Aarakocra in Na Essad

As winged creatures used to flying long distances in the storms of the Elemental Plane of Air, the Aarakocra were well suited for surviving their initial moments in the Fire Cavern.  Though rare, the Aarakocra have established a small village in a crevice in the roof of the cavern. The Aerie of Shearwind is protected by the vast range of ooze infested ceiling surrounding it as well as the general inaccessibility of a crack in the roof of the world.
The population hovers around 300 in Shearwind and a few score who trade goods and services with the other peoples of the fire cave.  The original community was founded by a flight of Aarakocra and a Windlord that were hunting for minions of Elemental Evil. Their semi-divine leader was captured by the cavern’s defense mechanisms, but willingly merged with the Guardians when she realized what their mission was. The remainder of the Flight found the cavern that became Shearwind, and began their ages long task of maintaining the integrity of Na Essad.
While the Aarakocra of Na Essad are capable of doing the dance to summon Air Elementals, the fact that their allies can never return to the elemental plane of air means that they are not willing to summon them often. There is a thriving colony of Air Elementals that inhabits the open air spaces of Na Essad because of these summons. The Air Elementals tend to avoid settled regions, but they do tend to follow individual Aarokocra around like curious, invisible puppies. This has proven awkward for bandits who thought a lone Aarokocra to be easy prey.


D&D 5e Inspiration Options

So the Inspiration mechanic is 5th edition’s big mechanical tie in to the new  background system. It is really cool that D&D is including indy game style role playing mechanics (not, you know the first time… 4th Edition had Skill Challenges which came out of Mouseguard.) The problem is that a lot of people don’t use it. DMs don’t use it for various reasons, including not thinking of it and being too grognardy. Players don’t use inspiration, well largely because it is mechanically uninteresting. A player can earn one inspiration point at a time. Then they can, in time of need, spend that point to get advantage on a roll, or give them to other players as “at a boys.” The problem is that advantage is super easy to get, and while it is pretty close to a +3 bonus on a roll, it just doesn’t feel like that big of a thing.

As a GM, one thing you can do is offload the mental effort involved in giving out Inspiration by keeping a stack of chips in the middle of the table and letting players give them to other players whenever they do something they feel warrants inspiration. I’d also let them bank one extra point. It is hard for some players to use their last point of anything.

For the players, I suggest expanding the abilities of inspiration points. Here are some potential uses:

Spend 1 Inspiration Point to
gain advantage on a save, attack roll, or skill check.

remove 1 failed death save

counteract one disadvantage applied to a roll (this allows advantage to function)

Spend 1 point of Inspiration as a bonus action to:

use a limited use class ability one additional time.

regain a spell slot you used within the last round.

spend 1 hit die without taking a short rest

Increase the save DC of the use of one spell by 2.

Overcome one type of Damage Reduction for a single attack or spell casting.

Here’s one that I like any time I have some sort of bennie mechanic:

Spend a single Inspiration point to make a minor true observation about the world. This is  where the players get to do things like add set dressing, create coincidental timings, or run into helpful npcs. For example, an inspiration point could let the pc be standing next to the rope for a chandelier in the castle even though it hadn’t been mentioned previously, or show up in just the nick of time to help an ally they were separated from, or when they return to town, the guard the PC has a friendly relationship with is stationed at the gate, circumventing hassle.