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.

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