Formula for HP/level

52 posts / 0 new
Last post
Hello.

One of the things that bothers me about leveling up in 3.5e is the way additional hit points are gained via a die roll. This is the only aspect of leveling up that is outside the control of the player. Further, it tends to create differences in power level between two different characters that seem arbitrary. For example, if two different PCs take a level of barbarian, it seems "unfair" for one player to roll a 1 and another roll a 12 for new hit points.

I know that when presented with a computer game version of D&D, I will typically save before leveling up and keep going through the level-up procedure until I get a good result. I also know that when I play PnP versions of D&D, I also rule that players either get maximum HP/level, or they can continue rolling until they get at least 3/4 of maximum HP. I suspect that others have similar house rules.

I would propose than in 4e, players either receive maximum HP/level for all levels, or maximum HP/level for first level followed by maximum/2 (rounded down) HP/level on subsequent levels. This would seem to keep PCs on a more even footing, and reduce the penalty (and frustration) a player would feel from getting a bad die roll for such an important statistic.

-Chowder
In my games I always use Max at first and then Max -2 for all additional levels. But yes I agree that a set HP/level scheme is needed to make for a more balanced game.
Well, the developers said they are keeping some sacred cows =P, so the hp rolling just might stick, despite the general frowning.
I've also heard a rumor that some of the designers said rolling HP was broken and stupid and should be done away with. Then again, I'm biased because that's what I think. :P

Let me put it this way: What happens if your Barbarian rolls a 1 on his HP for 2nd level? What if that keeps happening? Your DM handwaves it, right? I've never seen one who didn't. What I have seen are established houserules for exactly this problem.

A rule that 90% of DMs bend or outright ignore is a rule that needs to be changed.

For the 10% who don't change it, we have characters getting a significant long term advantage or disadvantage because of random rolls. Those rolls should even out over time, but for that to happen that character has to survive and be played over a wide range of levels.

Granted, with triple and maxed HP at 1st level, like in SAGA, there is more of a buffer to allow that to happen. I have not played SAGA; I'm still reading the book. It might turn out that my concerns are mitigated somewhat, but I've yet to see that.

Whether it's max HP, or the old Hit Die -1 or whatever, I'd rather see a set amount of HP gained at each level.

Not only should all character building be done by player decisions, but that also allows players to level up without supervision and makes it easy to go back and check HP totals if need be.

I can live with something kind of like Iron Heroes, say everybody rolls d4 and a Fighter adds 6 and Con while a Wizard adds only his Con. This would provide much more stable numbers while maintaining an element of randomness. That is a bit more complicated, though.

At the very least, I'd like to see Max HP mentioned as an official optional rule in the DMG.

Lastly, I do realize that this makes the PCs a little tougher, but my combats are often tough anyway. I also realize that it widens the gap between Wizard and Fighter HP a bit, but I'm okay with that too.
Can't call it D&D without the dice...
My opinion on this is that there should be a set number of hp gained each level (maybe 2 or three times that at 1st level) in the core books... but that an optional rule should be to randomly determine the hp with d4+(whatever number would give you the hit die of the class. Ex: a d10 fighter would get 1d4+6 each level). This latter option is straight out of Iron Heroes... but I think it allows for a little bit of randomization, while making sure the roll doesn't over or under power a character too much.
Sacred cow... Yeah, this definitely might fall within that realm. In fact, I would go as far as saying that it does.

That said though, I am one of those DMs who house rules that you gain max hp each level. As someone said, you can roll low and then as far as hp goes you didn't fair as well even though you put in as much work as everyone else to get that level. And when that happens you don't have access to those "resources" the core system talks about which is so crucial to balancing encounters.

So yeah, all my players get max hp. Then again, so do my NPCs.
Super easy to houserule. Not a big deal.
This is indeed easy to house-rule. However, the house-ruling does cause some incompatibility with published adventures and probably with whatever replaces challenge ratings in 4e. That is, when Wizards publishes an adventure or a monster and tries to indicate what level the party needs to be in order to be appropriate for that adventure/encounter, they assume that people are not house-ruling their hit points. Assuming that large numbers of people house-rule their hit point advancement such that they receive more hit points than the rules would normally indicate, their parties are normally going to be slightly too powerful for the published material.

