One of our houserules for Castle Ravenloft is that a player gains full HP as part of leveling up. This was based on a common presumption between the "DM" (technically, CR has no DM per se, but he usually DMs our D&D home games) and players, that the same holds true in regular D&D.

However, after a quick review of the "Gaining Levels" section in PHB, I cannot find a rule that supports this assumption. I inquired of our DM, and he asserted that an extended rest is required to level up and therefore a restoration to full HP is implied.

I checked the PHB again, and was still unable to find such a rule. In fact, the only mention of timing for gaining levels is this:

Each time you overcome a noncombat encounter, defeat monsters, or complete a quest, your Dungeon master awards you experience points (XP). When you earn enough XP, you reach a new level.

Player's Handbook, p. 27

By this text, it would seem that no rest is required at all - you level up immediately upon acquiring the requisite XP. It looks like you should be able to (if you so choose) go from one encounter to the next without even so much as a short rest, and still level up in between.

In fact, by the quoted text alone (correct me if other rules apply) it could be construed that one may even be able to level up in the middle of a combat encounter. This would require that the DM awards XP after each kill - which I'm sure no one wants to bother with - but the "rules as written" seem to allow for it.

So, this question is really two-part:

  • Does leveling up require any rest? If so, is it a short rest or an extended rest that is mandatory?
  • With or without a mandatory rest, does a PC gain full hit points at the new level?
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    \$\begingroup\$ You youngsters! Back in my day we had to rest and study for a month per level before we could level up--and couldn't gain any more xp until we'd finished! And we were happy to have that! \$\endgroup\$
    – Bill K
    May 25, 2013 at 7:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ This comment is only to mention, that your link is dead now. I am actually interested in the first link, so please if you find it somewhere alive, update your question \$\endgroup\$ Jun 12, 2014 at 14:03
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @Drunken_Guy The linked question was closed because it either really wasn't a good fit for the SE format, or it was off-topic for RPG since Ravenloft is technically a board game. (Can't remember which.) Before being closed, it only had one answer - mine. Here's what I had in it: Level increase includes full healing, to new max HP. Teleporting (Fey Step) not affected by Immobilized. Long-range (2+ tiles) attacks are not restricted to line-of-sight. \$\endgroup\$
    – Iszi
    Jun 12, 2014 at 14:34
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Iszi Thanks a lot. And thanks for removing the dead link! \$\endgroup\$ Jun 13, 2014 at 6:26

3 Answers 3


You go up a level at the moment you gain the requisite amount of experience, no matter when the experience is given. The real question is when the Game Master actually gives out the experience. I've seen everything from after every encounter, to after each session (the most common from what I've seen), to after an adventure is complete.

So the bottom line is that you don't need to rest, but if you're GM wants to play the game that way, then that's the way it is (e.g. he's only going to give out the experience after an extended rest).

This is explicitly outlined in DMG 1 on page 121:

XP Per Encounter

Some DMs prefer to give XP after every encounter. ... Others prefer to award XP when the characters stop for an extended rest or at the end of a gaming session. It's purely a matter of personal preference but be mindful of the pace of the session. Don't stop to give out XP if it's going to bring the game to a halt at a tense moment.

Leveling Up

Soem DMs let characters gain the benefits of a new level as soon as they ahve the required XP to reach that level, while others prefer to wait until the characters take an extended rest or even until the end of a session before letting characters level up. That decision is entirely up to you (the DM). ... If leveling up would shatter the pace of the session, put it off until they take an extended rest at least.

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Gaining full hit points when you gain a level is something that people borrowed from the computer game RPG Diablo. It's a semi-popular house rule, but not a published one. \$\endgroup\$
    – RMorrisey
    Oct 7, 2010 at 1:30
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Went ahead and e-mailed WotC. Their response supports this answer: No rest is required, and (sans extended rest or house-rule) no HP is restored. \$\endgroup\$
    – Iszi
    Oct 11, 2010 at 19:07

You've pretty much answered your own question. No, by the rules as written, you do not need a rest to gain a new level, and no, nowhere does it say that you gain hit points at a new level.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, but my question was more posted from a lack of complete resources to draw from. The only books I have on-hand are PHBs 1 & 3. So, I wasn't sure if there were other rules included in the DMG or separate publications which addressed this. \$\endgroup\$
    – Iszi
    Oct 6, 2010 at 16:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not that I know of. 4E is pretty good about keeping all the rules about one topic in one place. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 6, 2010 at 16:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MikeRiverso This statement made me chuckle. One of the things that annoys me about 4E is how spread out the rules are. They had to publish a Rules Compendium eventually because the situation was untenable, and there are still books of errata. \$\endgroup\$
    – DCShannon
    Jun 12, 2014 at 19:19

By the rules, absolutely not. As a roleplaying issue, it is a somewhat common house rule and it makes sense. Gaining a level often involves learning new skills/spells/etc. These all take time to do.


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