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Jul 18 2014

D&D – Inspiration

So Drew Smith, the MMP’s secret weapon, mentioned he liked the Inspiration mechanic and I wanted to talk about it with you guys a little more. I’m a fan of it but for those who haven’t read it I’ll throw it up here.

Inspiration is a rule the Dungeon Master can use to reward you for playing your character in a way that’s true to his or her personality traits, ideal, bond, and flaw. By using inspiration, you can draw on your personality trait of compassion for the downtrodden to give you an edge in negotiating with the Beggar Prince. Or inspiration can let you call on your bond to the defense of your home village to push past the effect of a spell that has been laid on you.

Gaining Inspiration
Your DM can choose to give you inspiration for a variety of reasons. Typically, DM’s award it when you play out your personality traits, give in to the drawbacks presented by a flaw or bond, and otherwise portray your character in a compelling way. Your DM will tell you how you can earn inspiration in the game.

You either have inspiration or you don’t – you can’t stockpile mulltiple “inspirations” for later use.

Additionally, if you have inspiration, you can reward another player for good roleplaying, clever thinking, or simply doing something exciting in the game. When another player character does something that really contributes to the story in a fun and interesting way, you can give up your inspiration to give that character inspiration

Now I want to look at what this does a little bit. “Inspiration is a reward for roleplaying.

I can get behind that. I like games that push people to play towards their characters, both the positive and negative aspects of them. I’m a fan of games like Fate and Cortex+. Savage Worlds has the benny which can be implemented this way which is cool. Other games have this too, so not original, but I’m more interested in playability than originality, so I think the idea is a positive one.

Your DM will tell you how you can earn inspiration in the game.

I like this. This means a conversation must be had to determine what is going to be important to the game. It provides modularity and customization. The thing I like less about it is it says “the DM will tell you”. I think, and would suggest to the people playing, that you should collectively decide what will garner inspiration at your table.

You either have inspiration or you don’t – you can’t stockpile mulltiple “inspirations” for later use.

Awesome. That means people should use it and then work towards gaining it again. In play this should mean that Roleplaying will move to the forefront because there is a tangible reward for doing it and the reward doesn’t suck and yet is not “game breaking”

Additionally, if you have inspiration, you can reward another player for good roleplaying, clever thinking, or simply doing something exciting in the game

Awesome once again. It’s a mechanic that encourages us to not just be engaged in the game but to help engage others in what is happening at the table. It looks like a simple mechanic but it could be a powerful tool for play for all the players at the table (I’m including the DM as a player here)

In total I’m a pretty big fan of the Inspiration mechanic and can’t wait to see how it works at the table. It should help promote a storytelling environment and make the bits on your character sheet come to the forefront more often. More important, if you don’t want it in your game just leave it out. That’s what this new version of D&D is all about. So those are my thoughts on Inspiration. What are yours?

We’re having a discussion over on the Misdirected Mark Facebook page about this right now. Want to be a part of it. Just come on over and ask to join the group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/271946122876896/730597237011780/?notif_t=like

 

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