Spotlight: Musical Inspiration in DnD 5e

I’ve got a lot to say about my exit from social media and how it made me feel, but I don’t have that all sorted out in my brain just yet, so I figured why not just start with some DnD stuff?

The other day I thought of a cool idea for integrating a soundtrack into my DnD game. I originally thought of this as a mechanic for 5e (replacing inspiration), but it might be better suited to a more flexible game like FATE.

Spotlight: Spotlight is a mechanic focused on setting the tone and style of a scene and encouraging players to play accordingly. By working as a reward mechanism that replaces Inspiration, it also encourages role playing.

  • Characters may spend Spotlight points to set the tone and template of a scene through their choice of music. Doing so grants a +1 bonus to all characters for 2 different skill checks, attack rolls, spell casts, or other die rolls for the duration of the scene, as appropriate for the song. Additionally, the character who took the spotlight has advantage on one attack roll and one ability check before the end of the scene.
    • The skills that benefit from the spotlight should be evoked by the chosen song and decided in advance between the player and the GM.
    • When the spotlight point is activated play the song in the background.
  • Characters may not hold more than one Spotlight point, and once a scene is set, no other player may take the spotlight.
    • If there is a Bard in the party, consider letting the Bard spend some Bardic Inspiration dice along with her Spotlight point to seize control.
  • When a spotlight point is spent it goes to the DM who then may use it to set the scene in the future by giving a point to a player. The player characters may never have zero Spotlight points. In the event a players spends the party’s final point it goes to the person on the player to right instead of to the DM.