What are hit dice in DND 5e?

Adventurers taking a short rest

Hit dice are a fundamental part of Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition (DND 5e) that tie directly to your character's health and resilience. They play a vital role in determining how much vitality your character possesses and how effectively they recover from injuries and exhaustion.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the mechanics of hit dice, how they work, and how they can be used during rests to ensure your adventurer remains ready for your next quest.

What are hit dice in D&D?

In D&D, hit dice represent your character's potential for health and recovery. They are dice you roll to determine how many hit points you start with and gain when you level up. Hit dice are also used during short rests to recover lost hit points. They're an essential aspect of your character's durability and vitality in the game.

What is the difference between hit dice and hit points?

Hit dice and hit points are related but serve different purposes. Hit points (HP) represent your character's overall health and endurance. Hit dice, on the other hand, are a resource that characters use to determine how many hit points they have at each level, and to recover hit points during short rests.

So, in summary, hit points represent your character's health, while hit dice are used to determine and recover hit points.

Hit dice by class in D&D 5e

In DND 5e, the hit dice you receive depend on the class you choose. Each class has its unique hit die, which determines the amount of hit points you gain with each level up and your character's overall durability. Let's explore these hit dice by class to better understand how they function in the game.


Hit Die



























Source: D&D 5e Player’s Handbook

If you aren't sure what the above table means, check out our guide that explains the seven dice used in DND and what they each mean.

How do you use hit dice?

There are three occasions when you’ll need to use hit dice in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition:

  1. Character creation: when you first create your character, you roll your class's specified hit die once and add your Constitution modifier. This determines your starting hit points.
  2. Levelling up: when you level up, you roll your class's hit die and add your Constitution modifier. This number is then added to your current hit points.
  3. Short rests: during a short rest, you can choose to expend one or more of your hit dice, rolling them and adding your Constitution modifier to each roll. The total of these rolls is the number of hit points you regain. You have a pool of hit dice, and you can use as many as you have available during short rests. You roll one hit die at a time, and after you’ve resolved that roll, you can then decide to spend an additional hit die if you need to recover more hit points.

How many hit dice can you use?

You can spend one or more hit dice at the end of a short rest, up to the maximum number of hit dice your character has. This maximum number is equal to your character's level. So, if you're a 5th level character, you have a maximum of 5 hit dice to spend during short rests to regain hit points.

How do hit dice recover in 5e?

In D&D 5e, hit dice recover primarily during a long rest. When you take a long rest, you regain half of your total hit dice. For example, if you're a 5th level character with 5d8 hit dice, you would regain 2 of them after a long rest.

The Player’s Handbook explains that ‘whenever you divide a number in the game, round down if you end up with a fraction, even if the fraction is one-half or greater’. This means that, in the above example, you regain 2 hit dice after a long rest, not 3.

How many hit dice do you get per level?

In Dungeons & Dragons 5e, you gain 1 hit die per character level. So, at level 1, you have 1 hit die, and at level 2, you have 2 hit dice, and so on. Each time you level up, you gain 1 additional hit die, which you can use to recover hit points during short rests.

How many hit dice do you get at level 20?

In D&D 5e, you gain 1 additional hit die with each level you progress. So, at level 20, you would have a total of 20 hit dice.

What is the maximum number of hit dice you can get?

The maximum number of hit dice you can have is equal to your character's level. So, if you're a level 10 character, you can have a maximum of 10 hit dice. These hit dice are used for recovering hit points during short rests and represent your character's resilience and ability to recover from injuries. There aren’t any ways to gain more hit dice in DND 5e.

Mechanics that affect hit dice use

Certain class abilities, feats, spells, and magic items can affect the use of hit dice in DND 5e. These are just some of the mechanics included in the official rules that affect how hit dice are used:

  • Bard’s Song of Rest: beginning at 2nd level, a Bard can use this ability to regain an extra 1d6 when they use one or more hit dice at the end of their short rest. These extra hit points increase to 1d8 at 9th level, 1d10 at 13th level, and 1d12 at 17th
  • Dwarven Fortitude feat: Dwarves with this feat can spend one hit die when taking the Dodge action in combat to heal themselves.
  • Durable feat: this handy feat not only adds 1 to your Constitution score, but it also changes the minimum amount you can heal from spending a hit die. Instead of 1, the lowest amount of hit points you can regain is equal to twice your Constitution modifier (with a minimum of 2). This makes your hit dice use more consistent and guarantees a slightly higher level of regeneration.
  • Aberrant Dragonmark feat: characters that have this feat can spend one hit die when they cast a 1st level spell through the dragonmark. If an even number is rolled, the character gains a number of temporary hit points equal to the number rolled. However, if an odd number is rolled, another creature within 30ft takes force damage equal to the number rolled.
  • Living Armour: this cursed armour requires fresh blood to be fed to it, in order to sustain its magic potential. After finishing a long rest, the wearer must feed half of their remaining hit dice to the armour (rounding up) or suffer one level of exhaustion.

FAQs about hit dice in DND 5e

What happens if you run out of hit dice?

If you run out of hit dice in D&D 5e, you'll need to be cautious. Your options for healing become limited, and you may have to rely on other means like healing spells, potions, or abilities. It's also a good idea to try to get out of dangerous situations and take a long rest when possible. During a long rest, you not only regain all your hit points but also recover some of your expended hit dice, making them available for use again. So, managing your hit dice wisely and planning your rests can be crucial for your character's survival in the game.

Can an unconscious character use hit dice to get up?

In D&D 5e, if your character has dropped to 0 hit points but has stabilised (you're not making death saving throws), you can use your hit dice to regain hit points after one hour of rest, if you have hit dice available. This rule is for situations where your character is unconscious but not in immediate danger of dying.

The rule stating that a stable unconscious creature heals to 1 hit point after 1d4 hours comes into play when they don't have any Hit Dice left to use for healing.

What is the formula for hit dice?

The formula for hit dice is the sum of what your roll with your hit die plus your Constitution modifier. You can't exceed your maximum hit points through this process, and you can't spend more hit dice than what you have available. Roll one hit die at a time, and after each roll you can choose whether or not to spend another hit die, depending on whether you need more hit points.

How do hit dice work with multiclassing?

In D&D 5e, when you multiclass, you track your hit dice separately for each class you've taken levels in. For example, if you have 5 levels in Ranger and 5 levels in Rogue, you will have 5d10 hit dice from your Ranger levels and 5d8 hit dice from your Rogue levels. This means you can choose which hit dice to use when you spend them to regain hit points during short rests, allowing for flexibility in managing your character's health recovery based on the classes you've combined.

How do hit dice work for monsters?

The hit dice a monster gets is determined by their size.

Monster size

Hit die













Monsters also have the ability to heal by spending hit dice as per the usual rules.

Roll your hit dice in style

Hit dice are a fundamental aspect of your character's vitality in Dungeons & Dragons 5e. Whether you're determining your starting hit points, recovering during short rests, or levelling up, hit dice play a crucial role in your character's survival. With a solid understanding of how hit dice work, you're better equipped for your epic adventures in the world of D&D. May your rolls be high, and your adventures legendary!

If you're ready to embark on your next campaign, don't forget to check out our collection of DND dice sets. Whether you're looking for sharp-edged resin dice, something unique like our duck dice set, or a set of metal dice that jingle, we have something to suit everyone.

RuffRuff App RuffRuff App by Tsun
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.