Friday, July 13, 2012

Starting Hit Points

A topic that's been beaten to death, with numerous opinions, styles, and house rules.

Yet, I really have to question how much it matters? Whether the wizard has 1 hp or 4 hp, a goblin with a bow or short sword will likely kill him with a single blow. I tend to be inclined toward making characters roll, but allowing either a reroll (take what you get, even if it's lower) or taking half the maximum.

While it doesn't seem to make much difference at 1st level, it can make a big difference at second level. A wizard getting a pair of 4s vs one that got a 2 and a 3 can actually survive a hit from that same goblin, even if it rolls high!

Of course using the rule that hit points are rerolled every level (without a base) then that isn't a consideration...

So I'm curious what my readers do. I have a poll up on the right.


  1. I actually prefer to have people roll hit points, but some of my players prefer maximum. In my two games I'm doing both.

  2. I had to take max. I do agree that at first level it doesn't matter too much in the grand scheme of things, but it does give a slight psychological edge, and the best result to build on for future levels.

  3. I've tinkered with all sorts of methods andd the simple soluution of "roll and try to live with the results" seems to work best.

  4. Highest of 3 rolls. You'd be surprised how many characters still end up with weak HP under that rule.

    1. Your comment screams for Excel charts comparing the probability distributions involved, Mr Roger.

  5. I depends somewhat on the nature of the campaign I am in (epic fantasy migth start with full or schlubs robbing tombs just take yer damn roll).

    Right now we play roll your die, accept it or roll again, but the second roll is always binding. When you level, roll a single new die & accept it or...

  6. The campaign I'm running started as a first-timer learning campaign, so I gave my players max hp through level 3 and then made them start rolling. Seemed to work pretty well. They're now level 12, so any early benefit has long since been blended in.

  7. No rolling hit points, they are calculated based on level, attack bonus (fighters are tougher than wizards, deal with it), and Constitution.