[D&D 2097e] Inspiration rules update June 2019! Goodbye Hillfolk spends!

Summer time spring cleaning! Time to look over the insp rules and make them a heck of a lot simpler and closer to the 5e RAW! Sorry Hillfolk!

I already posted this on my blog and our internal campaign website but here I’ll add a bonus chapter before the text starts proper; the what was I thinking design rationale.

So what do I like about insp, what do I want to get out of it, what works about it, what is extraneous or muddy?

  1. I like the “you have a resource to spend before the roll” / Fortune at the End “betting”/“investing”, demonstrates that you care more about certain rolls
  2. I like how the character’s traits and relationships become relevant on the dice layer
  3. I like how you are rewarded for “giving in”. It lets the conversations flow naturally instead of being resolved by a charisma check or w/e.
  4. I like flashlight dropping obv
  5. I didn’t like having to deal with a clunky econ that just breaks down and either chokes or floods. I didn’t like it with Fate, I don’t like it with Hillfolk.
  6. I didn’t like the uncrisp phrasing of how much can you get from a 2-token spend force. “Not necessarily what they asked for but a significant emotional concession” uh…
  7. I didn’t like the super confusing “you pay one but you pay from the bank if you don’t have one but you can only do that for some particular types of spends”; that confusing & unusual interaction happing in tight conjunction with the already confusing “it’s the loser who wins the insp” made it hopeless to remember & learn

So. What has changed.

Economy: gone. Back to what I loved about 5e insp in the first place; it’s a binary predicate state. You have inspiration or you don’t have inspiration. We still use tokens; it reinforces that you can get inspiration even if you already have it. Then as you spend it, you lose it all.

Hillfolky spends: gone. I realized that can keep the same reward state that I wanted since the tokens in 2097e are useful in the procedural layer, unlike Hillfolk proper where procedural tokens and drama tokens are completely separate worlds.

“You pay one”: gone. You always get insp from the bank. The person who gives in gets the insp, just as in Hillfolk. As confusing as that rule is, I’ve kept it. That’s who I want to reward.

Flashlight dropping: explicitly rewarded. However, the idea on here that the other people should get the insp was still interesting. And that also is kind of a consequence of another rule that I now made more implicit: if your party member starts flashlight dropping you can challenge them in conversation. And either you get their insp (if you give in) or they’ll lose the trait. So it’s win/win for you.

Inspiration

Short summary of how to get it

You gain insp from giving in (in conversations), or for letting your fellow party members down.

First of all, grab an insp token so that the rest of us can see what’s going on, then challenge one of your (or someone elses) relationships, traits, ideals, bonds or flaws through a conversation, through an action, or through an inaction or failed action.

Challenging conversation

  1. Look through either your own or someone elses traits, ideals, bonds or flaws, or at a relationship that one of you has, or the relationship between the two of you.
  2. Grab an insp token and place it between the two of you.
  3. Challenge that trait or relationship through conversation.
  4. The insp token goes to the person who gives in.

Be ready to have to deal with the consequences of giving in. If you give in on your own trait, you might lose the trait.

Through action

Grab an insp token.

Show, or tell, how your trait, ideal, bond or flaw leads you to do something that other player characters rely on you to not do.

If this is challenged it can lead to a conversation. In that case, the person who gives in gets the inspiration.

Inaction or failed action

Grab an insp token.

Show, or tell, how your trait, ideal, bond or flaw prevents you from succeeding on something that other player characters rely on you to do.

Sometimes it’s you trying to do the thing but failing (for example you have the flaw “I do sloppy work”). If you already rolled a die, flip the successful d20 to %%1%% and fail. (You don’t gain inspiration if you aready failed on the roll.) If there weren’t a die roll for this particular task, just time spent, then the time is wasted.

Sometimes you just don’t roll. This can be you trying & failing (“I do sloppy work”) or it can be you not even trying (“I refuse to polish the armor of those beneath me”).

If this is challenged it can lead to a conversation. In that case, the person who gives in gets the inspiration.

Who can have it?

Player characters can have insp. NPC insp goes to the DM. So inspiration that a beloved NPC ally of the players get, can be used by the evil hobgoblins against the players.

Using It!

If you have inspiration, you can spend it to impose advantage or disadvantage on any d20 roll. (If you have more than one token, spend them all.)

Keeping It!

You don’t need to keep track of the exact amount of insp tokens you have. You either have inspiration or you don’t. If you end the session with inspiration, you keep it until you use it.

Comments

  • Inspired by @Deliverator 's rule that you can level up through spending insp, I might want to add a house rule that your HP max [and maybe current? unless you were at zero] can go up by one everytime you spend insp.

    Gaining a level and gaining more HP max that way overwrites / "causes you to lose" these gains though. Uh, not sure how to phrase it.

    And also not sure if that'd be too much of a departure from RAW for me.
  • 2097 said:

    if your party member starts flashlight dropping you can challenge them in conversation. And either you get their insp (if you give in) or they’ll lose the trait. So it’s win/win for you.

    That made me smile, pretty neat mechanic.
  • edited June 6
    ♥♥♥ Thanks, Alexander.

    I realized that I don't want the HP boost because I want to keep the insp as a puny & non-commensurate affordance marker.

    However, I realized a ginormous flaw with these new rules. If there is no way to spend insp in dramatic situations, the people with insp will be driven to do more procedural situations. That reward loop isn't necessarily what I want.
  • Interesting stuff! I also like the connection to in game activities, like a conversation. Overall, it seems like a incremental improvement/refinement more than a rewrite, which is cool. I like the attention to the flow of conversation at the table.

    Not sure how trait loss works here at all, though. Can you give an example?