I still believe that gamers would be better served if Wizards would modify the official rules to match what I suspect most gamers actually do with their characters.

-Chowder
As a DM I always allow my players the choice between
1/ roll
2/ avg + 1

So a barbarian can choose to roll a d12 or to take 7. A mage can roll 1d4 or take 3.
My group has gone ala Living Greyhawk – d12 = 7, d10 = 6, d8 = 5, d6 = 4, d4 = 3.

I have detested random ability score generation and random hp for years (20).
This is indeed easy to house-rule. However, the house-ruling does cause some incompatibility with published adventures and probably with whatever replaces challenge ratings in 4e. That is, when Wizards publishes an adventure or a monster and tries to indicate what level the party needs to be in order to be appropriate for that adventure/encounter, they assume that people are not house-ruling their hit points. Assuming that large numbers of people house-rule their hit point advancement such that they receive more hit points than the rules would normally indicate, their parties are normally going to be slightly too powerful for the published material.

I still believe that gamers would be better served if Wizards would modify the official rules to match what I suspect most gamers actually do with their characters.

-Chowder

No compatibility issues, really. At least not as far as I can see. If every player randomly rolls max HP for their characters each level (however unlikely) then the encounter is still balanced now. I don't see how house ruling max hp would change that at all.

And if you see it as an issue it is easy enough to adjust the HP of the antagonists when you are prepping the module for play.
This is indeed easy to house-rule. However, the house-ruling does cause some incompatibility with published adventures and probably with whatever replaces challenge ratings in 4e. That is, when Wizards publishes an adventure or a monster and tries to indicate what level the party needs to be in order to be appropriate for that adventure/encounter, they assume that people are not house-ruling their hit points. Assuming that large numbers of people house-rule their hit point advancement such that they receive more hit points than the rules would normally indicate, their parties are normally going to be slightly too powerful for the published material.

I still believe that gamers would be better served if Wizards would modify the official rules to match what I suspect most gamers actually do with their characters.

-Chowder

Don't houserule stupid max HP. Houserule it the mathematically correct way: Half. You guys are making it out to be a huge deal. It's not, at all.
I don't think it would be all that difficult to print rules variants for rolling and fixed number systems in the same book. There are pros and cons for each, this way it can just be left up to personal preference.

I for one would prefer a set number, regardless of the formula. That way I would never feel cheated on HP, of feel obligated to select feats, stat increases or magic item to compensate for some lousy die rolls.
we use 75% of max, round down.

d4 = 3
d6 = 4
d8 = 6
d10 = 7
d12 = 9
We've never had a problem with average HP at our games, i.e. 6.5 for the barbarian, 4.5 for the ranger, 2.5 for the wizard, etc.

A while back we had a player that consistently rolled very low on his HP rolls over a spread of levels and we've since realized that average rolls work much better.
Can't call it D&D without the dice...

You mean those things I roll when I'm playing?
Hello.

One of the things that bothers me about leveling up in 3.5e is the way additional hit points are gained via a die roll. This is the only aspect of leveling up that is outside the control of the player. Further, it tends to create differences in power level between two different characters that seem arbitrary. For example, if two different PCs take a level of barbarian, it seems "unfair" for one player to roll a 1 and another roll a 12 for new hit points.

I know that when presented with a computer game version of D&D, I will typically save before leveling up and keep going through the level-up procedure until I get a good result. I also know that when I play PnP versions of D&D, I also rule that players either get maximum HP/level, or they can continue rolling until they get at least 3/4 of maximum HP. I suspect that others have similar house rules.

I would propose than in 4e, players either receive maximum HP/level for all levels, or maximum HP/level for first level followed by maximum/2 (rounded down) HP/level on subsequent levels. This would seem to keep PCs on a more even footing, and reduce the penalty (and frustration) a player would feel from getting a bad die roll for such an important statistic.

