What Are Hit Dice 5E? | D&D 5th Edition Hit Dice Explained

what are hit dice 5E

Hit Dice have been in Dungeons & Dragons since the very first edition of D&D. They’re really important for figuring out how difficult an encounter can be. Every single class has a hit dice, and every character collects hit dice over their journey. Their primary use is for calculating HP, but they’ve gotten a second role in 5E. Dive into our What Are Hit Dice 5E Guide!

What are Hit Dice 5E?

Hit Dice are a pool of dice earned by leveling up. Every class has a hit dice category that explains what size of hit dice you have. They follow these general categories:

DescriptionHit DiceClasses
Squishy Arcane Spell Slingerd6Sorcerer, Wizard
Utility Class that Can Frontlined8Artificer, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Monk, Rogue, Warlock
I’m Expected to Frontlined10Fighter, Paladin, Ranger

Whenever you accept a level in one of these classes, you add their Hit dice to your pool. That includes the first level, where you typically don’t roll a dice to determine hit points; even then, you get that hit dice added to your pool.

Even when you Multiclass, you add that class’s dice to your pool. For example, if Eberen is a level 1 Wizard and takes 1 level in Fighter, they have a Hit Dice pool of 1d6 + 1d10. Then, if Eberen takes another level in Wizard, his Hit Dice pool becomes 2d6 + 1d10.

What Do I Do With Hit Dice?

The primary purpose of your Hit Dice pool is to spend them during short rests. After a short rest, you can roll Hit Dice from your pool to heal an amount equal to whatever you roll, plus Constitution modifier. Those dice are then off-limits for the rest of the day. For example, Eberen (the level 2 Wizard/level 1 Fighter) takes a short rest. He decides to use his 1d10 to heal, and rolls a 7. He has a +1 to Constitution, and thus heals for 8 hit points. Now, his Hit Dice pool for the day is 2d6, since he spent his 1d10. These all refresh after a Long rest.

Eberen can alternatively use all of his hit dice right away, but that puts all of his dice off-limits for the day. In addition, you only apply your Constitution modifier once. For example, if Eberen rolled all of his hit dice to heal on that short rest, he’d essentially heal 2d6+1d10+1. Not bad, but if he spread them out, he’d add his Constitution modifier each time.

Just to clarify, spending dice from this pool does not decrease your Maximum Hit Points. Those are an entirely separate resource. This is just for healing.

Can I Do Anything Else With Them?

Not really! These were designed to be spent on short rests. 

There are a few feats that help spend hit dice efficiently. The Dungeon Delver and Durable feats grant a minimum amount of hit dice on a roll; half your Constitution modifier. That can help prevent bad rolls on your hit dice from lowering how much you heal. Dwarves may pick up Dwarven Fortitude to spend Hit Dice during combat, if they use the Dodge action.

In addition, the Bard’s Song of Rest adds an additional dice to your total roll whenever you spend hit dice during a short rest. That makes you even more privy to saving hit dice to heal in small bursts!

Wrapping Up Hit Dice

Hit dice are important, but only for resting and figuring out max HP. They have no other role, other than occasional hit-dice based effects.

Make sure to save Hit Dice for when they might come in handy most! Healing is nice, but if you can spread them out, then you’ll heal for much more!

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