency bonus maybe?) Savage Worlds, the odds are often against the PCs when they're trying to make a roll, but Bennies help off-set that. Chances of success in 5E are generally more in the player's favor, so what would frequent Inspiration do to the game balance in that case?

As far as getting players to use Inspiration, we pretty much play it as it allows a re-roll. Because people usually forget to declare they want Advantage beforehand, being conditioned to just grab the dice and roll when they hear "Give me a Saving Throw" or "Make your Attack Roll". However, it is only a re-roll, not Advantage, so it's a little bit of a nerf.

If one were allowed to have more than one Inspiration at a time, perhaps some uses of it might cost more? 1 point allows a re-roll. 2 points allow a re-roll with Advantage. Damage could be re-rolled at a cost equal to 1/2 the dice being re-rolled (round up).
 

edosan

Adventurer
I love the thought behind inspiration, stealing from Fate or Savage Worlds the idea that you can gain a future mechanical advantage by role playing to your weaknesses but in practice it’s just another thing I have to keep track of (assuming the players bothered to make up interesting bonds or traits). Also since you only get one precious inspiration point, my players tend to hoard then forget them. I think if we could make inspiration more player-driven it might solve those problems.

For me, the first easy fix is to do what most tables do as a house rule anyway - let inspiration be a re-roll instead of rolling with advantage. It’s always a letdown when you spend your one inspiration point to roll a seventeen and a sixteen.

The YouTuber DM Scotty had a thing called “luck dice” - a pool of D6s that he would give out as a variety of things, from role playing to failing a skill check and some other stuff I can’t remember right now - and I’m thinking about using that next time instead of inspiration because that seems like it wouldn’t be prone to hoarding like one point of inspiration tends to be, plus it feels more fun to give out a lot of little rewards as opposed to the occasional big one.
 
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