One part of D&D 5e that I have had a lot of trouble incorporating is the inspiration mechanic. While it is an optional rule, it is something that I actively want to include in my games, but I often forget to. That’s why I made up a homebrew rule that we use at my table when I DM called “The MVP Award”. There are a few ways to implement this rule.
The advantage and disadvantage mechanic in D&D 5e is probably my favorite mechanic in the entire edition. It rewards the players and DM to think creatively to gain advantage in unlikely situations. Advantage & disadvantage also streamlines the rules compared to previous editions. Rather than figuring out if fighting while on a tightrope gives you a -2 or -3 to attack, you now know that you have disadvantage.
Advantage and disadvantage have allowed DMs to make rules decisions a lot easier. You either have disadvantage, advantage, or neither when you attempt to do anything in game.
When you have advantage on an ability check, attack roll, or saving throw you will instead roll 2d20 and take the highest roll. Conversely, if you make the same 1d20 roll with disadvantage you roll 2d20 and take the lowest roll.
Inspiration is a mechanic that the DM is able to use to reward players for thinking outside the box, role-playing their character well, or any other reason. When a player has inspiration they may use it to gain advantage on one ability check, attack roll, or saving throw of their choice. A player may only have 1 point of inspiration at a time.
If a player does not wish to use their inspiration they may pass it off to a different player to use provided that player does not have inspiration.
Incorporating inspiration into you game gives you a great way to reward players for going above and beyond your expectations.
The MVP Award is a homebrew rule I came up with to remind to give out inspiration. The MVP Award is awarded to a player by the DM at the end of the session provided they do not presently have inspiration. It’s just like giving someone an MVP Award in sports or a competition. I do use some criteria to help determine what player to give the MVP Award to that session.
- The player went above-and beyond in the session.
- Either in terms of Role-Playing or they had a creative solution for a problem or encounter.
- The player didn’t receive the MVP Award last session
- The player is normally quiet and spoke up more or had more confidence
- Made it a point to help the party or another player in an important situation
You can use any or all of these criteria with this rule. I make it a point to have everyone get the MVP Award at least once before resetting the cycle.
How to Implement It
There are two ways that I’ve found that work with awarding the MVP award. For my games I give it out myself as the DM, however I’m sure that voting on it as a group is also a great solution. The great thing is that if a player does have the award they can pass it off to a different player in the form of inspiration if they so choose.
The award does not have to be awarded at the end of the session either. It could be given at the beginning of the next session as well if you are having trouble making a decision.
The DM will decide who gets the award. Make a mental note of what the group accomplishes for the session and look at who is making a lot of the ideas, or helping the rest of the party out. Tell the party why this player got the MVP Award at the end as a way of showcasing that player’s accomplishments.
For this to work you have to ensure to be impartial and make an effort to not favor a particular player. The group would absolutely notice if you are playing favorites, and that’s not the spirit of the rule.
After the session or before the start of the next session call the MVP Award to a vote. Every player gets a vote and the DM will be the tie-breaker. The players cannot vote for themselves.
Make sure this is not a popularity contest. The players should have a reason for voting for another player!
I like the idea of this method since getting recognized by your peers always feels a lot more genuine. However, it will take a lot more time to vote rather than having the DM select a player.
The MVP Award should not be used to make a competition out of who gets inspiration. Players should also not be begging you or arguing about the award. This is to recognize the players’ accomplishments and reward them for a job well done! You should also feel free to award inspiration during your sessions if the players do something particularly spectacular.
This rule has been a great reminder for me to give out inspiration. It’s also been a great way to encourage my quieter players to get more involved in the game. Additionally it’s helped to reward the more boisterous players to help get the rest of the party involved. I’ve seen a very positive implementation of this rule into our weekly game. I’m confident it will be welcomed at yours!