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Inspiring Leader Says:

choose up to six friendly creatures (which can include yourself) within 30 feet of you can can see or hear you and can understand you. Each creature gains temporary hit point equal to your level + your Charisma modifier.

It seems to me that mindless Skeletons and Zombies would be immune to this sort of buff. However I can't seem to find any rule for that in 5E.

Is there any reason for Inspiring Leader not to affect your zombies and skeletons?

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Yes, it will affect them

The only requirement in Inspiring Leader is that the creatures

can see or hear you and who can understand you

Both Skeletons and Zombies can see and hear, and, if they were able to speak Common in life, they most likely can understand you as well. To the best of my knowledge, nothing stops any of them from getting Temporary Hit Points (nothing stating so in p. 198 from the PHB, at least, and nothing in the monsters' stat blocks either). I won't quote the section entirely to back it up because it's rather large. It's part of the SRD though so you can read it, e.g., in the roll20 site.

Therefore, they are allowed to get temporary hit points, and they satisfy the criteria for Inspiring Leader, thus, it should affect them.


A quick note on its usefulness: with their subpar AC, temporary hit points are not amazing on such creatures anyway, so I don't see how allowing it is imbalanced in any way, although you can argue it is weird in terms of flavor.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Regarding your last paragraph... the quote in the question leaves out the (almost irrelevant) restrictions on the ability... It only takes ten minutes, and while the same creature cannot have THP from Inspiring Leader more than once per rest, the feat can be used as often as you'd like. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Jul 24 '20 at 18:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @T.J.L. Oh I see what you mean. Inside a dungeon I think 10 minutes is a lot, but I see the point of basically being extra THP to the creatures you summon. Well, I still don't see it as a problem, tbh. \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Jul 24 '20 at 18:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @T.J.L. I have edited it to simply say "amazing" instead of "best spent", as you are not necessarily "spending" anything, which I believe was the point of your comment. \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Jul 24 '20 at 18:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, that's what I was getting at. If you have the time, it has near zero opportunity cost, so why not use it. I actually played through DMM with a Necromancer who had it - we listened to him drone on about Thayan superiority for ten minutes (usually over breakfast), then let him talk to his undead buddies for another ten after that. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Jul 24 '20 at 20:59

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