A Tabaxi Warlock digs deep to call on the otherworldly power of his patron to exude a powerful charisma that fills the other party members with a fierce determination that imbues them with abnormal strength. A gnome paladin pulls on her deep faith and preaches the power of good versus evil, swelling up the hearts of the heroes…even the roguish bard to feel the warmth of divine providence. The barbarian/fighter yells freedom in a questionable north European accent and they feel an infusion of life as they charge.
Although it comes in many forms, the speech of an inspiring leader can be a powerful boon to a 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons adventuring party.
Not to mention the potentially AWESOME cinematics or potential for quirky gameplay.
Inspiring leader is an underrated 5E feat that offers up to a 25 temporary hit point bonus given to up to 6 creatures based on a player’s level and charisma modifier. This can include themselves, party members, or even mounts, animals, NPCS, or familiars. For charisma-based characters this can be an incredibly strong feat.
When should your character take inspiration leader and when should he/she go for the strong silent leadership style? Read on for a full breakdown of this feat to learn more!
Breaking Down the Inspiring Leader Feat
Let’s start with the 5E Inspiring Leader feat as written in the book and then break down each section more thoroughly.
Directly from the Player’s Handbook:
Prerequisite: Charisma 13 or higher
You can spend 10 minutes inspiring your companions, shoring up their resolve to fight. When you do so, choose up to six friendly creatures (which can include yourself) within 30 feet of you who can see or hear you and who can understand you. Each creature can gain temporary hit points equal to your level + your Charisma modifier. A creature can’t gain temporary hit points from this feat again until it has finished a short or long rest.
That sounds like a powerful feat, and it holds up.
Benefit #1: Choose up to 6 friendly creatures within 30 feet who gain temporary hit points from your inspirational speech equal to your level + charisma modifier.
This is one of the few feats that has only one benefit, but it explains it all. The friendly creatures can be party members, animal friends, summoned Fey friendly to the group, random NPCs – as long as they are friendly to the group you can give them a boost!
This is a pretty major boon no matter what level your character is at, especially because it scales. If you have a level one party, this feat at level one would be a bit of an unusual pick but it would deliver a few temporary hit points (likely 4 for a CHR-based character at level one – which is over half the HP many have).
At high levels like a level 20 epic campaign that’s likely 25 or 26 HP…which is nothing to sneeze at!
The fact that boost happens to up to 6 creatures means over 100 temporary hit points and that is a lot of additional power to any given adventuring party!
5E Classes That Should Take the Inspiring Leader Feat
The inspiring leader feat can work with many different classes, but those with Charisma as a primary attribute or the Fighter who has many extra ability score improvements, all make sense.
Bards and Paladins even make sense thematically. These are classes used to being passionate, to inspiring, and since both have Charisma as one of their main attributes, it makes sense for them to be the ones rallying the party to greater things. Mechanically, that high charisma score makes them even more effective and means the feat stands alone with a normal build without needing extra levels, feats, or attribute scores to make it work in a build.
Sorcerers and Warlocks are classes that don’t jump to mind when thinking about the leader of the party, but they are masters of magical forces who have the charisma. Mechanically they are a great fit for the inspiring leader feat in 5E, and the roleplaying possibilities still abound.
Fighter might not immediately seem intuitive since they are STR/DEX + CON as opposed to charisma but there are two important points to remember:
- Fighters have multiple extra ability score improvements allowing for extra feats AND the ability to increase a third ability score (like Charisma)
- The inspiring leader feat levels up even with a mediocre or weak charisma score, especially at high character levels
Those two points means fighter gets to join the other classes that naturally can use this feat quite effectively without wrecking an effective build. At that point it’s just about deciding whether your table is all about the nuts and bolts business “I use inspiring feat, you all get X temporary hit points,” or if your table loves a good roleplay and is ready for a speech, let them have it!
5th Ed Classes that should always take the Inspiring Leader Feat:
5E Classes That Should Consider Taking the Inspiring Leader Feat
Honestly, this could be every other class in the game. However, in the interest of trying to break down the best fits for most conventional builds, the next “B-Tier” of classes that should look at this A-grade 5th Ed feat for the benefit of the group.
Clerics make sense because they are often the backbone of the party. On the negative side, many times clerics not only need wisdom but deal with being part of the line meaning they want a high Constitution score and decent Strength if there are any points left over.
However, if they don’t need to be part of the front line, or build smart enough they can rely on magic and armor and don’t need to swing a weapon, then picking up inspiring leader to
Druid might seem a bit curious at first, but it can work very well as an inspiring leader. Because of their shapechange abilities they don’t need as high Strength or Constitution as
Rangers while technically being a 2-ability score build, let’s face it, they can get away with bow, Dexterity, and the Sharpshooter feat. Because of that, as well as the number of rangers who multi-classed into rogue, they can often squeeze out an extra feat without torpedoing the build. If no one else in the party of miscreants is going to do it, maybe the lone wilderness wanderer needs to also become a source of inspiration?
