[RPG] Giving inspiration after a nice night of sleep and good food


With my current group we have 2 lifestyles. One is always sleeping in the muddy stables and the rest of the group are usually taking the most expensive rooms available, eating fresh meat and drinking wine and good mead. So far, the only difference between the two is the cost and there's no real reason to choose one over the other and I'd like to change that. Some players considered dropping their lifestyles to save a couple of coins. I feel like spending gold on your stay, enjoying good food and music at the tavern should have an impact on your morale, general health and make you a more capable adventurer in the long term.

I'm not sure how to proceed. I see 3 ways:

  1. Awarding inspiration to those who gets quality sleep, bath and food
  2. Circumstantial disadvantages for sleeping in stables (smell, bad sleep, bad recovery etc.)
  3. A mix of the two

I'm not sure about the unforeseen consequences of enforcing this. I talked to my players about it and of course the majority is on board but the other player (the greedy one) is against it. He says it would turn his character's background into a burden (life of modesty).

I just want to properly model the consequences of his choices. I don't want to punish him, but I want to make it clear that if you show up in a meeting with a noble after sleeping in the stables and adventuring for 2 weeks in your sweaty clothes, you won't make a good impression. Also, I want to reward players who invest gold, time and roleplay downtime in the tavern.

What would be the best option? Any alternative suggestion?

Best Answer

Generally, I think you're on the right track to try to enforce some mechanical consequence to the choice of lifestyle.

I think the right choice is to use the second option more often than not. In specific circumstances (especially in social interactions), certain kinds of lifestyles should grant advantage or institute disadvantage. For instance, if you're a stable sleeper, and have to go in front of the Lord of the Town, you're likely to have disadvantage on all your checks. But the inverse is also true, if you're a hotel dormer, and don't make allowances, you're going to have disadvantage with the slumlords etc.

Again, I would make sure there are opportunities for him to...essentially pay...to remove some of this. For instance, if he's been slumming it for a few weeks, he could go to a bath house, pay a GP or two to get a good bath and get cleaned up. I might still harm him if rumors are floating about, but at least he'd look like he was supposed to be there. In other words, it shouldn't be a mechanical penalty that is permanent or robs the player of his agency. Just one that he has to work around occasionally.

As far as awarding inspiration, this should be very much tied to the BIFT (Bonds Ideals Flaws Traits) of each character rather than anything specific to their lifestyle. However, if they are (for good reason) entering a lifestyle that is in character, but conveys some kind of situation disadvantage (for instance, a Hermit staying in the woods, even if it means he misses something important in town).

Basically, inspiration is a reward for taking consequences for staying in character. So if your PC, within their character, decides to slum it, but then has disadvantage with the town noble the next day. That's actually cause to award inspiration, rather than the converse (rewarding them with inspiration for living an out of character lifestyle).