Are there any mechanical implications, short of the fact players can heal more on a short rest, to a house rule allowing them to restore all their expended hit dice after a long rest (instead of only half their total number of hit dice)?

The party recently lost their Cleric, so I instituted the Healing Surge optional rule (DMG, p. 266-267) to allow them to spend Hit Dice as an action in combat to heal themselves. They use this option more frequently than they took short rests prior to the change, but they struggle a bit since they only regain so many hit dice after a long rest. (Currently Level 6).

  • \$\begingroup\$ To be clear, you are having issues with people regularly running out of hit dice? Are they running out more often specifically due to the increased hit dice usage from in-combat healing surges? Or do you think it's just the general lack of a healer that's causing it? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 5, 2020 at 17:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ In in-combat healing surge is directly tied to the lack of a healer. I feel like they are using the dice more often to supplement their lost healing which is why I'm leaning towards more lenient recharging of the hit dice. Just wondering if there are deeper implications. I could also be evil and let monsters recharge the same way if I'm worried a combat is becoming trivial because of their healing. \$\endgroup\$
    – ConfusedDM
    Feb 5, 2020 at 17:54
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Note that giving monsters more hit dice is unlikely to ever have a meaningful effect since most monsters die in the span of 1 combat, so they never get a chance to spend hit dice. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 5, 2020 at 17:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are there any particular reasons you're looking to fiddle with an existing mechanic as opposed to reducing the difficulty/duration of combat encounters? You can get the same mechanical effect with less uncertainty without the Healing Surge, but if you're committed to the Healing Surge then those would be off the table. \$\endgroup\$
    – Upper_Case
    Feb 5, 2020 at 18:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've been liking the mechanic of healing surge so I wouldn't want to take that away from them. \$\endgroup\$
    – ConfusedDM
    Feb 5, 2020 at 18:52

1 Answer 1


Currently, there are none

Under the standard rules, the only use of hit dice is to heal during a short rest. There are effects that care about the number of hit dice a creature has, but those key off of the maximum number, not the current number (for example, the Healer feat.)

Giving your players a faster way to restore hit dice should not affect anything mechanically other than giving the players more opportunities to recover HP (though that, in itself, could have further implications that are beyond the scope of this question.)

In fact, this is how Healing Surges are supposed to work

The Healing Surge optional rule (DMG p.266) supports your ruling, and actually goes further.

A character who uses a healing surge can't do so again until he or she finishes a short or long rest.

Under this optional rule, a character regains all spent Hit Dice at the end of a long rest. With a short rest, a character regains Hit Dice equal to his or her level divided by four (minimum of one die).

DMG p.267

This part of the text is easy to miss, since it wraps over to the next page after a paragraph break, but it is an important feature of the Healing Surge variant.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice find! I forgot that the existing healing surge variant already includes a modification to hit dice recovery. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 6, 2020 at 3:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ "though that, in itself, could have further implications that are beyond the scope of this question." I'm not entirely sure that's true. The effect of long rests restoring more hit dice is that you can use more hit dice per long rest. An answer should address (or try to address) the ramifications of having more healing between long rests as this is the direct result of long rests restoring more hit dice \$\endgroup\$ Feb 6, 2020 at 7:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ My reading of the question is that it was specifically excluding the fact that characters can heal more during a short rest, instead looking for other direct mechanical implications. Certainly possible I misinterpreted it, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – 1600hp
    Feb 6, 2020 at 7:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have to admit I did not take notice of the "all spent Hit Dice at the end of a long rest." was quoted in there! So I was actually handicapping unknowingly heh. Thank you very much for helping with that! \$\endgroup\$
    – ConfusedDM
    Feb 6, 2020 at 20:48

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