While it’s not a natural fit per se, because of the various challenges and setups that come with the ranger build (especially before the fixes that came out in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything) there is space to customize these characters to get that extra feat that helps out the party, and being the ranger who chooses his/her time to speak but then does it well, it’s a cool little way to paint out a character that you’re playing at the table.
Rogue is an odd pick here but they are a “jack of all trade, masters of stealth” and they also get one more ability score improvement than every other class (other than fighter). This means a type of “freebie” feat and while the Skilled Feat is a natural pick, going with inspiring leader isn’t the worst way to go.
Teach them the inspiring ways of the shadows and let them be filled with additional life before combat!
5th Ed Classes that should consider taking the Inspiring Leader Feat:
5E Classes That Should Never Take the Inspiring Leader Feat
Honestly, there’s no class where I would say they shouldn’t ever take the inspiring leader feat. This is a great feat and if a wizard or barbarian is the only party member with a free space to pick up a feat, this is a great option that can seriously boost the entire party.
Someone in the party should always take this feat, but in the ideal builds it will NOT be the artificer, barbarian, monk, or wizard. The barbarian works thematically but they need to max out Strength and Constitution in addition to picking up some more feats for tanking and/or fighting. Monks require not only two ability scores, but ideally even three.
Artificers and wizards can be complex builds and require not only good ability scores but feats to go with it so sliding in one more is often difficult and certainly not optimal for the party to have those classes downshifting their own builds to help the party out.
5th Ed classes that are least naturally fitting with the Inspiring Leader Feat:
Examples of Inspiring Leader Feat Speeches (From TTRPGs and Pop Culture)
The nice thing about inspiring leader is that you can play it straight up for mechanics if you’re in a dungeon crawling heavy group and simply give out the stats, or on roleplaying tables you can practice your in-life speechcraft.
Examples of inspiring leader speeches from pop culture
- William Wallace in the movie Brave Heart before the battle (“They may take our lives, but they may never take our FREEDOM!”)
- President Whitmore before the counterattack in the movie Independence Day
- Howard Beale’s “Mad as Hell” speech from the movie Network
- Coach D’Amato “Inch by Inch” speech from Any Given Sunday
Examples of inspiring leader speeches from out TTRPG games
- “When you’re a kitten you start with the basic fishes, and you think you know how good fishes can be, but then you travel and grow and get the tuna fishes and the salmon fishes and the milk that has cream, and everything is better. You may have started as common fishes, but you are now salmon and cream, so go forth and prove the better in battle!” Tabaxi Warlock Maelstrom (a The Business creation)
- “This is all about risk versus reward. We kill this dragon, we get the horde. Plus it’s tax-free. Who’s going to collect? The dead dragon’s dragonborn? Nope – we’re they’re bosses now!” Rogue Malik to a party of clerics & paladins worshipping the gods of commerce
- “Fight, for the love of the gods, fight, I’m too pretty to die!” Captain Dactus Danton, Sky Pirate (an Old Man Callahan creation)
Final Feat Grade for 5E Inspiring Leader Feat
Inspiring Leader Feat Grade: A
Is the 5E Inspiring Leader Feat Worth It?
Inspiring feat is one of the most versatile feats in 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, and it’s one that someone in every single adventuring party should have. Even better, only one player needs the feat to get the most out of it, unlike feats like Lucky. One good inspiring leader speech to a party of five at a charisma-maxed level 20 character means 125 temporary hit points from one speech before battle.
This only works if you know a major fight is coming and have time to prepare, but most of the time that is available before a major event or showdown. The fact this feat affects the entire party and is only needed from one character makes this a unique versatile feat that is a great boon for any adventuring party and is one of the reasons this feat has one of the very few A grades out of these feat guides.
Inspiring Leader Feat FAQ
Is inspiring leader the best feat in 5E?
While it’s hard to give one specific feat the title of best, there’s no question that inspiring leader is one of the best feats in 5th edition and is one that you want to see in every single adventuring party no matter what the build.
Does inspiring leader stack with Aid?
Inspiring leader gives temporary hit points and the important thing to know about temporary hit points is that they do NOT stack, no matter what the source of those temporary hit points are. Because of that there is no point in having two characters with the inspiring leader feat unless you make it a habit of always splitting the party.
How do you use inspiring leader in 5E?
Any time before a potential situation stop for 10 minutes to give an inspiring speech. This allows it to work for any short-rest, but it can even take place without a full short rest. Once everyone receives their temp hit points they last until a short or long rest results in another speech.
Does the inspiring leader feat stack with another character’s inspiring leader feat?
No. Temporary hit points never stack regardless of the source or sources. Therefore inspiring leader does not stack and they can’t be stacked within a group.
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Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years. You can find his other work in publications like Level Skip or Hobby Lark.