-Chowder

I understand that rolling a 1 can hurt when we're speaking about hp.
But that's one side of the game.
Your barbarian isn't going to die because he gained just 1 hp (and he is likely to have a pretty high Con bonus). If a wizard rolls a 1 he'll be in more trouble, but even then if he finds in a melee he'd be in the same troubles even if he rolled a 4.
Die roll for hp is something funny because it gives thrill. The die roll could go bad. It's one of the risks. It doesn't mean that your character will be less good than before if he rolled a poor roll.

On the other side, if you aren't satysfied with die roll, there are optional rules for fixed hp amounts (50% of maximum roll) that work pretty well (but in the end the hp amount will be slightly higher with the rolling method).
As a house rule (obviously nothing official) I allow my players to re-roll just once if they roll 1 on HD (only on HDs and only once, so they have to live with their second roll, even if it's another 1). This balances things a bit.
Giving max hp for each level would be overkill: a 10th lvl barbarian would have 120 hp even before adding Con bonus. And fun is not given by superpowers. Fun is given by risking death at (nearly) every fight.

Anyway I'd like something that fixed those 3.x bugs (like max dice count for falling, max dice count for a ceiling falling on your head, being pulled in a lava as a biscuit for a fire giant's meal and so on): at high levels those are not life/death situation and I think it subtracts thrill to the game: what would be 10d6 damage to a 20th level fighter with two or three hundred hp?
I'd like to see something like AD&D hp system: die roll up to a certain level, then a small fixed amount at every level thereafter. This created strong characters at high levels, capable of suffering damage that would kill any other mortal (as it is fit for a heroic character) but on the same side, even a 20th level character would think it twice before diving a 200' cliff without magical aid.
While there are days when I wax nostalgic (or is it wane?) about rolling for stats and hit points, in the end I far prefer the 1/2 HD + 1 mechanic (d4 = 3, d12 =7) mechanic, with max granted at first level as is customary.

This comes from my own self-interest, since I have precious little play time and the idea of being stuck with a "gimped" character (in stats and/or hp) over a campaign that might stretch for years is just unattractive.

If I were not married with kids, graduate school, a job, and a life, and if I was playing several characters concurrently in several campaigns, my sentiments might be different. But my gaming time is too precious to suffer from bad dice rolls during character generation. (Of course, bad rolling might spell the early demise of a character, but that's different.)

I could probably live with any system that prevented gimping. For example, allowing the player to re-roll any hp roll that was less than 1/2 HD would be fine. Thus, the wizard rerolls only 1s (meaning their average becomes 3/level), while the barbarian rerolls 1-5 (meaning their average becomes 9/level). There's still a chance for poor rolling, but nothing catastrophic.

In the end, I think it's easiest to just award a fixed number of hit points per level, perhaps awarding twice that value for first level. We'll see.
I simply don't think that rolling a 1 is that much catastrophic.

Ok, the character dies. So?
That may happen. It's part of the game. It can be resurrected. A new one can be generated (in 5-10 minutes if one is expert).
The game goes on.
The most misdirecting phrase in the 3.x handbooks is that characters shouldn't die. They can die, but if it happens, no problem: there are hundreds of ways to go on with the game and have fun.
Fun, as I said before, is provided by the fact of being thrilled. If you don't risk to die, there's no fun. If a poor die roll puts a character at risk of death, that means more fun. A lot more fun.
That said, as there are low chances of roll maximum result more than a few times in a row, also there are the same chances of rolling the poorest result more than a few times in a row.
You rolled a 1? Fine, one of the next rolls could be a 12.
Believe me. 1 on hp roll is not a bad new (well, it is, but it is not tragic: tragic news is when pizza is out and you had none :P ).
Personally I don't like the max HP rule nor some of the others that don't keep the hp balances among the different classes. It makes it difficult to balance the combats appropriately. Unless you adjust the CR of the encounters (time consuming) you lose a lot of challenge from combats.

There are 2 alternative rules that we use in our campaigns depending on the DM and the power level of the campaign.
- A reminiscent of the old Dark Sun campaign. You roll HP, but if you roll equal or less than your CON bonus, you bump it to the next number. So a rogue with CON 16, that rolls a 2 in his D6 hp, instead of getting 5 hp that level (2+3) would automatically get 4 in his roll (+3) for his con for a total of 7hp. This system slightly favors low hp characters and it is more appropriate for deadly campaigns, but it also gives tanks a better chance to have good HP. It also keeps the rolling in the system and gives characters more incentives to pick a higher CON.

