Where are the rules for using hit dice to heal in 5th edition?

  • I have read questions that allude to spending hit dice on healing in 5th edition, and seen twitch streams of games where this mechanic is employed, but have not been able to find it in the Dungeon Master's Guide or Player's Handbook. I am probably overlooking something obvious in the indices (I have looked, though :).

    Where are the rules for spending hit dice on healing in 5th edition?

    NB: neither the Player's Handbook nor the Dungeon Master's Guide indexes pages on hit points, or hit dice, and the Player's Handbook-indexed note on healing on page 197 mentions nothing about the hit dice mechanic.

    +1, the indices are awful, and D&D corebooks only make sense as reference works, not as "guide"s in any plain reading of the word. I'd suggest you print off a player's index to the PHB and stick it in the back--that's what I've done.

    Thank you for the reference, @nitsua60 . Unfortunately, the player's index, while a marked improvement :), does not include a reference to long and short rests under hit dice, and does not include a reference to hit dice under healing. :/

    NP. Yeah, it's not perfect, but I'm glad you do find it an improvement. IMO nothing beats a half-dozen slips of paper bookmarking the things *you* tend to have to look up most. (For me it's the XP table on p.15, one that tends to float and mark whichever class I'm playing and least familiar with, the weapon table on p.149, the resting rules on 186, one to mark the first page of spells, and one marking Appendix A.) Those usually get me to within a few pages of whatever I'm looking for pretty quickly =)

  • Correct answer

    5 years ago

    Hit Dice acts as a way of recovering your lost health over a short rest. This is a self-heal that scales as your character levels up (PHB pg. 186, or here in the basic rules):

    Short Rest

    A character can spend one or more Hit Dice at the end of a short rest, up to the character’s maximum number of Hit Dice, which is equal to the character's level. For each Hit Die spent in this way, the player rolls the die and adds the character’s Constitution modifier to it. The character regains hit points equal to the total. The player can decide to spend an additional Hit Die after each roll.


    There are also a few variant healing rule options in the DMG that the DM can choose to use instead of the normal resting rules.

    One is that you must first use a healer's kit to bandage up the wounds before you can spend any hit dice (DMG pg. 266):

    Healer's Kit Dependency

    A character can't spend any Hit Dice after finishing a short rest until someone expends one use of a healer's kit to bandage and treat the character's wounds.

    The other optional rule affects long rests. Normally, you regain all your hitpoints after a long rest, as if by magic. A variant rule makes you spend your hit dice to heal up instead, making being fully healed more difficult (DMG pg. 267):

    Slow Natural Healing

    Characters don't regain hit points at the end of a long rest. Instead, a character can spend Hit Dice to heal at the end of a long rest, just as with a short rest.

    The DMG variant rules somewhat detract from this answer, which is asking for the simple mechanic of using Hit Dice to restore HP during the adventure day.

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM