Are you required to spend hit dice to take a short rest?

I couldn't find this anywhere, but my DM is adamant on the idea that in order to benefit from a short rest, you have to spend a hit die. I haven't found anything that supports this. Is he right, or is he maybe just DM house-ruling it?

I mainly was wondering because I play a wizard and it would be helpful to know whether I can use my Arcane Recovery feature during a short rest that others are taking.


1 Answer 1


Hit Dice are not required to be spent during a Short Rest to otherwise benefit from it

A short rest is a period of downtime, at least 1 hour long, during which a character does nothing more strenuous than eating, drinking, reading, and tending to wounds.

A character can spend one or more Hit Dice at the end of a short rest, up to the character's maximum number of Hit Dice, which is equal to the character's level. [...]

Short Rest, Player's Handbook, pg. 186

Emphasis mine. If you were required to spend Hit Dice during a Short Rest to take a Short Rest, then the rules would expressly say so, perhaps with language like "A character must spend one or more Hit Dice at the end of a Short Rest in order to benefit from it". But they do not.

So if you're a Wizard trying to use your Arcane Recovery feature, or a Fighter recovering your Action Surge, or a Warlock recovering Spell Slots, or any other character that can gain additional benefits from a Short Rest beyond healing from Hit Dice, you can gain those benefits without spending Hit Dice.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. So I guess he was just house ruling it, from our last campaign to prevent a player in the group from just resting every hour with a short rest so that he could get his druid spell slots back to full. \$\endgroup\$
    – Necrolance
    Commented Jun 29, 2019 at 3:15
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @necrolance a druid can't recover spell slots on a short rest. How are they doing that? \$\endgroup\$
    – daze413
    Commented Jun 29, 2019 at 3:56
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @daze413: Land druids have a feature similar to Arcane Recovery... but it, too, is once per long rest. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Jun 29, 2019 at 4:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Necrolance Oof, your DM appears to be in the midst of a comedy of errors. ;) Land Circle Druids do have a feature that lets them recover a few Spell Slots on one Short Rest.... Only... one Short Rest, per Long Rest. PHB 68, Natural Recovery feature. I respect your DM's intentions to make sure that class features don't overpower the campaign, but I would advise them to pay closer attention to how they work, I think he might find it's not as necessary to revise/houserule things if he better understands their mechanics. \$\endgroup\$
    – Xirema
    Commented Jun 29, 2019 at 5:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Necrolance There is an answer talking about limiting short rests a bit here: rpg.stackexchange.com/a/133653/22403 Your DM may be interested in that one... \$\endgroup\$
    – fabian
    Commented Jun 29, 2019 at 9:57

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