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D&D 5E As a DM, how do you handle monster hit points?

I do the following:

  • Average hit points. Always.

    Votes: 28 33.3%
  • I roll dice.

    Votes: 7 8.3%
  • Maximum hit points. Always.

    Votes: 4 4.8%
  • I use a percentage (70% of max, 80% of max, what have you.

    Votes: 3 3.6%
  • It depends on the monster/NPC.

    Votes: 35 41.7%
  • Minimum hit points, combat is boring, let's get it over with!

    Votes: 1 1.2%
  • Something else.

    Votes: 6 7.1%


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For mooks, I've set my VTT to roll for hit points when I drop them on the board.

For more important enemy encounters I might increase the hit points but have learned over time that it is better to tweak other things like attacks, abilities, terrain, equipment, legendary actions (or "villain actions" from MCDM's Flee! Mortals!), adding additional enemies to buff and protect the big bad and give the players more to worry about, and just thinking more about enemy tactics (the Monsters Know What They Are Doing book series and blog are a good resource for this). Generally, just increasing the hit points does nothing to make an encounter more interesting.

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If I have time, I roll randomly for most creatures. If I don't have time, I'll try to take a few minutes to at least adjust them a bit from average (total HP will be the same, however). Boss monsters usually have 75% HP as a way to show them as more powerful, but rarely I'll make a boss have max HP instead.

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Yeah same. If I adjust that I'd probably just add HD and adjust the CR. If players don't get to roll - and no group I've played 5E with has ever rolled for HP - then I don't see why monsters would, doesn't really make sense. Sometimes I'd make them a few HP higher/lower just to avoid the actual precise number being obvious, but not usually even that.
You know that's a fair point. I wonder if players should be allowed to roll hit points. Guess that's another poll topic.


He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...

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