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The Insidious Revisionism of Rerolls


The year is 2024. Four nerds are hunched over a dimly-lit table strewn with books, half-eaten pizzas and polyhedral dice.


Ok, Mina enters the room. Roll a Perception check.




As you enter the dank chamber your torch chases away the darkness before you, but still you fail to notice the danger hiding in the shadows to your right. A huge black shape rushes at Mina with an unholy screech, its voracious jaws snapping and slavering…


Wait! I want to use my Heroic Inspiration to reroll my Perception check.


Ok, then…




Still a failure I’m afraid. You feel an exhalation of fetid breath on your neck and face, as…


Wait! I use Bardic Inspiration to give Mina an additional d6 on the check.

(Rolls die)

Sorry… only a 1 I’m afraid.


So still a failure, but at least Batbayar keeps their Bardic Inspiration. Ok where was I… right the vicious maw lunges at the back of your neck. Whatever it is, it has advantage on the attack roll…


Wait! I cast Guidance on Mina.


What does that do?


You can add a d4 to a failed ability check.


Great! Can someone pass me a d4?


Here you go.


2. So 14 total.


15. Don’t forget the Bardic Inspiration.


Ok, 15, you pass. So… you enter the room and immediately sense the presence of a troll-like creature hiding in the corner. Roll initiative.








Ok, the shadow troll rolls 13. It lunges straight at Mina.


(all together)

Wait! I use the Lucky feat to reroll my Initiative!

The wretched figure, known as the Dungeon Master, wails in torment and runs full pelt towards the open window…

I was going to write a post to go with this little glimpse of D&D’s future but I think I’ve made my point already.

Let me know how you feel about One D&D baking Inspiration (now Heroic Inspiration) deeper into the game and making common abilities like Guidance and Bardic Inspiration reactions. I guess getting rid of the much-hated (by DMs) Lucky feat is unlikely to happen…

There’s obviously lots of other stuff to discuss about what we’ve seen so far from One D&D, so I’ll be back with some more thoughts on what look like the most influential (proposed) changes. So far it’s a mixed bag for me, but I’m excited about the possibilities and hopeful that a mix of playtesting and feedback will deliver the best edition yet of D&D. There’s a way to go though!


Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel: Review & Ratings!


A Little More on Why Heroic Inspiration…


  1. Shawn

    The inspiration and lucky feat must be declared before they know the result or at the point of rolling. If you make it a point to go “I am proceeding to the result.” And if they choose not to use inspiration or lucky before result declaration then tough lesson and they will learn to speak up at your prompting. I do think there’s too much dice manipulation being added, and you can always use your own house rules. At least guidance isn’t spammable like before.

    • duncan

      Yes, you’re quite right, but in my experience it doesn’t play out like that. At best, assuming players take the DM’s rulings with good grace, it still makes DMing a whole lot harder. If you rush out and say what happens after a bad roll you’re being unfair on the players (ie. not giving them a chance to declare a reroll)…. otherwise, is the alternative to leave a pause after every d20 check? How long a pause…?

      In general rerolls and manipulation of rolls force everyone to rewind and revise actions that have already taken place in our imagination (and which sometimes have been outrightly described by the DM…).

      Btw, another DM taught me to see Guidance in another light. It really isn’t that spammable, or even particularly useful, if you take the 1 minute duration into account, along with its other limitations. To use Guidance, as I see it, and as RAW suggests, you basically have to foresee a task (i.e. not a Perception or knowledge check) and that task has to be able to completed within one minute of casting… plus you need to be able to touch the recipient etc. and it can’t be done in a social situation (casting a spell is like drawing a sword, after all).

      When you play it RAW you will struggle to use it even. I feel like its a really commonly misunderstood mechanic (I played it incorrectly myself for years!), which doesn’t need fixing so much as reframing.

  2. Jose

    I would understand one or two of those interruptions… on a good day. The PCs cannot expect to get away with it once you have started describing the consequences of the roll. I think this should be considered by the DM if he/she is dealing with newbies, but experienced players should know better. As a PC, if I try to pull off a, say, precision maneuver with my Battle Master fighter, I know I have to declare it as soon as I see the low roll, and before my DM declares if it hits or not. If I take too long, or I hesitate, I can get a prompt, or not and graciously concede that I missed my chance.

    I think everything will depend on the vibe an mood of each group and DM, in the end. Similar to other book-keeping tasks like keeping tally of spell slots being used, expendable gear etc.

    • duncan

      Hi Jose

      I imagine that most tables will be able to adapt to the added strain of more rerolls and roll manipulation in One D&D, esp. given it does already exist in 5e (most people play Inspiration as a reroll instead of advantage anyhow, plus Cutting Words, Shield etc), however I don’t think it’s a good direction for the game to go in general.

      Re-rolls and reactive dice manipulation carry several negative points into the game, for me.

      Namely they:

      1) Interrupt / slow down the game

      2) Revise what has already been established by the dice (kind of like VAR checking a goal in soccer… which puts the whole stadium on hold, waiting for the official result [which may or may not contradict what they saw live]).

      3) Give players too much control over the narrative, all but guaranteeing them success in key moments

      4) Often strain credibility.

      Regarding the last point, Bardic Inspiration makes more sense when the bard shouts ‘you’ve got this’ and then the recipient attempts something with an increased chance of success, than if the bard sees someone fuck something up and then rewinds history to force them over the line. That breaks immersion for me.

      In fact maybe Bardic Inspiration should be a reaction, but should happen on the attempt (before the dice is rolled), not after. This is less powerful of course, but then you can just give bards more BI, esp. as shouting / being charismatic doesn’t feel like it should be a limited ability anyhow.



      • Jose

        I very much agree. I believe in the end it will be a drag, hence why I said I would allow maybe one, or two of those re-rolls. And pretty much bang on with your 4th point, credibility can go out of the window, really quick.

        Bardic Inspiration as a reaction does not make much sense to me. I like it as it is, a bonus action where the Bard Inspires somebody else. I think it takes away the strategic feeling, like “My Paladin is likely going to the front line against that big Ogre, I will sing a song of Inspiration so he does well in the fray and I fill her/him with confidence” against “Ohhh, my Paladin narrowly missed her/his second attack, so I will sing to her/him, you can do it! while I am here dodging arrows from the baddies archers”. At least that is how I would play it (meaning the first example, not the second).

  3. Juan

    Very good example!
    As a DM, I feel like having to stop after every ‘D20 Test’ is going to negatively impact the flow of the session.
    And if they dont stop and start describing the failure only to get interrupted by a player buffing the roll… then the DM is gonna sound like an asshole if they dont allow it.
    At the end of the day D&D is about having fun with friends so putting those harsh rules on a game that a lot of people like to play casually is a bit of a dick move

    Like you said, I hope it gets properly tested by DMs before it becomes an actual thing, however I doubt it. It seems WotC loves this kind of mechanic (lucky feat, silvery barbs…)

    • duncan

      Yeah, they def. see Reactions as something they can get more mileage out of, but I think they need to be very careful here….

      I haven’t seen Silvery Barbs in play, but it looks both overpowered + fairly annoying, and I have heard many DMs ban it.

      Another reaction-based mechanic, Counterspell is a problem in the game that has been the subject of many think pieces.

      I like reactions that are designed to protect the person being attacked, but when A attacks B and C intervenes (esp. from 60 feet way) things start to get messy.

      Meanwhile (Heroic) Inspiration and Lucky don’t even need a reaction to use.

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