A 5E Hit Die House Rule Idea

I have finished reading through the 5E Basic Rules I had printed out at Office Depot. Although I was very skeptical before the release of any 5E product, I am very happy that my initial suspicions were unfounded. I am looking forward to getting the Starter Set in several days and I have been coming up with ideas for adventures when I get a home campaign up and running.

This is the first Wizards edition of D&D that I want to play by the book. The course of D&D has been righted with this release and I am very much looking forward to getting the PHB. I had originally intended to wait until I evaluated the Starter Set and played a few sessions but I am enjoying the Basic Rules enough that I am ready to dive in.

I am in no rush to get started on a big list of house rules. I have not even played a session yet. It seems like a pretty solid rule set and I do not want to go messing around with it before I give the rules as written a good workout. That does not mean I have no ideas for any house rules at all. I do, in fact, have an idea or two that I may implement in the future to see how well they work in actual play.

Hit Die
I think the Hit Die for Fighters (d10) and Clerics (d8) is perfect. I think it makes sense that the Rogue and Wizard both use a smaller Hit Die than the Cleric and Fighter; they both use a d6. I am thinking of changing the Hit Die for Rogues to a d6 and for Wizards to a d4 for no other reason than to fit my perception.

Page 7 of the Basic Rules state that “…hit points define how tough your character is in combat and other dangerous situations.” It makes more sense to me to have the Rogue less tough than the Cleric because the Cleric represents a type of warrior priest instead of a devout member of the clergy. It makes sense for the Wizard to also be less tough than the Rogue and the other classes as well. I wonder if a d4 is too low. I did double check the B/X rules and both the Thief and Magic-User use a d4 for hit points. Interesting.

Final Thoughts
Who knows if I will implement this change any time soon. I can see a few things that I could start working on right now. New races, classes, backgrounds, and trinkets come to mind pretty quickly. I believe I will wait on most of these to see what is in the PHB. Why duplicate something that is coming out in an official write up in a short while? If I work on anything else it will probably be trinkets because that would be a small investment of time if something was duplicated. Have any of you experimented with any house rules yet? Do you have a new race, class, or a rules mod you would like to share?


6 thoughts on “A 5E Hit Die House Rule Idea

  1. RE: Dropping the HD for Rogues and Wizards.

    Monsters hit much harder in 5E than they do in 1E or certainly than they do in BX, and they also are going to hit more often than in either of those games (see “bounded accuracy”). The increased HD really isn’t a game breaker and you simply need to remember that HP is also “Great gouts of spurting luck” not just simply “physical toughness.” It also defines that somewhat indefinable “will to live” – and who is to say that Rogues and Wizards don’t have either of those in abundance?

    Also, essentially every medium sized creature is going to have a d8 HD, and making the Rogue HD brings that in line with that rule – and the slightly lesser HD of a Wizard is a nod to their lessened physicality in combat.

    In any case, good luck and have fun! We are really enjoying 5E, more than we though we were going to.


    • Thanks for the feedback! It was an idea that popped in my head after hearing some grumbling about it on a few forum posts. I ran with it and decided to post it up here. I still very much want to run 5E by the book for exactly the reason you state in your reply. I think people tend to forget that HP does not represent physical damage only. I am still digging the Basic Rules and I look forward to getting all of the big 3 because I keep hearing from everyone about how much they enjoy 5E even though they thought they wouldn’t; at least not as much as they are enjoying it.

      • Yeah, as you can see from my blog it is pretty easy to add things – they did a really good job of making things “modular” in that respect. My biggest “house rule” has simply been to re-write the races – and that comes from having a very well established game world with some equally well-established conventions when it comes to what the various races can do inherently.

        Of the big three I’d say that you want the PH and the DMG the most, the free monsters available online are more than enough to get you started. But the extra player options in the forms of Archtypes, Schools, Domains, etc as well as simply more character classes make the PH a “must buy” in my book and the DMG has a fair number of “options” that let you dial things up and down from the grit of 1E and BX to the Four-Color Superheroics of 4E – plus all the magic items and campaign rules – that make it a solid buy.

        Hope to see you posting about a 5E game soon!


      • I have seen that from your blog and some others! 5E looks to be right up my alley and I am definitely going “all in” when I buy in. I am going to go do some more digging around on your posts here shortly.

        I think you can count on it! If we weren’t in the middle of doing a move soon then I would have already gotten something going but I’m going to wait so everything will kick off smoothly.

      • I think that what I like is that the modular nature makes it easy to add houserules without it feeling as “bolted on” as it could in 1E.

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