5E Why different HD types for classes? (Another HP thread...)

dnd4vr

Adventurer
Before you say anything, "Yes, yes, another hit point thread... ARG!"

(Deep breath...)

Okay, so I posted about this in my other thread, but not wanting to derail that I decided to start fresh.

Why do different classes have different HD types?

Now, for the purposes of my question, I am making an assumption that you prescribe to the "abstract" HP camp where HP are a combination of several factors: physical endurance, mental endurance, skill, luck, favor, sixth-sense, etc. If you are in the "HP = meat only (or meat mostly)" camp then larger HD size makes sense for warriors and lower ones for weaker wizardy-types.

You could argue a fighter is "tougher" and can take a beating better, sure, but in the same light I can argue a rogue could have better luck or a wizard a better sixth-sense. Are those weighted less compared to physical endurance? Do you think a battler's skill is superior in combat so they get more HP? Well, wouldn't a caster be better at resisting the damage caused by other spells? HP don't differentiate between the source of the damage, so to say a barbarian gets more HP, even to resist the damage from spells, doesn't make much sense if those HP are earned during a career where the character mostly resisted weapon and natural attack damage.

Also, since front-liners tend to have better Constitution scores anyway because they want more HP, what impact would a flat universal d8 have? Would it hurt them that much, really?

FWIW, I don't really have an issue with HD, this is more about understanding a consistent and logical rationale for different HD sizes if you subscribe to the abstract HP concept.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
So they play differently. Let's look at an example .I've got a bladesinger wizard in our 3e game. Offensively, he can pack a pretty good punch in melee with his sword and has a great AC while in his method of combat (even better with a shield spell) because he has a good Dex and very good Int. What's stopping me from taking him front line and playing like a fighter? Relatively low hit points. He's got a punch but not the endurance so I play him differently than I'd play a fighter.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Also, since front-liners tend to have better Constitution scores anyway because they want more HP, what impact would a flat universal d8 have? Would it hurt them that much, really?
Yes.

If anything, we should kick full casters to the curb with d4s for hit dice.

Not just because it would better differentiate them, but because people should be punished for playing full casters. And nothing is more punishing than being made to "roll"* a d4.


*Actual rolling not included.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
So they play differently. Let's look at an example .I've got a bladesinger wizard in our 3e game. Offensively, he can pack a pretty good punch in melee with his sword and has a great AC while in his method of combat (even better with a shield spell) because he has a good Dex and very good Int. What's stopping me from taking him front line and playing like a fighter? Relatively low hit points. He's got a punch but not the endurance so I play him differently than I'd play a fighter.
Funny coincidence, my next character might be a bladesinger for 5E. :)

But the question is why should his HD, and thus HP, be less? As I said in the OP, the other front-liners probably have better CON scores, so their increased HP is reflected in that already.

Is the luck, skill, favor, etc. your character have equal or less than the front-liners? Does their extra meat ability outweigh everything else? That's fine if you think that, but I feel like it goes against the abstract-theory of HP.
 

Phazonfish

Explorer
Yes.

If anything, we should kick full casters to the curb with d4s for hit dice.

Not just because it would better differentiate them, but because people should be punished for playing full casters. And nothing is more punishing than being made to "roll"* a d4.


*Actual rolling not included.
As someone who plays almost exclusively full casters, I agree wholeheartedly. Except that last sentence, there are definitely more punishing situations involving d4's than rolling them.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
Yes.

If anything, we should kick full casters to the curb with d4s for hit dice.

Not just because it would better differentiate them, but because people should be punished for playing full casters. And nothing is more punishing than being made to "roll"* a d4.


*Actual rolling not included.
Yes ... and so?

What, if anything, is this post supposed to be contributing. I little more clarity would be appreciated. :)
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
As someone who plays almost exclusively full casters, I agree wholeheartedly. Except that last sentence, there are definitely more punishing situations involving d4's than rolling them.
What are you agreeing to? You realize in my OP I am actually for giving full casters d8 for HP??? What is this obsession with d4's and casters.... :unsure:
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
As someone who plays almost exclusively full casters, I agree wholeheartedly. Except that last sentence, there are definitely more punishing situations involving d4's than rolling them.
That's true.

Owning a full collection of d4s is similar to providing legos to toddlers.

It is always done with the best of intentions, but darn, you're going to be stepping on those later.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Yes ... and so?

What, if anything, is this post supposed to be contributing. I little more clarity would be appreciated. :)
Well, I made a joke because IMO (and in all honesty) this is a very silly discussion.

If hit points are meat, then it also doesn't really matter what the hit dice are set for, because you could have a big ol' wizard. With tons o' meat.

It's only when you agree that, to some extent, hit points are an abstraction for various game concepts that you then understand that you can set them at (somewhat) arbitrary amounts; specifically, you are balancing between melee/martial characters and pew pew pew characters.

You can always quibble about the amounts (d4 or d6 for casters, d10 or d12 for martials, etc.), but it is (and always has been) a balancing aspect related to the abstract concept of hit points, not a "meat" aspect.


In short, the differnce has nothing to do with the "meat" v. "abstract," and, worse, this will likely just become another "meat" v "abstract" discussion.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Okay, so I posted about this in my other thread, but not wanting to derail that I decided to start fresh.

Why do different classes have different HD types?
Honestly? Because hit dice are determined by game balance.

