Friday, December 5, 2014

Why I Don't Care for Dungeons and Dragons (5e) Inspiration System

I've come to realize that while I enjoy the new edition of Dungeons and Dragons (5e), I'm feeling less than inspired by its new inspiration system. The inspiration system is meant to encourage creative role-playing by having a player utilize a series of predetermined backgrounds, flaws, traits, and bonds on his or her character sheet. The GM will then determine whether or not a player has sufficiently played to his/her character's strengths and/or weaknesses and award them an "Inspiration Point".

The player can then use this inspiration point to make any one roll with "Advantage". The player rolls 2 d20 and takes the better of the two rolls. The problem I have with the system is that it's very subjective, and it's left to individual DMs to decide when a player has earned inspiration... and that fact leaves me with a bad taste for this rule.

I have played in two Fifth-Edition D&D games so far and it seems (to me) that while not necessarily intentional, game-masters have a tendency to play favorites. What I mean is that some players receive boons rather consistently, while others do not. If you're not a very verbose player (like myself), you end up watching as other players who are very vocal and animated get inspiration point after inspiration point.

I feel that I have contributed to the various games I have participated in very meaningful and substantial ways; I consistently use my skills to aid the party, and role play my character's background and flaws when and where I feel that they are appropriate. However, it would seem that my efforts and contributions are not valued (or just overlooked) by the game-masters I have sat across from. I realize that GMs are people too, and are far from perfect- they have many tasks to manage during the game, and awarding inspiration points is probably not something they give much consideration to.

This doesn't change the fact not receiving inspiration points when one feels that they have contributed to the game session really sucks. I feel that there needs to be a more codified system for the awarding of inspiration points, but just what that would look like is still something that needs work.