I think this is a popular element from many non-D&D rpgs. Some of them reward XP and other bennies if you play into faults and stay true to characters and play out difficult situations.On a side note, I don’t get the push for earning Inspiration on a Nat 1. I would think people would be more inspired by overwhelming success than by abject failure. If anything, rebounding after abject failure wouldn’t be Inspiration, it would be Determination. Another idea just came to me: If DMs are worried about their players hoarding Inspiration, they can always change it so that a Nat 20 grants Inspiration, but a Nat 1 takes Inspiration away. That would certainly incentivize players to “use them before they lose them.”
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.
Some good ideasOne 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:
Inspiration Gained from your Party's Bonds
- 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 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:
Spend Inspiration on Cool Stuff
- 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.
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:
What are your best Inspiration ideas? I'd like to be...Inspired.
- 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.