Let's say one of my players comes up with an ingenious idea. It's fun, it's creative and it makes sense for their character. I want to reward them and inspiration is the obvious choice. But then they try to execute the idea and, maybe due to a bad roll, it unfortunately fails. Do I still get to give them inspiration?

I thought this was obvious but I am not looking for an explanation of what inspiration is. I know that. I am asking what you would do if an inspiration-worthy idea goes pear shaped.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm glad you found my answer useful and very pleased that you accepted it. But I wanted to mention that it's common practice on this stack to hold off on accepting an answer for ~24 hours in order to encourage more answers. Some users are less likely to answer questions that already have accepted answers, and we may miss out on some good insights. \$\endgroup\$
    – Upper_Case
    Aug 28, 2019 at 21:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JohnP While it is very similar subject-matter, this question is more specific, and addresses "good idea"/"failed implementation". \$\endgroup\$ Aug 28, 2019 at 21:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JohnP: For a question to be marked as a duplicate, it's not enough for the answers to be similar/relevant; the question itself should be the same, or one should be a subset of the other. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Aug 29, 2019 at 2:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @pttg: Are you asking whether you are allowed to do this, whether you should do this, or something else? (Note that we can't really tell you what you "should" do, as that's entirely a matter of opinion in this case, though we might be able to tell you whether there would be negative or unexpected consequences to doing so.) \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Aug 29, 2019 at 2:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ Heck, you could even give them the Inspiration right when they make the bad roll that scuppers the plan -- just in time for them to use it on that very roll. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 6, 2019 at 15:09

2 Answers 2


If you're the DM, you can give inspiration for anything you want. But dice roll results are probably not what you want to encourage here.

Obviously the DM is in charge of everything at the table, up to and including overruling any published rule or detail from any official or unofficial source. But inspiration is even more explicitly under your control.

Ultimately, inspiration is a reward for playing in a way that the DM likes. If one of your players comes up with an idea that is creative and true to their character, as described in your question, I would award inspiration on the spot. For me, what earns the inspiration is the player thinking like their character and engaging with the game enough to come up with a clever idea.

Execution of the idea is irrelevant to the gameplay features I care about, and dependent on dice. Inspiration is not meant to be a randomly awarded prize. I would want to reward the player's approach to the game and creativity, and not the outcome of an arbitrary roll.

In response to Chronocidal's excellent point:

Possibly give them the inspiration when they start to enact the idea (but before they roll any dice!), or when the party agree to enact it? You don't want everyone to just sit in the pub trying to "come up with ideas" all night without actually doing anything...

It's not good to let players game an approach like this. My ideal situation would be players coming up with a clever idea, taking concrete steps towards it, and then having an inspiration die to help actually pull it off.

As novel example, I play tabletop games with a lot of people that like to min-max stats and experiment with optimized builds. But that's at the metagame level, and has nothing to do with the in-game behaviors that I particularly appreciate.

So my players won't get inspiration for taking an off-the-shelf build and playing it with a mathematical eye. However, if one of these players makes a suboptimal decision in-game (or even an outright error, given meta-knowledge) because it is true to their character or deepens the game in some way, I very well might award inspiration even though that choice makes "success" less likely.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Possibly give them the inspiration when they start to enact the idea (but before they roll any dice!), or when the party agree to enact it? You don't want everyone to just sit in the pub trying to "come up with ideas" all night without actually doing anything... \$\endgroup\$ Aug 29, 2019 at 12:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Chronocidal That's a very good point, I've expanded my answer a bit. \$\endgroup\$
    – Upper_Case
    Sep 4, 2019 at 0:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Upper_Case: Rather than simply referencing/responding to comments (which can be deleted at any time), you should edit your answer to stand alone. If you want to reference a comment, you should quote/summarize what the comment says. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Sep 4, 2019 at 9:24

From the DMG p240:

... inspiration should make the game more enjoyable for everyone. Award inspiration when players take actions that make the game more exciting, amusing, or memorable ...

As the DM, you are free to award Inspiration for whatever you see fit.

There is no guidance for handing out inspiration for "ingenious ideas", but I feel it would be a proper use of this mechanic.

It follows the guidance that Inspiration should:

encourage roleplaying and risk-taking.

So the plan fails? That's what "risk-taking" means! It's not a risk if it always succeeds!

Give them their Inspiration Point!


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