A review copy of “Inspiration 2.0” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using my affiliate links and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Ken Carcas

Inspiration is a clever tool in D&D 5e that awards players a free re-roll for doing whatever the DM deems rewardable: an awesome kill, a clever plan, or stellar role-playing.

Inspiration 2.0 adapts the Fortune Cards system from D&D 4e, transforming the bonus cards into Inspiration rewards. The result is a player-focused Inspiration supplement that feels unnecessarily restrictive.

I’m unfamiliar with 4e’s Fortune Cards. They were apparently an ill-fated attempt to inject Magic: The Gathering-style CCG elements into D&D, by selling booster packs of cards with various bonuses. Yeesh.

Adapting these cards as a replacement for Inspiration isn’t a bad idea, though I never thought the free re-roll needed changing in the first place.

Here’s how it works:

The DM prints out and shuffles together all 27 cards included in the supplement, then deals three cards to each player at the start of the session.

I already see a red flag: we’re taking away the DM’s ability to reward players on-the-fly, which is the whole point of Inspiration! I suppose if you hate awarding Inspiration during a session, this could be a decent alternative.

Everyone can select one or two cards. If they choose one, the rest are discarded, but if they choose two, the DM gets to select the remaining card for their own use. A nice bit of risk-reward, and fun decision for the players.

The designer includes several variants for dealing and playing cards, including separating the three types of cards (Offense, Defense, Utility) into different stacks and dealing one from each stack, or letting players choose all three cards, but with used cards then going to the DM! What’s good for the goose…

inspiration cards

Each card can be used in one of two ways. A player can always use the back of the card to simply gain the normal benefit of Inspiration: a free re-roll. This is also the only way a DM may use a card.

The other method is to use the unique bonus on the card. Bonuses include extra damage, changing an incoming critical hit into a normal hit, gaining a free Disengage action, or taking less falling damage.

Most of them are explicitly tied to combat. Of the three categories, only Defense offers bonuses that are actually better than the more standard re-roll, such as gaining +4 AC for a round (though only if you didn’t attack), or gaining free Dodge or Disengage actions.

Some of the cards include their own risk and reward rolls. The designers specifically mentions years of playtesting, but it still seems bad to use a special bonus card and roll a die only to be penalized for a whole turn.

I’m no graphic design artist, but the cards themselves could use a bit more work. The card back is the same as the cover art, which is a bit much, while the tiny, plain font detracts from the card’s aesthetic. All the color makes them the opposite of printer-friendly, too.

If you’re a combat-focused DM who finds normal Inspiration boring or overpowered, Inspiration 2.0 could be a decent alternative. But it lacks in the one area I wanted an inspiration supplement to expand upon: tools and tips for DMs! Suggestions on how and when to award Inspiration, and more personalized rewards and bonuses.

I guess I’ll have to wait for Inspiration 3.0.

Pros:

  • Includes 27 printable Inspiration cards.
  • Option to use the specific card, or the original advantage system.
  • Optional variants for dealing, choosing, and organizing Inspiration cards.

Cons:

  • Turns Inspiration into automatic, randomized bonuses, rather than DM-granted rewards.
  • Many of the new bonuses are redundant with normal Inspiration.

The Verdict: Based on Fourth Edition’s fortune cards Inspiration 2.0 transforms the normal inspiration advantage into more tactically interesting options, but remains player-focused rather than DM-focused.

A review copy of “Inspiration¬†2.0” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using my affiliate links and pledging via Patreon.