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

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
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.

Yeah, legacy indeed.

So what of the rogue who grew up on the tough streets, getting in fights and such, surviving both on physical toughness and conditioning as well as luck and sixth-sense? What of the cleric who served as a soldier before adventuring and was crusader of sorts, getting in battles as well as having the favor of his god to protect him?

Why should these classes have d8 and a fighter or other such have d10 or better?
 

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dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
Correct - note that this isn't just "so the fighter has more meat". The figher has more of all the things you need to keep operating when folks are trying to hurt you.

So, he has more skill, luck, favor, and all the other abstract features that comprise HP? I see no reason why that is true.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Why should these classes have d8 and a fighter or other such have d10 or better?

Because, again, the narrative follows the mechanic. You cannot create an arbitrary backstory, and use that backstory to justify arbitrary mechanical adjustments, or the gameplay falls apart.

Pick your backstory, but remember that you can't have everything! Then choose the class that fits the backstory. You cant be as good as a fighter at fighting and as good as a rogue at skills and cast magic just like a wizard. You can write an arbitrary characer backstory that justifies all of them, but for game balance reasons you have to choose.

So, if they really fight as much as a fighter, they should be a fighter class, perhaps with a background that fits their street-upbringing. If they were really a rouge, who did a lot of fighting, you take a rogue, with maybe some melee-oriented subclass. But remember that the fighter still did more fighting than you did, and can take more punishment as a result.
 
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Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Yeah, legacy indeed.

So what of the rogue who grew up on the tough streets, getting in fights and such, surviving both on physical toughness and conditioning as well as luck and sixth-sense? What of the cleric who served as a soldier before adventuring and was crusader of sorts, getting in battles as well as having the favor of his god to protect him?

Why should these classes have d8 and a fighter or other such have d10 or better?
Why do people keep trying to take things from the poor, poor Fighter?
Isn't it enough that the Thief/Rogue stole being good at physical tasks from them, now they have to burgle the Fighters HP?
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
While the wizard spent his time studying spells, the fighter spent her time practicing getting hit by things.

And of course those caster-types practiced getting in fights with other casters so they would know better how to handle spells they might face. This includes damaging spells where saves are part of it maybe, of also aren't. I could easily imagine an apprentice wizard tossing a single magic missile at another to practice learning to shrug off damage.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
So, he has more skill, luck, favor, and all the other abstract features that comprise HP? I see no reason why that is true.

No, because that's not how abstracts work. Hit points represent a lot of possible things. The fighter's aggregate "can take physical punishment" is greater, whatever bits it is. If you want to say that is mostly meat and dodging skill, that's fine.

The point is, and I again repeat - do not use the narrative description as the basis for mechanical choice. Use it to make sensible fiction. When the fighter survives a fireball, you narrate it because of his dodging ability. For the rouge, you say it is luck. For the wizard, you say it is sixth-sense. But, overall, the fighter has greater ability to take the damage the world throws at them. The figher has more meat and dodging ability than the wizard has sixth sense.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
Because, again, the narrative follows the mechanic. You cannot create an arbitrary backstory, and use that backstory to justify arbitrary mechanical adjustments.

Pick yoru backstory. Then choose the class that fits the backstory, knowing going in that you can't have everything. You cant be as good as a fighter at fighting and as good as a rogue at skills and cast magic just like a wizard. You can write an arbitrary characer backstory that justifies all of them, but for game balance reasons you have to choose.

So, if they really fight as much as a fighter, they should be a fighter class, perhaps with a background that fits their street-upbringing.

I get all that, but that doesn't balance out the issue of how abstract HP are gained. I'll give you an example of how luck/favor works out.

When I was in 7th grade I was hit, full on, by a car when I was skateboarding. Honestly, it easily could have killed me. I was lucky. I went face-first into the windshield, shattering it, rolled over the car, and flew about a dozen feet before landing on the road. Now, as an active youth in pretty good shape, I might have had a couple or even three HP for "meat" purposes, but I never go in fights or anything like that--so I certainly wasn't "tough", I was also a bookworm and D&D nerd. ;) Any additional HP I would have had would have been maybe from the sixth-sense, luck, and divine favor? Who knows? My point is that a wizard could just as easily have 10 HP with a decent CON due to those other factors as a fighter with 10 HP (assuming d8) and a similar CON would have from other factors.

You can bring up the "game balance" argument, but there are other ways the game is balanced out, so I really can't buy that anymore.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
No, because that's not how abstracts work. Hit points represent a lot of possible things. The fighter's aggregate "can take physical punishment" is greater, whatever bits it is. If you want to say that is mostly meat and dodging skill, that's fine.

The point is, and I again repeat - do not use the narrative description as the basis for mechanical choice. Use it to make sensible fiction. When the fighter survives a fireball, you narrate it because of his dodging ability. For the rouge, you say it is luck. For the wizard, you say it is sixth-sense. But, overall, the fighter has greater ability to take the damage the world throws at them. The figher has more meat and dodging ability than the wizard has sixth sense.
So, you do value meat and dodging over sixth-sense, favor, luck, or whatever else is involved that the wizard has? Why is that (other than game balance)?
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
... You are thus putting the cart before the horse.

I would also say that the horse is dead and has been for quite a while.

