Inspiration is an often misunderstood, and perhaps even more frequently forgotten, mechanic in Dungeons and Dragons 5E. So what is this mysterious mechanic? Let our team at Dice Cove be your muse as we break down inspiration.
What Is Inspiration and How Does It Work?
Inspiration is a game mechanic a DM can use to reward a player for roleplaying their character in a way which reflects the bonds, flaws, ideals, and personality traits at character creation. Some examples of this would be: healing a surviving bandit as they’re no longer a threat and all life is precious to you, or perhaps not accepting a lucrative reward from the king for your deeds because the crown destroyed your family.
When you have inspiration, you can use it when you roll for an attack, saving throw, or ability check to give yourself advantage on that roll. You have to choose to do this before you make the roll, after all, you’re giving yourself advantage, not a reroll of the die.
Can You Get Inspiration Any Other Way?
Yes! A player who already has inspiration can give it to another player as a reward, just as the DM can. If you do this, you no longer have that inspiration to use yourself later.
How Many Inspirations Can You Have?
Just the one, you’re either inspired or you’re not, so whilst there’s no expiry time on an inspiration, you’re encouraged to spend it so you’re able to receive another in the future.
My Group Keeps Forgetting Inspiration, Help!
This is a common problem many tables face, it’s a rule that’s buried in the PHB and the DM often has many other things in their head, like which monster next wants to turn your face into tomorrow’s leftovers. Unfortunately, this means the DM may often forget to award it, especially if they’re entranced by that excellent roleplaying they just witnessed. Similarly, players often forget they have inspiration in order to actually use it, which leads to a cycle of the mechanic not getting used and causing people to be more likely to forget about it.
The best solution for this is tokens in physical games, these can be poker chips, faux gold pieces, or even a piece of candy. The DM has this physical thing in front of them, which helps them remember to reward it to begin with. They then physically hand the awarded token, which helps the player remember they have inspiration to spend. When the inspiration gets used, the token is returned to the DM, or even eaten if you’re using candy!
For online games, the same method could be used; using tokens on a virtual tabletop (VTT) which you then drag over to the name of the player that receives it. This has the bonus of not giving your players cavities! Who are we kidding, we want the candy.
Character sheets also often have a space for you to mark if you currently have inspiration as a player, so it’s important to look at your sheet often.
We hope you’ve found this article inspirational and it helps you and your fellow players. If you’ve enjoyed this article, you can check out how concentration works as well. Until next time, good luck, and remember inspiration is all around you, but it doesn’t stack.