Hit Points

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Hit points (or HP), given in numbers, represent a creature's life force, or an object's structural integrity. They indicate how much damage you or a party member can take before being Downed, and how much damage creatures and items can take before being killed or destroyed.

Taking damage reduces a creatures current hit points, and affects how injured your character appears, with more cuts and bruises appearing as HP percentage drops. Lost hit points are restored by healing or resting.

Determining a character's hit points[edit | edit source]

A character's hit point maximum is primarily determined by their class. Martial classes have more, and spellcasters less.

A character's Constitution modifier also affects their hit point maximum. At first level, and at every level thereafter, the character's Hit Point maximum increases by this value (or decreases, if the character's Constitution is less than 10).

For example, a level 1 Fighter with a Constitution of 15 has a Constitution modifier of +2, and therefore a Hit Point maximum of 10 + 2 = 12 HP. At level 2, this increases by 6 + 2 (from the Fighter and Constitution bonuses, respectively) for a total of 12 + 6 + 2 = 20 HP. At level 3, it increases by +8 again to 28 HP.

By contrast, a level 1 Wizard with a Constitution of 8 has a Constitution modifier of -1, so their starting Hit Point maximum is only 6 - 1 = 5 HP. At level 2, it increases by 4 - 1 = 3, for a total of 8 HP. At level 3, it's another +3, up to 11 HP.

Changing the maximum[edit | edit source]

There are several ways that this basic Hit Point maximum can change:

  • If a character's Constitution modifier changes, it changes the Hit Point maximum retroactively, as though they'd had this modifier from level 1.
    • For example, take the level 3 Fighter from above, with a Hit Point maximum of 28 HP. When they reach level 4, they would normally add another +8 HP, for a total of 36 HP max. But say they take Ability Improvement as their Feat and increase their Constitution by 2, to 17. Now their Constitution modifier is +3, and their new Hit Point maximum is (10 + 3) + (6 + 3) + (6 + 3) + (6 + 3) = 40 HP.

      At the same time, our Wizard takes the Elemental Adept Feat, so they gain their normal +3 HP, for a maximum of only 14 HP - barely a third of what the Fighter has at the same level!

    • This also applies to temporary Constitution adjustments, like those granted by spells or items.
  • Some spells adjust a target's Hit Point maximum - Aid increases it, while Harm decreases it.
  • Some abilities add additional bonuses. For example, both Dwarven Toughness and Draconic Resilience increase the Hit Point maximum by 1 HP per level.
  • Other conditions may also affect the Hit Point maximum, like Thoroughly Stuffed, which adds 12.

At level 10, Necromancy School Wizards gain Inured to Undeath and cannot have their Hit Point maximum reduced.

Going below 0 HP[edit | edit source]

Characters cannot have fewer than zero hit points, or more than their Hit Point maximum.

Temporary hit points are not the same as hit points. They are a separate pool, and gaining or losing temporary hit points does not affect your hit points or your hit point maximum.

Temporary hit points[edit | edit source]

Temporary hit points are additional Hit Points that are lost before your base hit points. They can be obtained from a variety of spells and effects.

Casting False Life with a level 1 slot gives you 7 temporary hit points. Damage you suffer from any source will come out of this pool first. Once all 7 temporary HP are gone, any remaining damage overflows to your normal hit points. For example, if you cast False Life and then suffer 4 damage, you have 3 temporary HP remaining. If you suffer another 5 damage, you lose the remaining temporary Hit Points, and the leftover 2 damage goes to your regular hit points.

You can only have one set of temporary hit points at a time, and healing can't restore them.

Taking damage to your temporary hit points will still cause a Concentration check (when Concentrating), even if the damage doesn't overflow into your base hit points.

Temporary hit points do not remove Downed, and disappear after a long rest.

Stacking temporary hit points[edit | edit source]

Temporary hit points don't combine like you might expect. Usually, casting a second temporary hit points ability overrides the existing one. For example, if you cast False Life with a level 1 slot, you gain 7 temporary hit points. If you step in a trap and lose 5 of them, you still have 2 left. If you cast False Life again, you don't end up with 2+7=9 temporary hit points, you still just have 7.

This also applies if the second source of Temporary Hit Points is larger than the first. Casting Armour of Agathys at level 3 grants 15 temporary HP. These will override your existing 7, not add to them.