D&D House Rule: the Plot Twist

Image Copyright Wizards of the Coast

Image Copyright Wizards of the Coast

Since I started playing 5e I’ve been wanting to find a way to bring something similar to Numenera’s GM Intrusion mechanic into the game. I finally came up with a system I’m happy with, and I've begun play testing it.

My new house rule for D&D, which I’m calling a Plot Twist, will use the Inspiration mechanic. I am making the following alterations to Inspiration.

  • You may have more than one Inspiration. The maximum number of points of Inspiration you can have is equal to your proficiency bonus. So a first level character can have up to two Inspiration points.
  • Inspiration use can be declared after a roll is made, but before the results are announced. This effectively lets you roll another d20.
  • You can spend as many Inspiration points on a roll as you can afford. E.g. you’re attacking an ogre. You roll a 6. You spend one Inspiration to roll another d20, and you roll an 8. You spend another Inspiration to roll another d20, you roll an 18. You hit!
  • You can spend your Inspiration to aid another player’s roll. You must give an in-story explanation of how this works.
  • I’m considering allowing Inspiration to be use to reroll any roll in the game, just like in Numenera. I’d love feeback on this idea. This would mean you could reroll damage, or force me to reroll a roll.

In addition to allowing a reroll (or giving you another d20, however you want to look at it), Inspiration also has the following uses:

  • Declare you have a piece of mundane (non-magical) equipment that isn’t on your character sheet.
  • Declare a story element, up to DM approval.
  • Turn a Death Save failure into a success.
  • Cancel Disadvantage on a roll.

The Plot Twist works very similar to the GM Intrusion in Numenera. The DM proposes a complication to the story that will impact your character. You can accept or refuse the Plot Twist. If you accept, you will gain 2 Inspiration points. You keep one and give one to another player and give a reason. The Plot Twist then becomes true and happens. If you reject the Plot Twist, you must spend one Inspiration point to do so. This is one instance where another player can’t spend Inspiration for you.

I actually like this better than how GM Intrusions work in Numenera because this system is completely unrelated to experience points and advancement. Unlike in Numenera, the DM doesn't have to fulfill a quota of Plot Twists. She can do them when they're appropriate and she's inspired, but she doesn't have to feel like she has to do a certain number (or any) in a given session.

If you have any thoughts or opinions on this, I‘d love to hear them.