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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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A suffusion of yellow
I’ve been using hits instead of Hit points, where hits = HP/10 (round-up)
Eg an Orc takes 2 hits to slay, an Ogre takes 6

Roll to hit v AC, gain +1 hit per 5 points over AC

Average. I will occasionally bump up a boss, especially if the group has been running through the encounters. But, it is always plotted in advance. These decisions are never spur of the moment.


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
96% of the time, I'm using average HPs.

The remaining 1 in 25 is "Og is the runt of the ogres" or "Brandar is the leader of the bandits, big and tough" and I assign HPs in the possible range that match what I envision.

As per the unstated question in the original post - I don't find monsters drop too much if I run enough encounters per long rest, but that's often more than my natural pacing and then I do notice characters nova'ing more and dropping them faster.


I have a python program for running combat. It typically rolls hit points for monsters for me. However, I can set a group of the same monster as having one initiative, and for groups like that it uses the average hit points. These are settings I can change, but I don't remember ever doing so.

I have used max hit points once (for Strahd).


I usually use the average, but, probably like most, if I want the monster to be a bit tougher, I'll turn the dial up when I'm planning the encounter. Particularly if it's a solo creature.

I've tended in 5e to use average, although I might vary it with slightly different numbers if there's a large group, just for variety.

I have been thinking, however, with playing around with a system with a sliding amount of HP based on CR, just to make monsters tougher as levels increase so as to make up for any magic items the characters might have. I've been thinking about a formula of Average HP + (2% x CR) - so, for example, a CR 10 creature would have Average HP + 20% Average HP. This won't hurt low level parties against very low CR creatures; in most if not all cases, even CR 1 creatures won't gain a single extra HP. Very high CR creatures might very well come out above what would normally be their maximum HP, but since that's like CR 25 and above, that's just part of the challenge in taking such powerful creatures down!
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