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D&D 5E Long Rest/HD: I've been doing it wrong

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
So I discovered this evening that my group has been doing recovering HD after a long rest wrong. The group looks to me to know the rules, so it is not like anyone was pulling a fast one, I just got it wrong (somehow) and then explained it wrong.

Basically, I have been letting PCs get all their HD back after a long rest. Honestly, I think I am not going to change it. Keeping track of HD this way just seems like more book-keeping and so far I am not sure it would have ever made a difference. The group just hit 4th level, so maybe it will make a bigger difference at higher levels? I also just hate that after we've been playing one way for nearly a year, to say "You now get less." Not sure. What would you do?
 

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jgsugden

Legend
Neither version breaks the game, so you have my unnecessary blessing to continue.

The amount of impact it has on the game will depend upon how often your PCs take short rests and how wounded they get before taking them. In my campaigns, players players tend to get caught up in the story and do not optimize break times. As such, they often are not using those hit dice for healing. As a result, they rarely use half of them, so when they recover them there is effectively no different between recovering half of your total or getting back all of them.

In other games in which I've been a player, where every rest involves a wandering monster roll and a long rest involves several, we often see all of those hit dice spent - so this would make a bigger difference. However, in the end, it would likely mean the PCs retreating to a safer place a bit earlier in the adventure - but no other real impacts.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
How you handle rest and recovery varies by the design of the adventure and campaign. It needn't be just one way all the time. Mine changes up frequently to suit the sort of game I am presenting. Generally speaking, I do use half HD recovered on a long rest since that's what the rules say. (Often I will vary the time or conditions required to take a short or long rest.)

Your specific issue is one of setting expectations. You said one thing, played under that understanding, then discovered it's actually another thing. So you can either admit the mistake and correct it in my view or admit the mistake and say you're not correcting it for the remainder of this adventure or campaign. Choose whatever works best mechanically for the kind of game you're running.
 

I'd tell your players you just noticed you've been doing this rule wrong and ask if they want to change or keep using it like you have been. Or say that you're planning on keeping it the same as you have been unless they want to change.
Whether or not it really matters much depends on your game. Most games I've played, it wouldn't make a huge difference. If your players take lots of short rests and consistently use all their HD in a day without many chances to have a couple long rests in a row (like traveling a few days or having a few days of downtime/little fighting), then it would make a difference. At that point, it's whether your game is going for a more intense, gritty feel where using HD becomes a risk or a more heroic feel where using HD every day isn't as big of a deal. Whichever works for your table.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Oh no! The only way to correct such a terrible mistake is to immediately kill off all of the players in surprise ambush of terrible tarrasques and ethereal mummies and then start fresh with the correct rules.

....I kid. The rules are nothing more than suggestions. If the de facto house ruling is working for you, keep going. I would probably mention that you’re using a modified version just so the players aren’t confused if they are playing at another table.
 

aco175

Legend
It took me a while to notice that one as well and we never changed. Like the other said, it only matters if the PCs are taking too many rests. Having all your HD back allows you to keep moving through the dungeon for longer as well.
 

Quartz

Adventurer
"You now get less." Not sure. What would you do?

Correct your grammar? :D :D :D

Something you might consider is letting characters recover 1 HD on a Short Rest and a number of HD equal to their Proficiency Bonus on a Long Rest. This benefits low-level characters
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I'd say keep it like that BUT use the ''natural recovery'' from the DMG aka they dont regain any HP on a long rest: they need to spend HDs to recover just like during a short rest.

So they have more HD than ''by the rules'' in a single day, but their need for them is also increased.
 

ph0rk

Friendship is Magic, and Magic is Heresy.
Half HD is good because it makes resource attrition still a thing; obviously whenever the group gets two long rests in a row that's all wiped away.

It also makes having HD of different sizes not much of a problem, as you get to choose which ones refresh.
 

BacchusNL

Explorer
We used to make the same mistake in the exact same way in my old group. When we changed to the intended rule the games have been significantly more fun imo, leading to more difficult decision making. However I do think this is mostly relevant to groups that follow your standard adventuring day. If most of your days are just 1 or 2 encounters where everyone blows their load and then refills then YMMV I think.
 




