In D&D5, players have the choice of rolling their Hit Dice or using a fixed average value instead:

Each time you gain a level, you gain 1 additional Hit Die. Roll that Hit Die, add your Constitution modifier to the roll, and add the total to your hit point maximum. Alternatively, you can use the fixed value shown in your class entry, which is the average result of the die roll (rounded up).

If I roll poorly for the Hit Die, can I ignore the roll and use the fixed value instead?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ As an answerer said, this is a great place for houserules. Pathfinder has a downtime system for training and running businesses, etc, and one of my favorite downtime activities is "train hp". You can use this to go back and raise one of your hp die rolls by 1 each time you train it, to a max of whatever your Hit Die is. So a fighter that once rolled a 1 on an hp roll could train up 9 more hp to turn that 1 into a 10, reducing the total randomness of single-die hp increases. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 9:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ See also: rpg.stackexchange.com/q/48198/8012 \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 23:26

2 Answers 2


No, it's either-or. Otherwise, the rule would say that you always roll and then take whichever is best. As they are instead alternatives to each other, you have to pick first. This is like all other rolls that provide for taking the average as an alternative, such as monster damage rolls.

(Mathematically, the fixed value is a better choice because it's a rounded-up average of the roll, but it offers no "gambler's thrill" or old-school methodology, either or both of which might matter more to an given player.)

That said, this is ripe for a houseruling! Make a proposal to the DM, if experience shows that the usual rule results in PCs too fragile for their campaign. (The usual advice for houseruling a new and unfamiliar system applies: play it first to see whether one's guesses are correct or not first! Often, preemptive houserules "fix" problems that only exist on paper, not in play.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for giving the clear cut answer and then expanding with house rule option. You could have put in direct quote and page number from the appropriate manual \$\endgroup\$
    – AquaAlex
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 12:11

It is the tables decision, both yes and no are RAW

I have played in many games and in each game when we have reached level 2 this question comes up. It's always phrased as 'How do you want to do hp gains?' Because it's clear that it needs to be a table decision. One of the many 'rules modules' in d&d 5e.

The rule can be read both ways. Either Alternatively can either mean that this is a rule Variant and thus one replaces the other, or it can mean that you decide which method you want to use. Deciding which method you want to use can be done either before or after the roll, as there is nothing that says you can't. Depending on how you read this, will give you different answers to your question.

The important thing for the game though is that which ever way you choose to read the rule, should be agreed upon by the table and consistently used.

  1. Some tables will only allow the dice roll. (Reading Alternative as a rule Variant decided by the DM)

  2. Some tables will only allow taking the average (Reading Alternative as a rule Variant decided by the DM).

  3. Some Tables will allow the player to choose at each level whether to roll or take the average (Reading Alternative as a "rule variant" decided by the Player)

  4. Some tables will allow you to roll and if you don't like it, take the average. (Reading Alternative as an option and part of the same rule, decided by the Player)

    All four are RAW. But the important thing is to remain consistent.

If your table plays with option 1 or 3 then no you can't take the average after rolling. If you take option 4 you can. (if you take option 2 there is no roll)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Anyway, this is my reasoning for the downvote, nothing more. If the answer wasn't claiming this to be RAW (because RAW can be ambiguous, but can't have multiple mutually-exclusive correct meanings and still be RAW), then it'd be fine. Say it's a decent houserule, say they're all possible interpretations, say you can make a tortured reading of it, whatever. But saying all of those four are RAW is worth a downvote, especially with #4 in the mix. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 9:10

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