Now, for the purposes of my question, I am making an assumption that you prescribe to the "abstract" HP camp where HP are a combination of several factors: physical endurance, mental endurance, skill, luck, favor, sixth-sense, etc. If you are in the "HP = meat only (or meat mostly)" camp then larger HD size makes sense for warriors and lower ones for weaker wizardy-types.
So, here's what's happening:

Back in time, an abstract mechanic was created, to make a game playable. Some units were a bit low-damage output, but tough, others were high damage, acting largely at range, but glass canons. And there were varying degrees on this spectrum (d4s through d12s for hit dice).

An interpretation/description of the mechanic in narrative terms was developed, so it made at least a little sense in the fiction that results from play.

Now, you are using that narrative description, assuming it is a statement of simulation intent, to go back and adjust the mechanic - as if the description was the important and real functional bit, when it isn't. You are thus putting the cart before the horse.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
Well, I made a joke because IMO (and in all honesty) this is a very stupid discussion.

If hit points are meat, then it also doesn't really matter what the hit dice are set for, because you could have a big ol' wizard. With tons o' meat.

It's only when you agree that, to some extent, hit points are an abstraction for various game concepts that you then understand that you can set them at (somewhat) arbitrary amounts; specifically, you are balancing between melee/martial characters and pew pew pew characters.

You can always quibble about the amounts (d4 or d6 for casters, d10 or d12 for martials, etc.), but it is (and always has been) a balancing aspect related to the abstract concept of hit points, not a "meat" aspect.

In short, the differnce has nothing to do with the "meat" v. "abstract," and, worse, this will likely just become another "meat" v "abstract" discussion.
Fine. It is pretty simple. If you don't like a discussion, don't participate. There is no reason to make a joke (even a stupid one) when someone wants to actually have a discussion on the topic.

As I stipulated in the OP, this isn't a "meat" HP issue. It is a carryover from prior editions and something I think warrants discussion and consideration. Other aspects of the game balance things out to make battlers tougher. Also, half the classes already use a d8 anyway. At 10 levels, even, you're typically talking about a difference of about a dozen HP?
 

ccs

39th lv DM
It's an abstraction of the classes focus on physical prowess & fighting ability.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Fine. It is pretty simple. If you don't like a discussion, don't participate. There is no reason to make a joke (even a stupid one) when someone wants to actually have a discussion on the topic.
It is a curious fact that people are never so trivial as when they take themselves seriously; as such, I endeavor, at all times, to avoid that terrible fate.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
It is a curious fact that people are never so trivial as when they take themselves seriously; as such, I endeavor, at all times, to avoid that terrible fate.
It isn't a fact. Avoid whatever you want, Oscar... like maybe this thread? ;)
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
The warrior types have more HP because they need more HP in order to go into melee combat.

The only classes that have below Commoner (d8) hp are the Wizard and the Sorcerer. You could argue that's strange, but it's also sort of reflected in the fluff of Warlocks, who canonically "cheat" to get their arcane prowess by having an intermediary like Clerics and Druids do. Which leaves Bards as the only class that doesn't really fit the mold, though you could argue that they are all cheats too.
 
Also, since front-liners tend to have better Constitution scores anyway because they want more HP
I don't think that is true. Because concentration.

I find that constitution tends to be the second or third highest stat for the vast majority of PCs, irrespective of class.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
The warrior types have more HP because they need more HP in order to go into melee combat.

The only classes that have below Commoner (d8) hp are the Wizard and the Sorcerer. You could argue that's strange, but it's also sort of reflected in the fluff of Warlocks, who canonically "cheat" to get their arcane prowess by having an intermediary like Clerics and Druids do. Which leaves Bards as the only class that doesn't really fit the mold, though you could argue that they are all cheats too.
I understand that of course, but they also tend to have better ACs, which reflects that need in combat IMO.

And bards cheat at everything. :)

I don't think that is true. Because concetration.

I find that constitution tends to be the second or third highest stat for the vast majority of PCs, irrespective of class.
I completely agree CON tends to be no worse than 3rd IME for most characters, but even so I think you'll find warrior-types still normally have better CONs on average. I won't say it is much higher, but probably a +1 bonus on average. Of course, player preference and tables vary so this might not be you experience.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
So, the real answer is that it was conceived as a game balance tool and nowadays is mostly a legacy mechanic. But if you want to know in terms of the fiction why some classes have larger hit dice, it’s a combination of physical toughness and conditioning that comes with physical combat, and skill at reducing the impact of a strike that comes from training and experience. While the wizard spent his time studying spells, the fighter spent her time practicing getting hit by things.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
I understand that of course, but they also tend to have better ACs, which reflects that need in combat IMO.
That's kind of debatable honestly. I see a lot of warrior types picking up a two-handed weapon (or possibly even two weapons) of some kind, which would put them at a disadvantage in the AC department against anyone using a shield.

AC also doesn't cover damage which comes from saving throws, like a Dragon's breath weapon, which the Warrior types are expected to bear the brunt of.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I completely agree CON tends to be no worse than 3rd IME for most characters, but even so I think you'll find warrior-types still normally have better CONs on average. I won't say it is much higher, but probably a +1 bonus on average. Of course, player preference and tables vary so this might not be you experience.
In my experience it’s everyone’s second or third highest stat, depending on how MAD or SAD the class is.
 

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