GlassJaw

Hero
I had a player would could NEVER remember the long rest rules. Every time a long rest came up, I would explain it and he would look at me like I had 2 heads. Not the sharpest tack in the bunch...

I like half-HD/long rest. There's plenty of healing in the game so it adds some important resource management to the game. But with the bevy of healing mechanics out there, it wouldn't change much.

Just expect your players to burn through their HD during short rests and be at or closer to max hit points more of the time.
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
Half HD is good because it makes resource attrition still a thing; obviously whenever the group gets two long rests in a row that's all wiped away.
Agreed on the resources - PCs have to keep track of HP, XP, GP, and healing potions. Might as well keep track of HD too.

I don't think "obvious" plays into it though; why would a long rest restore all HP but not all HD? Where I come from, a rest gets you 1 HP back :geek:
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I don't think "obvious" plays into it though; why would a long rest restore all HP but not all HD? Where I come from, a rest gets you 1 HP back :geek:
Yeah, I think that was my confusion - that PCs would get all their HPs back but not their HD. I read the first part and assumed the latter.

Anyway, like I said, I am fine keeping it as is for now (though I will be informing the players), but was also curious in general how folks handle rules snafus that have been going on a while.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I had a player would could NEVER remember the long rest rules. Every time a long rest came up, I would explain it and he would look at me like I had 2 heads. Not the sharpest tack in the bunch...
To be fair, it’s in my experience one of the most commonly house-ruled elements of the game, so if your player has played with other DMs, that could be part of what’s throwing them off. I have a player who likewise never remembers what they get back after a long rest. They play in two other games with other DMs online, and every time they take a long rest, they ask what they get back. I say, “just the standard, go up to full HP and get half your hit dice back,” and they reply, “every DM I’ve ever played with does long rests differently, so I can never remember what it’s supposed to be.” Every time.
 

So I discovered this evening that my group has been doing recovering HD after a long rest wrong. The group looks to me to know the rules, so it is not like anyone was pulling a fast one, I just got it wrong (somehow) and then explained it wrong.

Basically, I have been letting PCs get all their HD back after a long rest. Honestly, I think I am not going to change it. Keeping track of HD this way just seems like more book-keeping and so far I am not sure it would have ever made a difference. The group just hit 4th level, so maybe it will make a bigger difference at higher levels? I also just hate that after we've been playing one way for nearly a year, to say "You now get less." Not sure. What would you do?
If that's not a problem for your table... don't bother with the change. I would probably make it a house rule that HD recover fully every day. When I run, I almost always play this way either by rule or by magic item.

It may be useful to know that during the playtest for D&D Next, the rule was that you recovered all your hit dice every long rest. IIRC, it wasn't until the very last playtest packet that that changed, and not everyone agreed with it (me, for example). I thought it made short rest even less rewarding, and we already struggled to justify short rests as it was.

It was only changed because some people complained that the PCs couldn't get attritioned out of a dungeon even when they didn't have magical healing. They wanted healing to be more difficult, and this was the half-measure that WotC came up with to appease them. Personally, I think those games probably would be further along to use 8 hour short rests and 5 day long rests.
 

Benjamin Olson

Adventurer
I think full hit die recovery can actually be a better balance at low levels, in campaigns without a healer, or in a straight dungeon crawl. Keeping a healthy supply of health going may mean making the group willing to press through more combats in the day overall and hence actually operate at fewer non-hp resources on average.

I did once ask my DM to just let us get full hit dice recovery. It was a published level-3-5 dungeon crawl, and it just felt like in a campaign situation where you basically just have a set number of encounters to work your way through at your group's pace over the course of continuous days, half hit die overly-incentivized us long resting. I feel a little bad that I'm not currently extending the same generosity now that that DM is a player in my campaign, but it is a travel and exploration oriented campaign with lots of low resource expenditure days of traveling, so when they finally get to a couple days of really wearing down their resources I want them to feel the impact.
 

Dragonsbane777

Explorer
We have it kind of the opposite, you get 1 HD during a long rest and only 1 hp/lv during a long rest as well. The players like the fact that after two or three days in a dungeon they need to go to a town for a few days rest (at least). It made the game seem more realistic as well as stretch out time for stories. Plus, it makes time crunch adventures even more tense with important decisions about where and when to rest make a real difference.
 

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