- 75% (66%) hp rule. (the one I like best) You always get 2/3 of your hp die, max 1st. So mages get 4 at 1st, and then 3 every level thereafter.
Rogues get 6 at 1st, then 5,4,5,4,5 and so on
clerics get 8 at 1st, then 6 every level thereafter
fighters get 10, then 7,8,7,8,7,8
barbarians get 12 then 9 every level thereafter

the advantage of this system is that keeps the proportional hp balanced, so you don't have uber mages when you have methods like the one above, or others that have a set minimum hp for all characters (all chars get 4 hp per level minimum). These methods usually give close to 100% hp of the mage die, while only 40% of the fighters...
It also prevents the weakling mage systems.... (everybody gets max hp -2) which unfairly penalizes low hp classes. A -2 hp is 50% of the mage HD, but only 20% of the fighters.
Finally it has less impact on the balance of the game and DM's don't have to change the CR of creatures.


My 2 copper
Re: White_Wizard's post: That amounts to telling someone else how they ought to enjoy their game. People don't like dying. It's not your place to tell them they OUGHT to like it.
The problem with rolling HP is that HP (and starting ability scores, if rolled) are unique in the fact that they are a single roll that permanently and irrevocably effects your character for the entire rest of their career.

If you miss an attack, you can attack again. If you fail a Knowledge check, you can try again when you have a better modifier. If you fail an unfortunate saving throw, your friends can still get you un-petrified or raised.

If you roll poorly for hit points, you're just stuck with it... forever. Back in earlier editions when life was cheap and returning to character generation more of a frequent fact of the gaming table, this wasn't as noticeable because Tobor the Unlucky (or anyone else who reliably rolled poor HP) would end up dead and replaced. Since the system has moved more towards helping players and DMs form long-term relationships and plots around their characters, permanent crippling injuries as a consequence of just gaining experience (compared to taking average HP, a barbarian who rolls a 1 has the equivalent of a pernament, never-healing 5-6 point wound... per level) are not an acceptable mechanic.

Rolling HP was once, perhaps, critical to defining a character's uniqueness compared to his compatriots, but is it really neccessary now? The combination of our more granular CON bonus, combined with a balanced Toughness feat or talent, should provide all the differentiation characters need in this regard.

Additionally, if we got rid of rolling for HP, players could do the "homework" of increasing their character level without having to sit at the same table and have their HP roll witnessed.
Personally I don't like the max HP rule nor some of the others that don't keep the hp balances among the different classes. It makes it difficult to balance the combats appropriately. Unless you adjust the CR of the encounters (time consuming) you lose a lot of challenge from combats.

Max HP is simplest, but it's not hard to figure a formula and write down what it is for each HD; whether d6 turns into 4 or 6 isn't as important as having a set, consistent number. I just happen to prefer max HP because it's easier to sell to my players and gives me a little more breathing room with my sometimes brutal combats.

I can see how you might want to keep the PCs closer together in terms of HP totals, and that's fine. I don't mind accentuating the advantage that the melee classes have; we're aiming for slightly different goals I guess.

CR is screwy anyway, though. Don't worry about that quite so much.
Re: White_Wizard's post: That amounts to telling someone else how they ought to enjoy their game. People don't like dying. It's not your place to tell them they OUGHT to like it.

You misunderstood me. It's simply that I do not understand why a character dying is so bad.
Is it a living relative? No. Is it a prized treasure being lost? No. Is death in D&D undoable? No.
I was (and still I am) simply wondering why a player should be afraid that is character may die.
No need to be so aggressive in replying.
In my group, we have eliminated the dice rolls for HP.

Now we use the half-dice +1 rule : no more problem with loosy dice, cheaters and so on. Moreover, it allows to keep a certain balance with monsters (whose HP are usually half-dice).
You misunderstood me. It's simply that I do not understand why a character dying is so bad.
Is it a living relative? No. Is it a prized treasure being lost? No. Is death in D&D undoable? No.
I was (and still I am) simply wondering why a player should be afraid that is character may die.
No need to be so aggressive in replying.

