• Justin Handlin

Top 10 Alternative Ways to use Inspiration in D&D

Updated: Mar 6, 2021

Inspiration is a Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition rule the game 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.

From a mechanic standpoint, it allows you to reroll a d20 at any point with your inspiration point.

In this episode Crit Academy is joined by guest-host and TikTok influencer Game Master Craig. Together we will be discussing our Top 10 Alternative Ways to use D&D5e Inspiration beyond just rerolling a d20.

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Top 10 Alternative Ways to use Inspiration

These tips are in no particular order.

Initiative Break. You can expend an inspiration point to move their order in initiative. So long as they have not already taken a turn this round.

Recharge. You can expend an inspiration point to regain an expended resource or feature that can be used as if you took a short rest.

Shielding. You can expend an inspiration point to roll a number of available Hit Die up to your proficiency bonus. Add your Constitution modifier to that roll and you gain those hit points as temporary hit points. The temporary hit points last for 1 hour.

Surging Strike. You can expend an inspiration point on your turn, you can take one attack action or cast a cantrip with the cast a spell action on top of your regular action and a possible bonus action.

Arcane Recovery. You can expend an inspiration point on your turn to regain some of your magical energy. You can choose expended spell slots to recover. The spell slots can have a combined level that is equal to or less than half your proficiency bonus (rounded up).

Swift Action. You can expend an inspiration point on your turn to take the Dash, Dodge, Disengage or Use Object action for free.

Defensive Warding. You can expend an inspiration point to rally your allies' defenses. When a creature that you can see makes an attack roll or an ability check, you can impose disadvantage on that roll. You must use this after the roll, but before you know the outcome.

Deaths Busy. You can expend an inspiration point to automatically stabilize when making death-saving throws.

I Know a Guy. You can expend an inspiration point when you need a piece of information on an item, monster, location, or person. You know a guy or girl who will have further details regarding how to acquire the information you seek.

But Wait, We Planned for This. You edit the scene by mentioning a way how your character, off-screen, planned ahead and set things up for this exact situation

Unearthed Tips and Tricks! We bring you new and creative content for you to bring with you on your next adventure

Character Concept: GameMaster Craig

Game Master Craig gonna drop us a character of his own making.

Monster Variant:


These unique large humanoid sea dwellers are akin to the massive humpback whale from which their name originates. These brutish creatures don’t often use weapons, instead settling issues with their fists, or tossing the nearest object at their enemy.

Origin: Young White Dragon

Lost Features: Fly, blindsight, ice walk, bite, claw, cold breath

New Features:

Amphibious. The humpback can breathe air and water.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage and the target must succeed on a DC 15 Strength saving throw or be pushed 10 feet away and knocked prone.

Improvised Missile. Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 60/120 ft., one target. Hit: 28 (4d10 + 6) bludgeoning damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 1 Strength saving throw or be pushed 10 feet or knocked prone.

Hydro Blast (Recharge 5-6). The humpback exhales a watery blast in a 30-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw, taking 45 (10d8) bludgeoning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.


Quarrels with Squirrels

The supporting support beams in a local merchant’s shop are being gnawed on by squirrels, it happens almost every year. The proprietor and merchant Igan Rein (M, commoner) has put out a call for someone to deal with the furry pests before his entire shop collapses in on itself. Igan doesn’t offer a traditional reward, instead he offers a permanent shop discount of 10% off his wares. If a character has the Guild Artisan background, it is doubled to 20%. A character who succeeds on a DC 13 Intelligence (Nature) check or is proficient in Woodcarver or Carpenter tools identifies the beams as being made up of cedar. A favorite of silver squirrels (use swarm of poisonous snakes statblock), a pack creature.

This encounter can be resolved by a few different methods. The characters can simply slain the beasts and be done with them. If they use the spell speak with animals or similar magic, they can learn that the squirrels are preparing for a female to give birth. The cedar is the best wood to build their shelter out of. With a successful DC 14 Intelligence (Nature) or Wisdom (Survival) check the characters are able to locate a collection of cedar trees a few days travel away should they decide to help the little critters. They may also choose to help the squirrels relocate their nest to the location of the new cedar trees. Giving them all that they need.

Magic Item:

Smoldering Chain Shirt of Etherealness (Crit Academy Magic Item Generator)

Chain Shirt, Legendary (requires attunement)

While wearing this equipment, wisps of harmless, odorless smoke rise from you. Additionally, while you're wearing this equipment, you can speak its command word as an action to gain the effect of the etherealness spell, which lasts for 10 minutes or until you remove the equipment or use an action to speak the command word again. This property of the equipment can't be used again until the next dawn.

Dungeon Master Tip:

Make New Features a Character RP Moment

When a player character acquires a new significant feature make note of that feature. Then, try to include a bit of character development and flavor when they use it for the first time. For example, when a sorcerer picks up her twinned metamagic feature, this is a significant change to the character. Take a moment to narratively describe the look of surprise on the character's and enemies' faces. A brief smirk appears on the sorcerer’s face, as she has been practicing off-screen for this very moment.

Not only does this add to the combat narrative, but also allows you to shine the light on the player's character choices.

Player Tip: Don’t be a Dick

Arcane Teachings - A Half-Remembered Dream

Sometimes combat isn’t necessary to get information the characters need or maybe they are trying to warn someone of an impending assassination. Either way, some NPCs can be stubborn and difficult to manipulate with just words. Lucky for us, there are other ways to alter their behavior and get them to aid our heroes.

The dream spell is unique in that it allows the characters to communicate in a unique way, via a sleeping target. The best part is that the distance is irrelevant, so long as they are on the same plane as you and it is known to you. Using a dream to influence a person while they are awake is a bit more difficult. Enter the thaumaturgy spell. During the dream you can create noises and sounds throughout the dream. Stalking the person in secret and using thaumaturgy to create the same effect will send a resounding reminder of the dream they had.

Using the dream spell to break the game will never bode well with the DM. However, there are some wonderfully entertaining scenarios that could play out from this spell technique. This combination could help players (and DMs) manipulate ideas, decisions, or attitudes while enhancing roleplay opportunities. Extra points for creativity!

This spell technique can be used in good fun or for darker intentions. It is quite versatile and can be used in non-violent or hostile ways.

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Winner: gemma.l.holliday

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