I've posted about this house rule before wherein my DM decided that upon levelling up we would add our Constitution modifier to the hitpoints gained.

This was due to our first session where we misread the player handbook and created our base HP using the Constitution modifier instead of the Constitution score. Our paladin took a critical hit from a kobold and, because of this mistake, almost died. Although we fixed our HP, the DM got paranoid and instigated this rule.

In my previous question, I stated that upon doing some calculations I believed that this rule would make the game very imbalanced in the future. The comments and likes seemed to agree with me so I decided to mention this problem to my group.

Unfortunately, the people I have spoken to so far seem very reluctant to change this. One of them is the DM who created the rule (now a member of the party) who claims that in our previous adventure in which he was DM, he actually had to nerf the final battle even with this house rule in place.

Now I don't know what to do. I want to play the game properly but if I bring it up to our new DM either it will change and I could be vilified or everyone might agree with the ones I spoke to and the game will be totally unbalanced and boring later down the line. What should I do?


5 Answers 5


Now I don't know what to do. I want to play the game properly

Properly means everyone is having fun. If you've got a group that wants to bash heads and fear no pain, why take that away from them?

Ultimately it's the GM's call. If the GM thinks the group needs a safety net to have fun, he should keep the rule. If he doesn't, he should drop it. He could also neuter the rule without upping enemy damage. Just say that it applies through heroic tier and then cut it off. I wouldn't retroactively remove HP that were given in error (well, I would, but my groups like difficult games so that's what I try to give them), but stop adding more.


My Credentials: 3 Years experience as a Player and GM with 4e.

Ask for Buy-in

Your players (especially the previous DM) have expressed doubts. Everyone was willing to trust the previous DM when he made his houserule, they should likewise extend trust to you in reinstating the default RAW state of 4e.

The previous DM was in all likelihood building bad encounters or the party is very poorly optimized if he almost wiped a party which had more than standard HP

This is something you need to internalize and with as much respect as possible broach to the DM/other players. 4e has very strong and helpful guidelines to building level appropriate encounters, but if they get tossed out the window then all bets are off. The DM probably built an encounter which was XP budget appropriate but not level appropriate or was using old pre-MM3 math.

Final Option? Find a new group or play a different game

Finding a new group in the nuclear option, playing a different game is the detente option. 4e is very well balanced, but while it has similarities to previous editions of D&D it also sacrifices some sacred cows in the name of better gameplay mechanics. Everyone should become very familiar with the rules before they begin to homebrew/houserule. If the table isn't comfortable with 4e as-is maybe a different system should be used altogether.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't know how much I can criticise the previous DM for the encounters. We were doing the "keep on shadowfell" module. Although I'm not sure how much editing and stuff he was doing behind the scenes... a different group is pretty much out of the question. These are my friends so I wouldn't want to do that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dynas XV
    Jul 1, 2014 at 14:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ouch yeah Keep on the Shadowfell came out only a year into 4e's release before things were nailed down. If you guys werent playing a fan updated version then the mod very much may have been the issue. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 1, 2014 at 14:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Honestly at this point if you disagree with my answer/comments take it to Chat and ping me there chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/11/rpg-general-chat Comments are not for extended discussion. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 2, 2014 at 12:40

Take your concerns to the GM and suggest slightly upping enemy damage

If the party is paranoid about a party wipe and considers this rule the only thing holding back the dike of horrible death failure, then changing it is likely to cause problems even if the GM thinks it is a good thing.

This sounds like a new group, who are often very wary of mechanical things and rules, like old people given a new technological item. As they get used to RPGs and understand the math behind mechanics more, they'll relax and even start playing fast and loose with the rules (or playing indie games that upset established 'facts' of tabletop rpgs).

With groups like that, it's best to just solve problems 'behind the screen' without bothering them. Upping enemy damage to counter higher-than-normal player hp is a simple fix, and easily adjusted to circumstance. The GM should be conservative with the damage increase initially, and then adjust it upwards over time as needed.

It's generally a good idea to use custom monster abilities and stats where possible too, as it's more exciting for players who know, memorize, or master the mechanics of the game when they get to interact with things and are uncertain of exactly how dangerous it is - helps people get into character.


I think you should express that you'd like the game to be as hard as intended, that you guys might be missing out on fear and the eventuality (the occasional casualty) as a result of a non-standard rule, and that the balance between different classes is significantly skewed, which may be unfair to some players. So that therefore you'd like to try the default way of doing things.

If it really gets too easy, ask the DM (or as the DM) increase the strength of the enemies a bit.

The fun comes from playing in a fun way, less from the game itself. If your party likes it easy, enjoy the rest more and express your wishes. It's all you can do.


There's no "right" way to play.

Every group has sets of house rules that can change a few aspects of the game. 4e doesn't behave well with house rules, but this one in particular is not overly broken. It will create a higher HP pool, yes, but that doesn't mean that the game will suck.

Let your players fly with it - if every one at the table agrees with a rule, why not use it?

If your DM feels that the HP pool is becoming an issue, just change it. You will not be rebuilding characters completly, just doing minor mathematical adjusts.

You are worried that, in the future, this becomes a problem. Your DM and fellow players, however, seen confortable in changing things for the better, for what seens better for them. If this extra HP becomes in fact a problem some levels ahead, when you get to those levels suggest reducing the overall HP. That, or your DM will put tougher challenges for the group.

The books are a great tool for balance, but there's no better tool for adjusting the game than playing it. If you feel the need to change, change it! That's simple.

Don't worry ahead. You will see that the game can still be fun even if you need to adjust some minor rules every once and then.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay, why the downvotes? \$\endgroup\$
    – T. Sar
    Jul 1, 2014 at 16:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I did not down-vote you, but I suspect the reason you're getting them is because this answer feels incomplete, and thus unhelpful. Just pointing out the higher HP pool isn't enough: what do you do now that you have a higher HP pool? If everything stays status-quo, then players never have to worry about their HP. So, then what? You increase damage, or you add more monsters, or... something. \$\endgroup\$
    – GamerJosh
    Jul 1, 2014 at 16:35
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ -1, in DnD4 balance is paramount. Here you can prone a Gelatinous Cube. This houserule is very broken, not just on the party vs monsters level, but also on the class vs class and ability vs ability level. Now the relative value of Constitution is insanely high. \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Jul 1, 2014 at 16:48
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ @andras Its paramount in your games, but not on every table. \$\endgroup\$
    – T. Sar
    Jul 1, 2014 at 17:26

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