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

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I have Inspiration used all the time. One hosue rule, and bit of social expctations.

House rule: Inspiration can grant a reroll, instead of Advantage.

Results: Whenever you have something bad happen, you reach for it. It's not a "oh I should have used it". Makes players remember they have it.

Expectations change: Players can nominate another player for inspiration to the DM.

Results: It's no longer the DM trying to juggle everything and reememeber ~25 traits and such for the whole party. So it gets remembered to be handed out much more often.

We've been using these minor changes for years across several groups and they make Inspiration a regular and important part of play. No need to anything heavy mechanically.
 

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clearstream

(He, Him)
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. :)
Replace XP with inspiration.

Once a character has spent a given number of inspiration points, they level up.

It's in conflict with game direction like the human racial trait, so that would need adjusting.
 


rules.mechanic

Craft homebrewer
I have Inspiration used all the time. One hosue rule, and bit of social expctations.

House rule: Inspiration can grant a reroll, instead of Advantage.

Results: Whenever you have something bad happen, you reach for it. It's not a "oh I should have used it". Makes players remember they have it.

Expectations change: Players can nominate another player for inspiration to the DM.

Results: It's no longer the DM trying to juggle everything and reememeber ~25 traits and such for the whole party. So it gets remembered to be handed out much more often.

We've been using these minor changes for years across several groups and they make Inspiration a regular and important part of play. No need to anything heavy mechanically.
Inspiration grants a reroll. And you can take a level of exhaustion to gain inspiration (esp with the new 10 levels of cumulative exhaustion)
 



rules.mechanic

Craft homebrewer
Are you referring to Level Up or your own homebrewed 10 level exhaustion track.
The 10 level exhaustion track is the one in this latest One D&D UA (although exhaustion levels above 5 are pretty tough going!), although it's similar to what Horwath has championed for a while and to what I've used in my own homebrew. I liked Blue's comment about Inspiration being used more if it was a reroll rather than advantage. And to build on that, I think it would be great to make use of the new exhaustion track to buy Inspiration with an exhaustion level (which then approximates our own homebrew rules for over-exertion that we call Heroic Exertion).
 

edosan

Adventurer
I like the “trade exhaustion for inspiration” and I might have to try it out…

So here’s what I’ve started using in my new campaign and my players seem to like it - instead of traditional inspiration I’m using what I call Hero Dice which is my riff on DM Scotty’s Luck Dice.

Everyone got two Hero Dice at the start of the campaign which come from a massive pool of six siders I keep in the center of the table. A player can roll a Hero Die (or multiple) to give them that much of a bonus to pretty much any situation in which they roll dice: attack, damage, skill checks. (You can also give another player dice to roll) Once that die is rolled it’s gone and it goes back in the bowl. If you roll a Nat 1, you can’t spend dice to get out of a crit fail - more on that in a second.

You can earn more dice either by doing something amusing or cool (I have a player that makes a drawing based on the night’s events so she always earns one for that) or also by rolling a Nat 1 on a D20 roll. I wanted to base it on BIFTs but in practice that’s a lot more stuff I have to keep track of (and some of my players didn't flesh out their BIFTs as much as I’d like).

Anyway, it’s a work in progress and they seem to enjoy the new rules. They actually remember to use the dice and don’t hoard them and forget them like they did with inspiration.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
(I have a player that makes a drawing based on the night’s events so she always earns one for that)

I was in a game with a player…a professional illustrator…who did that. The next day we would all receive ~5ish comics summarizing the previous day’s session. It was one of the coolest RPG things I’ve ever experienced.
 

rules.mechanic

Craft homebrewer
They actually remember to use the dice and don’t hoard them and forget them like they did with inspiration.
This is a big plus and I've also seen people get given out an Inspiration d20 in the same way. Your Hero Dice is similar to the Hero Points option in the DMG so should work well (we have a variant, Heroic Effort, which uses your Hit Dice instead). I wonder how much of a playtest we'll get for the interesting optional rules that go into the 6e DMG?
 

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