Well, when a character dies, one of two things will happen:
  • You pull out a new character sheet and start filling it out.
    Now, the reaction to this consequence varies from player to player (or from to group to group), but it just so happens that some players don't like to see all the effort they took in creating a background and personality going down the drain because of one single unlucky save. Specially if they take care to be careful not to die, and the thing that killed them was something they could do nothing to prevent (such as those porrly planed death spells).
  • Or the group gets a few thousand GP, and raises you back.
    The problem with this one is that (unless a 9th level spell was used) the character (who might have done absolutely nothing wrong) loses a level.
    But the bad part is that, suddenly, death is not so important. Something that should be campaign defining and climatic (death of a PC or important NPC) is nothing more than a waste of diamonds.
Point Buy Stats + (Average+1 HP) = The Win
Point Buy Stats + (Average+1 HP) = The Win

Nah... with that you give mages 25% more hit points and only 10% to fighters. You also have the problem that all averages are fractions 2.5 d4's 3.5 for d6, 4.5 for d8, 5.5 for d10, 6.5 for d12
Well, when a character dies, one of two things will happen:
  • You pull out a new character sheet and start filling it out.
    Now, the reaction to this consequence varies from player to player (or from to group to group), but it just so happens that some players don't like to see all the effort they took in creating a background and personality going down the drain because of one single unlucky save. Specially if they take care to be careful not to die, and the thing that killed them was something they could do nothing to prevent (such as those porrly planed death spells).
  • Or the group gets a few thousand GP, and raises you back.
    The problem with this one is that (unless a 9th level spell was used) the character (who might have done absolutely nothing wrong) loses a level.
    But the bad part is that, suddenly, death is not so important. Something that should be campaign defining and climatic (death of a PC or important NPC) is nothing more than a waste of diamonds.

As for the first thing: if a player doesn't like the effort of doing another character and BG, simply raise him. Most of the time level loss will be accepted as a natural consequence for death and usually there is no complain (for my experience).

Speaking of the second thing: really, there's no problem. If a character dies, usually I have one or two pre-gen character ready to be temporarily introduced (I prepare dungeons/adventures with more than a few hooks for such events, specially after the most difficult encounters) to allow the player to continue the play for the rest of the session. During the next 1-2 sessions players are usually allowed to gain the opportunity of raising their dead fellow.
A few examples: in a party lower than 9th level I may allow them to find a scroll of raise dead. If they are in a big city they can gain easily access to a friendly church which will do the spell for them (money is rarely a problem and, if it is, the church will commission a quest after the resurrection of the character).
If the group has access to raise/resurrect/pure resurrect spells, well, then they usually save every diamond they find to face such events.

Death should be important, I agree. But the problem isn't resolved by avoiding the risk of death.
Usually the level loss provided by raise dead/resurrection spells is a payment high enough to make death a still important part of the game and a risk to be avoided. More important, when a character chooses to do a heroic deed, the fact that he is putting his life (his level) at risk rather than not, makes the thing more funny.
The fact is simply that I don't see the point of the game if the character are to be abosolutely kept from the risk of dying. Players who know that their characters do not risk to die because the DM thinks it's not funny, will soon believe that every DM's roll is a cheat and that the adventure is not thrilling and unpredictable anymore. The entire meaning of sitting around a table and playing rather than going to the disco is at stake.
Disaffection to the game.
The whole point is this.
In my games, we always vote to reroll ones. It tends to skew the average slightly higher.
In my games, we always vote to reroll ones. It tends to skew the average slightly higher.

The problem of rerolling 1s is that you benefit the wizard more than the barbarian.
The wizard is sure to get at least 50% of his maximum, while the barbarian only get's at least 16.6% of his maximum. I'd say that's a big difference.
Usually the level loss provided by raise dead/resurrection spells is a payment high enough to make death a still important part of the game and a risk to be avoided.

But that's exactly the problem, it's not avoidable. I have no problem with a character dying (and consequently losing a level) because he got reckless and jumped on the wrong monster.
The problem is when a player takes caution to invest on his character's defenses, plays carefully as not to take unnecessary risks, and, suddenly, falls a level behind the rest of the party just because he rolled a stupid natural 1 on his saving throw (or rolled poorly for HP and then got critted).

