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I’ve seen Critical Role run their 826LA promotion where they pledged $100 to the charity for every natural 1 they rolled on the show, and I’ve seen Dungeon World’s rule of marking XP on a miss.

I’m planning, next session, on starting a similar practice in my own game: if a player rolls a natural 1 on an attack roll, saving throw, or ability check, they fail as usual but then gain Inspiration to use on a future roll, in order to help them bounce back from their opponents getting a moment of glory.

Has anyone else tried something like this? Did you discover any major pitfalls or caveats to this approach?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Follow-up: At your table, are players allowed to declare their own checks without being prompted by the DM? \$\endgroup\$ – MikeQ Aug 28 '19 at 23:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MikeQ Nope, that usually goes like this: “Can I roll a perception check to—“ “No, you can tell me what you’re doing, I’ll tell you what to roll.” \$\endgroup\$ – Stop Being Evil Aug 28 '19 at 23:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ability checks and saving throws do not necessarily fail on the roll of 1. They're very likely to fail but only for attack rolls the concept of automatic misses exists. How would you be treating features that allow you to replace a roll btw or choose from multiple rolls btw? (advantage, lucky, portent, that one barbarian feat ensuring a min result, ...) \$\endgroup\$ – fabian Aug 29 '19 at 8:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @fabian Most likely it’ll only take effect if the final roll is a nat 1 \$\endgroup\$ – Stop Being Evil Aug 29 '19 at 17:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ "I’ve seen Dungeon World’s rule of marking XP on a miss" — I have to say, "miss" in DW could imply way more severe consequences than getting a natural one in D&D. \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Sep 3 '19 at 13:31
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One balance issue is that this would reward characters who make attacks more than characters that cause saving throws. It would also reward characters with multiattack even more.

Wizard casts fireball? No opportunity for inspiration. Warrior uses extra attack? Multiple opportunities.

As a slight frame challenge, I suggest you use inspiration to instead reward the behavior you want to see at the table. Playing to character flaws, for example. Operating in the tropes of the genre. Exploring the themes of the game.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It might be worth citing the description of inspiration in the rules to support your point about rewarding the behavior you want to see at the table (in particular, it uses playing to character flaws as an example). \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Sep 4 '19 at 5:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry I'm late, but thank you for walking me back from this with a very compelling argument. \$\endgroup\$ – Stop Being Evil Feb 22 at 10:43
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The rules for gaining inspiration specifically state that the DM tells the Players how they can earn inspiration.

Your idea will not break the game, but it will definitely make life easier for the PCs. I, personally, would advise against giving inspiration for non-roleplaying reasons. Inspiration can be used as a great motivation for roleplaying; handing it out for mechanics could rob your players of that extra roleplaying motivation. Imagine this:

Scenario a In an insignificant battle a PC rolls a 1 and gets inspiration
Scenario b A PC roleplays his character to perfection and receives inspiration
Later that session there is an important boss fight and the character uses the inspiration to hit the final blow. Both scenarios work, but the second one probably sounds more appealing to most playing styles.

But in the end it might fit your gaming style. I could see this house-rule make sense for a dungeon crawl-like DM style.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "I'm attacking this stone until I miss" \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Sep 3 '19 at 13:32

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