## Hit Dice and CON Mod

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As an alternative to Con Mod giving a static HP bonus per level, what if it instead gave "advantage" on your Hit Dice rolls? You'd get to roll an extra HD per CON modifier and keep the best result (or the worse result, in the case of a negative modifier).

To use the extreme examples, a CON 20 Barbarian would roll 6d12, keep 1, Hit Dice when leveling or recovering during a short rest. The results I actually rolled were 5, 1, 3, 12, 6, & 7, so the Barbarian would earn/recover their full 12hp for that roll. OTOH, the sickly Wizard with only an 8 CON would roll 2d4, keep 1. Their result was 4 & 3, meaning the wizard gains/recovers 3hp.

Thus, CON influences the probability of your HD result, but the maximum is still capped by the size of your HD.
Arithezoo
Joined Aug 2008
3800 Posts
I thought of the same thing a while ago and think it would make a fine alternative.  One thing to consider: I think the effect of advantage/disadvantage is a lot greater than a +/- 1.  So expect people to avoid 8 Con like the plague, and increasing from 10 to 12 Con is a great benefit.  Past that you have a bit of diminishing return.

For example, take a level 4 fighter.  With a 10 Con he will have 22 HP on average (meaning the most common result).
With an 8 Con he will only have 14-15 HP (compared to 18 if the Con just applies a -1/level).
With a 12 Con he will have 29-30 (compared to 26)
With a 14 Con he will have 32-33 (compared to 30)
With a 16 Con he will have 35 (compared to 34)
With a 18 Con he will have 36 (compared to 38)

In other words, you aren't really cutting down on total HP.  Even with an 18 Con you are only 2 points lower on average at level 4 (1/2 HP each level).  And for the more likely Con scores, this method actually results in more HP (but again, not a big difference.
And, as I said above, there is diminishing return.  While normally each Con increase gives you 1 extra HP/level, in this method you start seeing less and less HP/level.  Compare 16 to 18: you only gain 1 extra HP in 4 levels!
The thing about averages and aggregates, though, is that they don't really matter to the ONE roll you get to have when leveling. The fact that the crappy rolls at your table are statistically balanced by the awesome rolls of another table is *meaningless* when it comes to *your* Fighter failing at his job. The idiom "lies, damned lies, and statistics" exists for a reason.

This method is designed to accomplish two things:

1) Max HP per level is capped at die size. No matter how high your CON, your Cleric will never earn more than 8hp per level. No more adding CON to an already lucky roll. Want more HP? Get Toughness or play a Paladin. A decent CON is encouraged, dumping CON is discouraged, and min/maximizing CON has diminishing returns. As far as I'm concerned, that's not a bug, it's a feature.

2) the statistical probability of the average HD result is brought from every table in the world to the only place it really matters -- your character sheet. Sure, there's still the chance of suckage... my example Barbarian, even with a 20 CON, could have gotten a 7 if not for that one 12 in the mix. But the chances of suckage are reduced while the margin of superiority is capped... so I'll call that a win.
wrecan
Joined Jun 2005
19235 Posts
One thing to consider: I think the effect of advantage/disadvantage is a lot greater than a +/- 1.  So expect people to avoid 8 Con like the plague, and increasing from 10 to 12 Con is a great benefit.  Past that you have a bit of diminishing return.

I don't necessarily think that a bad thing.  It makes Con a costly dump stat, as it should be.  There should be a cost to making anything a dump stat.  Now all we need is an equal cost for having a bad Str, Int, or Cha.  (Bad Wisdom and Dexterity is, imo, covered.)
Qmark
Joined Dec 1969
I don't necessarily think that a bad thing.  It makes Con a costly dump stat, as it should be.  There should be a cost to making anything a dump stat.  Now all we need is an equal cost for having a bad Str, Int, or Cha.  (Bad Wisdom and Dexterity is, imo, covered.)

But, it also makes a 10 CON "mandatory", 12 CON "awesome!", and 13+ CON "why bother?"

Orzel
Joined Aug 2007
4905 Posts
And now you screw over the poor barbarian who need 14 Con to guarantee getting something god with his d12 HD.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Yes, the benefit of CON is relative to the size of the Hit Die. A classic d4 wizard has a 25% chance of maxing this HD on any given roll, whereas the Barbarian's chances are only 8.33%, so a 12 CON is probably all the wizard will really need, whereas the Barb needs more CON to get the same odds of maxing his HD.

Is this a bad thing, though? Constitution is kind of the Barbarian's thing, like Wizards and Intelligence, so I'm mostly OK with this. I could see giving Barbarians some special abilities powered by Con, like (optionally) channeling primal spirits/totems/ancestors/etc., just to sweeten things a bit.
Shiroiken
Joined Mar 2008
1119 Posts
I still like the 1st packet's method of gaining HP: your Con mod is the minimum for the die roll. Of course, we made it Con mod +1, to make a positive modifier worth something. It didn't raise the maximum HP, but it raised the minimum nicely.
pauln6
Joined Dec 1969
I still like the 1st packet's method of gaining HP: your Con mod is the minimum for the die roll. Of course, we made it Con mod +1, to make a positive modifier worth something. It didn't raise the maximum HP, but it raised the minimum nicely.

I agree.  That's what I've stuck with.  Wizards function fine with d4 hit points if you front load them in this way and it limits silly HP inflation at higher levels.  Half Con at level 1 works too if you want grittier hp.
Lawolf
Joined May 2008
5634 Posts
I still like the 1st packet's method of gaining HP: your Con mod is the minimum for the die roll. Of course, we made it Con mod +1, to make a positive modifier worth something. It didn't raise the maximum HP, but it raised the minimum nicely.

I agree.  That's what I've stuck with.  Wizards function fine with d4 hit points if you front load them in this way and it limits silly HP inflation at higher levels.  Half Con at level 1 works too if you want grittier hp.

Ooh, I like that. Level 1 you start out with 1/2 your Con score HP + your HD.

When you roll HP you gain your roll or 1+Con mod, whichever is higher.
Ex: A 16 Con fighter rolls a 2 on his d10 HD. He would gain 4 HP for that level (1+3).

I still think HD should be 1d6 for low HP classes, 1d8 for midrange HP classes, and 1d10 for high HP classes. This way a 20 Con wizard will always gain 6 HP per level and you don't have to worry about what happens with a +5 con mod and a d4 hit die.
How would this interract with someone like me using static HP per level?
Karnos
Joined Dec 1969
I like static hp and I'm happy with the existing Con bonus functionality.  I guess I could see this change working, but why?  What is the intended purpose of the change?
mecorva
Joined Dec 1969
As many people pointed out in the first packet, using con as a minimum makes con least helpful for the fighter. If we were doing that, I'd rather fighters get 4+d6 hp, with con giving a min die roll than getting d10. After all, even with the same con, then fighters are guaranteed to have more hp than wizards
strider13x
Joined Mar 2012
1812 Posts
For 20 years now our group has accepted half HD rounded up as HP per level. Fighters get 6, Clerics get 5, Rogues get 4, and Wizards get 3.
Just my 2cp.
For our 3.5 campaigns we typically say that when you roll your for your HP and get less than half what the HD was worth, it rounds up to half the HD value. Sort of a level up insurance.
I like static hp and I'm happy with the existing Con bonus functionality.  I guess I could see this change working, but why?  What is the intended purpose of the change?

First and foremost, I present it as yet another arrow to fill the quiver of options for how a DM handles hit points at their table.  Basic D&D should have a default option because of the nature of that beast, but Standard D&D should simply present a set of thoroughly playtested options with no assumed default.*

The key features of my method include a) ensuring that CON is still painful to dump, b) making die size matter more, c) capping HP gains per level by HD, and d) benefitting those d10 and d12 classes which rely on hp, as opposed to the "CON as minimum roll" method which benefits the d4 and d6 classes more.

If hit points are going to be the key representation of a character's improved skill over time, then there should be a method that allows for reliably high rolls without eliminating rolling entirely.  Again, this would ideally just be one of the varied array of options that should be presented in Standard and Advanced D&D.

* - Sooner than later, I'd like to see a Packet present several modules for hit points, healing methods, and rests as equal options.  Then, in the survey, they would ask about which method combinations were playtested and, of those, which methods were preferred/disliked.  The "winners" would be prime candidates for being the Basic option.
CarlT
Joined Dec 1969
For 20 years now our group has accepted half HD rounded up as HP per level. Fighters get 6, Clerics get 5, Rogues get 4, and Wizards get 3.
Just my 2cp.

I prefer rounded down.

There should be a cost for predictability.    Taking the static value shouldn't both eliminate the risk of a bad roll and give you a result that is higher than the average value.

Besides - D&DNext has a hard and fast rule:  "Always Round Down" - and the hit point rule is a (unnecessary) exception to that rule.

Carl
ren1999
Joined May 2012
665 Posts
It is very important to start your hit points with your full constitution score + your maximum hit dice,
then every level-up, your hit dice roll or half the maximum hit dice.

Why? Many on the forum are suggesting high damage rolls for two-handed weapons. Mine currently is being tested at 3d6.
If you're going to allow two weapon fighting at 1st level, that is an average of 1d6 and 1d8 damage or 1d8 and 1d10 damage per turn.
It speeds up combat encounters but it also makes the game deadly for low level characters.
kezzek
Joined Dec 1969
It is very important to start your hit points with your full constitution score + your maximum hit dice,
then every level-up, your hit dice roll or half the maximum hit dice.

Why? Many on the forum are suggesting high damage rolls for two-handed weapons. Mine currently is being tested at 3d6.
If you're going to allow two weapon fighting at 1st level, that is an average of 1d6 and 1d8 damage or 1d8 and 1d10 damage per turn.
It speeds up combat encounters but it also makes the game deadly for low level characters.

Huh?
It's important to start with up to 30 hp because you are testing 3d6 weapon damage?

Players also have another huge load of negative hp.  It would take 40+hp to kill some characters at first level.

pauln6
Joined Dec 1969
Level 1 characters have limited options.  Adding very low hit points into that mix just isn't helpful.  And DMs who want their level 1 characters to still be at risk can add extra monsters very easily.  It's tougher for a DM to reduce risk if a single kobold can one-shot your wizard (or two-shot).  I also think that new players whose characters keep dying will be les enamoured with the game than those who can tough out a few low level fights.  Higher starting hit points helps everyone right from the start.

The Con hit points to hit dice every level is just a question of scaling.  Either you have to cap this benefit early on e.g. level 10 or cap the maximum hit points that can be awarded.  The latter method does not work if you are already applying the average hit points per level because the gap between the haves and have nots is still too high.  Don't forget that you'll get your Con bonus added onto your healing as well so Con should never become a dump stat.  In fact, if Constitution bonuses to hit points were removed completely the bonus on healing would still make it worthwhile.