    And what’s “procedural” in this case?

    I’m not sure what you mean by “drama tokens” vs “procedural tokens” or the “procedural layer”... maybe its a Hillfolk thing I’m not familiar with?
  • edited June 6
    A "procedural" scene in Hillfolk is when you try to succeed at something. A "dramatic" is when you want something from someone. (and when you want to succeed at getting something from someone, or that someone grant you success, then it's a dramatic. Hence the name "drama system")
  • Thanx DeReel for stepping in & explaining correctly!♥
  • Paul_T said:

    Not sure how trait loss works here at all, though. Can you give an example?

    Let's say the trait is "I drop flashlights like there's no tomorrow when I'm scared!" and then you might lose that trait and get "OK I'm cowed to bravery but I resent the cleric" or whatever

  • edited June 6
    Oh, I meant in more detail. Your text just says “you might lose the trait,” and I don’t really know what that looks like in the game. An example would help!

    Does every Insp-based conversation lead to one party or the other losing a Trait? How do we decide? How do you get a new one? Etc.
  • Paul_T said:

    Oh, I meant in more detail. Your text just says “you might lose the trait,” and I don’t really know what that looks like in the game. An example would help!

    Does every Insp-based conversation lead to one party or the other losing a Trait? How do we decide? How do you get a new one? Etc.

    This is something I want to nail down! Was gonna do it case-by-case for the first playtesting period. You can add new ones freely (I mean, please do ground them in the diegesis).

    I'm thinking that if your trait is challenged and you don't give in, you keep the trait but the challenger gets the insp.
  • I see! Ok.
  • OK so here is an idea I have… If you have convinced an NPC of your tier of something, you can spend insp to get XP. The insp spent doesn't have any other effect. You need to spend all of it but the more you spend the more xp you get.

    For example you are a level 3 fighter convincing a goblin queen to attack the kobolds (or whatever). You have 4 insp. You can spend it to gain 4×180=720 xp.
  • Interesting idea!

    There’s an affordable angle there, too - for instance, it removes any ambiguity from your negotiations (the goblin queen can no longer pretend to be convinced).

    Would it work on PCs? If so, it could become a
    MAJOR part of play. If you want more dramatic scenes, that would probably have that effect!
  • How about it only works on PCs with a higher level than yourself? Uh just brainstorming here
  • Hold on! I forgot that Robin's orig design intent was to reward giving in, not reward being obstinate and tryna win!!!
  • Otoh… you need to actually spend insp… that you would've gotten by giving in…
  • Yeah, that’s a major problem.

    You could grant XP to the “loser” (the one who gives in) for the Inspiration spent.
  • edited June 6
    Maybe even:

    “I’ve got four Inspiration tokens. If you agree to do this my way, it’s worth 4x(some amount based on my level) to you... will you?”

    Maybe the “pusher” (petitioner, I think?) can decide how much Inspiration to stake.
  • I'll think about it; sounds kind of dice-level though?
  • Isn’t that always the case with all these Hillfolk-style interactions?
  • No, normally they flow very natural and then the loser is rewarded and if (and only if) the "score" becomes very lopsided, someone who has lost a lot can force their way.
  • I like the implication that more “inspired” characters are more convincing. That’s interesting, I think.

    You could inject some “player judgement” into the process by having another party (the GM, the other players, a die roll or criterion) set how much XP each token is worth. Then the argument you’re making matters more - maybe if you’re super smart and convincing, the payout and temptation to give in is bigger, even though it’s still taking your Inspiration level into accountz
  • The pillars table is a good source for xp-per-token values; just need to cook up a good econ
  • 2097 said:

    No, normally they flow very natural and then the loser is rewarded and if (and only if) the "score" becomes very lopsided, someone who has lost a lot can force their way.

    This makes no sense to me. How is giving the loser tokens in Hillfolk different than giving the loser XP based on the tokens?

    They’re pretty much identical, from a clouds-dice standpoint.

    Maybe you feel that the XP is too strong an incentive? I could see that, but it has no bearing on the dice-cloud nature of the rule. It’s the same rule!
  • You normally don't explicitly say things like “I’ve got four Inspiration tokens. If you agree to do this my way, it’s worth 4x(some amount based on my level) to you... will you?”
  • Instead, normally you talk diegetically and then you see what happens and then post-hoc there is a standard exchange of 1 drama token
  • Well, that's just about the table talk. You can adjust that however you want (keep in mind that I don't know what your current standard is, but I see no reason why it would be any different with "gain tokens", compared to "gain tokens, and later convert them to XP"). Your interactions in the scene, at the table, don't have to change.
  • The difference is that you start talking about the dice-level stuff as a bribe or incentive. Whereas in the normal Hillfolk proper rules, that stuff is all unspoken.
  • The way I do it is this : you have a given number of traits. A trait is worth inspiration. When you need inspiration you can wager your trait. As you're so far away from RAW, you can decide on the rules for creatoing, changing, or losing traits.
  • The way I do it is this : you have a given number of traits. A trait is worth inspiration. When you need inspiration you can wager your trait. As you're so far away from RAW, you can decide on the rules for creatoing, changing, or losing traits.
  • The way I do it is this : you have a given number of traits. A trait is worth inspiration. When you need inspiration you can wager your trait. As you're so far away from RAW, you can decide on the rules for creating, changing, or losing traits.
  • 2097 said:

    The difference is that you start talking about the dice-level stuff as a bribe or incentive. Whereas in the normal Hillfolk proper rules, that stuff is all unspoken.

    Yeah: keep your normal flow of conversation, don’t change that. My example wasn’t meant to be prescriptive.
Sign In or Register to comment.