There was absolutely nothing the players could do to avoid that, but he was punished for it.
More important, when a character chooses to do a heroic deed, the fact that he is putting his life (his level) at risk rather than not, makes the thing more funny.
The fact is simply that I don't see the point of the game if the character are to be abosolutely kept from the risk of dying. Players who know that their characters do not risk to die because the DM thinks it's not funny, will soon believe that every DM's roll is a cheat and that the adventure is not thrilling and unpredictable anymore. The entire meaning of sitting around a table and playing rather than going to the disco is at stake.
Disaffection to the game.
The whole point is this.

Well, it seems that our opinions diverge here.
You thing that a game without constant dangerous rolls is not thrilling.
I respect that opinion, but I prefer to let the PCs actions and decisions define the thrill of the game. As much as the PC know that the DM will not kill them during a random encounter (or for silly reasons during important encounters), the knowledge that their very actions and decisions define the course of the game (and the character's fate) adds a lot to the thrill.

I realize that you can have that while also not fudging any rolls. But, when a character is making all the right decisions, dying for a silly reason utterly strips him of sense of accomplishment.
"Yay! we saved an entire city and I lost a level for it.=/"
Unearthed Arcana had the optional rule of taking the die's average rounded up on odd levels, and its average rounded down on even levels. As a DM, I took this option and gave it to my players as an alternative to rolling. Ie. they could choose not to roll, and instead take what would be the average result, or they could roll knowing that they absolutely had to take the result. They always rolled. Not one of them took the average option. Sometimes they rolled 1s. They didn't whine about it.
I have always liked random rolling, whether it be for HP or anything else; part of the reason I play DnD instead of other systems is that it's D20 based, thus more randomness. In the group I played with for the last six years, regardless of who was DMing, we played that you can roll or pick half+1, but on rolling you can reroll 1s. Sometimes barbarians were also allowed to reroll 2s.
I think it adds an element of excitement to the game. As far as death goes, it's an integral part of the game and shouldn't be made light of, but different groups (and different people within those groups) treat it differently. Some people get really attached to their characters (I am one of them) and feel somewhat rotten when they die. Others don't care so much.
The important thing with character death and HP rolling is for the DM to understand how his players feel and adjust his game accordingly. Sometimes it's just not the right time for a character to die. Often, character death is just as much of a problem for the DM, who has planned his adventure, and perhaps the next few after that, on the present party. A good DM should know whether or not it's the right moment for a character to die, taking into account how permanent that death is, and act accordingly. Similarly with HP, a DM should know (approximately) how many HPs his characters have and act accordingly. In the end, the DM is more than a god in DnD, and no character can die unless he lets them.
That being said, I think that rolling a hit die is more in the spirit of a D20 system than a set progression. Keep the official rules in line with how the rest of the games is created, and let different groups change them for their own purposes.

My biggest gripe with the HP system is that it becomes less and less effective as you gain levels. In the first few, one roll of a die increases your HP total drastically. Later on, opponents often do more damage on a single attack then even three or four levels worth of hit die rolls. A seventeenth level fighter with 150-200 HPs who may in the near future face a 14d10 breath attack, or even a 4d6+18 huge greataxe just isn't going to care much about rolling a 10 on a hit die. Wizards, you've been talking about increasing the 'sweet spot' for adventuring, but shouldn't that apply to character creation as well? HP increases should be equally exciting/catastrophic (or equally balanced if you prefer a static progression) at level one or level thirty. It could be something as simple as rolling more hit dice-per-level as you gain more of them, or something as complex as an increasing percentage-based table where every class rolls a d100 every level, but depending on class and level you can get higher numbers based on what you role.
Wouldn't it me nice for them to leave at least ONE rule in the 4e rules that players could "fudge" on. Ahh... the sweet sweet guilt of lying about rolled HPs.
I've always found the "rerolling HD on a 1" rule funny, because even though it feels like a huge bonus for the player at the time ("I turned my 1 into a 6"), it doesn't actually cause a lot of havoc in terms of average HP over the life of a character.