HP are the worst possible option, but better than other alternatives for their goal.

We want a fighter to be a big tough that can take a beating and keep on ticking. That's it. It doesn't really matter how you justify it or if there's no justification at all. It's a simple rule that makes the game easy to play that does it's job well enough.
 
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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Truth be told... if you are looking for a number that is "representative" of a character's meat/luck/sixth sense (in whatever quantities/proportions you want)... that number is the CON modifier. Any character can have high CON score regardless of class, and everyone gets the same amount of HP per CON score regardless of class. So your "tough" rogue or your "intuitive" fighter or your "lucky" wizard all have that shown off by the HP they get from their CON modifier.

The HP gained from hit dice are there as a game balance mechanic-- narratively-speaking nothing more, nothing less.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
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.
IME, Con exist in a total range of 13-16, for all character types except some barbarians who max it out.

So, yeah, IME the actual die makes a pretty big difference.

Also a single die step makes a noticeable difference if you’re using the static HP gain rule.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Yeah, legacy indeed.

So what of the rogue who grew up on the tough streets, getting in fights and such, surviving both on physical toughness and conditioning as well as luck and sixth-sense? What of the cleric who served as a soldier before adventuring and was crusader of sorts, getting in battles as well as having the favor of his god to protect him?

Why should these classes have d8 and a fighter or other such have d10 or better?
I mean. They have d8, which is higher than the frail casters and lower than the fighters who do this stuff full-time.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
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?

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.

You're trying to narrow the abstraction down, but really you can't. It's like Schrödinger's cat... when you open the HP box to define it, you lose something related to its quantum nature.

Ultimately they have different HD because game balance as others have said.

Narratively, higher HD equate to beings who are potentially tough/more physical. I mean you could have a Wizard who rolls max every time on their HD who ends up with more Hit Points than a Barbarian who rolls minimum every time.

HD just represents the potential toughness pool assigned to a given class.

Barbarians are the toughest son-of-a-gun out there because they "wrastle baars". What's a puny little magic missile to them?

Wizards spend all their time inside, not facing threatening encounters. If you seriously think in the fiction that wizards get "tougher" at resisting damage by taking damage from spells, sorry but I think you're crazy. If they wanted to take damage they wouldn't have spent years learning how to alter reality to suit their whims. Why practice taking damage when I can learn a couple of spells that shield me from harm in the first place?

As to the rough and tumble street rogue. Well, they do have better HP than wizards, etc. But not as much as people who've spent their early lives dealing with threats to themselves like Barbarians and Fighters.

Personally I'd love it if they pushed the wizard back to d4's. I'd also put Warlocks down to a d6 with Sorcerers though. Everyone else is probably ok where they are.
 

the Jester

Legend
Yeah, legacy indeed.

So what of the rogue who grew up on the tough streets, getting in fights and such, surviving both on physical toughness and conditioning as well as luck and sixth-sense? What of the cleric who served as a soldier before adventuring and was crusader of sorts, getting in battles as well as having the favor of his god to protect him?

Why should these classes have d8 and a fighter or other such have d10 or better?

Did you just basically say, "Yeah, but no"?

As others have said, the reasoning is game balance. It's not about anything more than that. If you want an in-game fictional reason, you can posit that the fighter has more hps because, despite that rogue's hard life, the rogue wasn't actively trained to take hits and be a meat shield. The fighter was. Same with your crusader-priest- for every day of training in prayer and the like, he misses a day of training in how to be a meat shield.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
And of course those caster-types practiced getting in fights with other casters so they would know better how to handle spells they might face. This includes damaging spells where saves are part of it maybe, of also aren't. I could easily imagine an apprentice wizard tossing a single magic missile at another to practice learning to shrug off damage.
And that wizard would benefit from a higher Con score.

But he still spent most of his time studying magic.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
And of course those caster-types practiced getting in fights with other casters so they would know better how to handle spells they might face. This includes damaging spells where saves are part of it maybe, of also aren't. I could easily imagine an apprentice wizard tossing a single magic missile at another to practice learning to shrug off damage.
I don’t think that’s part of the story of the D&D wizard.
 

Why do different classes have different HD types?

TRADITION!.png


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.
It Does? The Gnome Barbarian has d12 HD and the Human Wizard d6 because "meat?"
Seriously, best not to even go there.

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
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.
The fighter is also a highly trained combatant. Could have something to do with it.

Well, wouldn't a caster be better at resisting the damage caused by other spells?
In 1e he was: his save vs spells was superior, on the theory he could interfere with the other magic. In 5e he can cast Counterspell, so, that possibility is covered, and then some.

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.
One thing to consider is that even a 1st level character has had a lot of training - they already have one-third the proficiency bonus they're going to have at 20th! - yet they don't have many hps, at all. Over 20 levels, your skill-based bonus goes from +2 to +6 (triple) your attacks/round (at most if you're a fighter) from 1 to 4 (quadruple), your spells from 1st level to 9th (er … x9) but your Hit Dice go from 1 to 20!!

Hit Dice seem to be more about adventuring experience than anything else in the game.

And, it's not for nothing that the guys with the biggest HD seem to be out there in the front, getting beaten down prettymuch all the time.
 

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