How Does Hit Dice Work In 5e

Hit Dice is a group of dice gained by boosting your levels and defining the difficulty of an encounter

For as long as  Dungeons & Dragons has been around, every player has used Hit Dice in every edition and every campaign. It is essential for figuring out how easy or difficult an encounter can be. Every single class has one and every character can collect one over their journey. Hit Dice’s primary work is for calculating HP, but in 5E, they now have other rules. But how does it really work? Let’s look down below and learn the basics.

Defining Hit Dice 5E

Hit Dice performs as a crucial factor in any encounter of the party to determine the difficulty and contributes to increasing your levels. Every class has a designated category that describes what size you have. These are the general categories to go about:

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

Hit Dice work when every time you accept a level in one of these classes, you include it in their in your pool. It encompasses the first level, where you typically don’t roll one to determine your hit points.

Even when you choose Multiclass, you include that class’s dice to your pool. For example, if your character is a level 1 Wizard and gets 1 level in Fighter, they obtain a pool of 1d6 + 1d10. Then, if your character takes another level in Wizard, his pool becomes 2d6 + 1d10.

Uses of Hit Dice

Short Rest

The number one use of this is to use them during your short rests. After your short rest, you have the option to roll it from your collection to heal an amount equal to whatever you roll, plus a Constitution modifier. Those dice are then off-limits for the rest of the day. For example, your character, who is a level 2 Wizard/level 1 Fighter, decides to take a short rest. After this, your character then decides to utilize his 1d10 for healing and then rolls a 7. In his resources, he has a +1 to Constitution and therefore heals for 8 hit points. Now, his pool for the day is 2d6 since he spent his 1d10. All of these then refresh after a long rest.

Utilizing Right Away

Alternatively, your character can utilize all of theirs right away, but this is a disadvantage because that turns all of the dice off-limits for the day. Besides this, you only apply your Constitution modifier once. Let’s visualize it like this: If your character rolled all of the hit dice to heal on that short rest, your character would essentially heal 2d6+1d10+1.

A quick thing to always keep in mind from learning all of this, utilizing it from this pool does not decrease your Maximum Hit Points. Those things are independent and different resources.

Other Use of Hit Dice

There’s not much use besides the one above because hit dice were designed to be spent on short rests. 

Some feats can help spend hit dice efficiently. The Dungeon Delver and Durable feats enable a minimum amount on a roll and half your Constitution modifier. Besides this, Dwarves may pick up Dwarven Fortitude to spend theirs during combat if they choose to utilize the Dodge action. Not only that, the Bard’s Song of Rest adds another die to your total roll whenever you decide to spend one during a short rest.


Hit dice are an essential part of the game, but only for the purpose of resting and figuring out max HP. Besides that, they have no other role other than the occasional hit-dice-based effects. Try to always save it for when a time that you might need it the most.

Want more information? Check out this amazing thread from Reddit and watch the video below to effectively use this. Happy playing!

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