Average when no rerolls allowed:
d4-->2.5
d6-->3.5
d8-->4.5
d10-->5.5
d12-->6.5

Average when one reroll of a 1 allowed:
d4-->2.875
d6-->3.917
d8-->4.938
d10-->5.95
d12-->6.958

Average when unlimited rerolls of a 1 allowed:
d4-->3
d6-->4
d8-->5
d10-->6
d12-->7

Consider that's only 5 hp over 10 levels for any character class.

Someone earlier mentioned game balance relative to published adventures, and for a DM concerned about such a balance whose players get frustrated when they roll low for their hp, the option of rerolling 1s seems like a fair compromise that many players would probably accept.
My group has gone ala Living Greyhawk – d12 = 7, d10 = 6, d8 = 5, d6 = 4, d4 = 3.

Seems nice and fair on the surface but leads to major disparities and perceived unfairness in the long run. A simple for instance is that whilst the mage is getting a nice and healthy 75% of his hit-die every level, the poor old barbarian is only getting what? 58%?

So that encounter balanced for the group suddenly becomes unbalanced because everyone doesn't have a fair share of hit points.
we use 75% of max, round down.

d4 = 3
d6 = 4
d8 = 6
d10 = 7
d12 = 9

Again, seems simple but now you're ending up with the barbarian who is garaunteed to have at least three times the health of the mage. How do you balance encounters for something like that? A monster that is a challenge for a barbarian is now overpowered for a mage.

Personally... I say get rid of class hit dice altogether and just have a base set of hit dice for EVERYTHING and give a 1st level full HD and then half hit dice per level thereafter (ie. 8 hit die equals 4 on even levels, 5 on odd).

Con is then the major difference between high and low health. To represent hardier characters such as fighters and barbarians, simply give them small amounts of Damage Reduction vs. physical attacks. Heck, you could even extend this so that mages have DR vs. arcane attacks, and clerics vs. holy damage.

Makes much more sense and is far easier to balance.
Well, I've used a set percentage (75%) of hit dice or "roll for half or more" for years. Something that is so character-defining as hit points should not be random.

It's one thing if you're rolling bad during an encounter. You know next encounter (or the one after that) you'll roll better. But rolling a 1 for a barbarian's hit points multiple times can pretty much destroy a character concept.

So that encounter balanced for the group suddenly becomes unbalanced because everyone doesn't have a fair share of hit points.
...
A monster that is a challenge for a barbarian is now overpowered for a mage.

There are always compromises for playing a certain type of character. A barbarian can take more physical damage than a mage but he can't chuck fireballs. Part of what makes D&D is the dynamic of protecting the mage from physical combat.

Allen.
How we do it in our games is as follows. It works for us and ymmv.


You start with Max hp, then the next level you get 1/2 max +1, next level 1/2 max +2, and so on until you reach max again. Then it resets..

So a 5'th level Barbarian with a 14 con would go like this:
Level 1: 12+2
Level 2: 7+2
Level 3: 8+2
Level 4: 9+2
Level 5: 10+2


HP: 56


Now to represent multiclassing your first level in any class goes max so a 5/3Barbarian / Cleric with a 14 con would look like this :

Barabarian:
Level 1: 12+2
Level 2: 7+2
Level 3: 8+2
Level 4: 9+2
Level 5: 10+2


HP: 56


Cleric :
Level 1: 8+2
Level 2: 5+2
Level 3: 6+2

HP: 25

Total HP: 81 (unless I can't add)
Unearthed Arcana had the optional rule of taking the die's average rounded up on odd levels, and its average rounded down on even levels. As a DM, I took this option and gave it to my players as an alternative to rolling. Ie. they could choose not to roll, and instead take what would be the average result, or they could roll knowing that they absolutely had to take the result. They always rolled. Not one of them took the average option. Sometimes they rolled 1s. They didn't whine about it.

My DM does the same, I am impressed with the number of players and DMs that cheat with the HPs! it is part of the game and part of the fun.
I have a cleric playing the return of the elemental evil campain and I rolled 1s and 2s a lot so now he has about 15 hb below the average, but he is ok is surviving. hahahahaha
Sign In to post comments