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One of the benefits of the Durable feat is the following:

When you roll a Hit Die to regain hit points, the minimum number of hit points you regain from the roll equals twice your Constitution modifier (minimum of 2). {PHB, p. 166, emphasis mine}

Does that mean the minimum you can roll on the dice is twice your Constitution modifier? Or is the minimum the combined total from your dice roll plus your Constitution modifier?

For example: my 18 (+4) Constitution Barbarian rolls a single hit die. Is the minimum hit points regained 8 or 12?

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According to a Mike Mearls tweet, the minimum for your Barbarian to receive is 8, not 12, and 'roll' in the text refers to the total.

Whilst trying to get my head around the mechanics of my other answer, I came across this collection of Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford tweets.

The question of the durable feat is specifically dealt with (M = Mike Mearls response):

There has been confusion over the durable feat and the meaning of "roll" does a 20 con wizard regain a min 10 or 15 hp w/ feat?

10 - roll means die roll + mods. Anything that affects only the number yielded by the die will say so specifically. -M

I know I've given an answer to the contrary, but I won't delete that answer until I see what the community thinks, as I'm not sure how much store we (should) put in such tweets. Even their compiler said:

The intent of some rules is clarified well, while others are "clarified" in precisely opposite directions by each designer.

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You get 12. You take the 8 minimum from the roll, and add your Con bonus to get the total. This distinction is maintained at key points of the PHB with regard to Hit Dice.

My reasoning:

  • 'the roll' is pretty clear. They could have said 'the total', but didn't.
  • You would get a minimum of 2 without this feat from a Hit Die roll, provided your Con bonus was +1, so the feat would not add any value.

In support of my first point, there are two places in the PHB where the distinction between 'roll' and 'total' is maintained with regard to Hit Dice.

(Under the heading 'Short Rest') For each Hit Die spent in this way, the player rolls the die and adds the character’s Constitution modifier to it. The character regains hit points equal to the total. (PHB 186, my emphasis)

(...)

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. (PHB 15. my emphasis)

The first text is precisely about regaining lost hit points during a rest, though the terminology is arguable (the verb rather than the noun 'roll'). The second text is about increasing maximum hit points when levelling up, but the distinction between 'the roll' and 'the total' is clearest.

My second point is more mechanical but it seems reasonable to assume that only people with a Con bonus of +1 or more (or who would get this +1 from the Con boost the feat also provides) would consider taking this feat, and yet if we take 'the roll' to mean 'the total', characters with only +1 would get no (additional) benefit from it, as 2 would be their minimum recovery when rolling a hit die anyway.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This seems to be consistent with the attack roll which refers to it as follows: "[...]If the total of the roll plus modifiers equals or exceeds [...]" (PHB 194 - Attack Rolls). Hence, the value of the die is the outcome of the roll itself whether the actual attack roll is the die roll plus any modifiers. Hence, "the roll" mentioned in the feat refers to the roll of the hit die mentioned at the beginning of the description. Especially the first quote referring to the short rest highlights that the Hit Die excludes any bonuses, hence, the roll itself would, logically, do so as well. \$\endgroup\$ – Eric Mar 3 '15 at 13:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry for my previous (probably incomprehensible and now deleted comment @Eric). I've been the rep underdog on this question until recently so I automatically assumed you were saying I was wrong... :-) \$\endgroup\$ – harlandski Mar 3 '15 at 14:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @harlandski Just throwing this out there, not as a counterargument or anything, but what happens if you have a +5 Con Modifier? By your interpretation, anyone rolling a hit-die would regain the maximum possible hit points. The minimum value they would be able to roll is 10, and you add their Con modifier into that to make it a 15, when the highest hit die is a d12. Under the other interpretation your minimum hit points regained is 10, with a max of 12 still. Also, in your case with a value of 15, there is the question of whether the creature regains 12 or 15 hit points, but it's probably 12. \$\endgroup\$ – Javelin Mar 3 '15 at 16:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for this @Javelin. I want to have a closer look at the mechanics and this is a push in that direction. \$\endgroup\$ – harlandski Mar 3 '15 at 17:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Characters with +1 con bonus will get no benefit, but those with a con penalty will - their new minimum will be 2 instead of... 0? or 1? \$\endgroup\$ – Adeptus Mar 3 '15 at 23:19
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I know I've answered this question twice already, but this is a genuinely distinct answer which represents my mature opinion after struggling with the material. I think the other answers still have merit, as they show what DMs could decide in this unusual case.

The durable feat is certainly poorly worded - and possibly badly designed - meaning whichever way it is interpreted you get some odd results. I am not alone in suggesting that the wording or design is poor. In this case, it is up to the individual DM to 'fix' the situation (make a ruling on the defective rule).

When you roll a Hit Die to regain hit points, the minimum number of hit points you regain from the roll equals twice your Constitution modifier (minimum of 2).

To summarize the two ways of interpreting this rule, and the odd outcomes:

  1. You take 'the roll' to mean the total of what was rolled plus modifiers.

    • Odd result: This benefits characters of -4 to +0 Con bonus (as they get 2 HP minimum - thanks to @Adeptus for pointing this out), and also characters of +2 to +5 Con bonus (as they get minimum 4-10 HP), but oddly leaves characters with +1 out in the cold, as they get 2HP minimum which they would have got anyway from rolling a die (with a minimum result of 1) and adding their +1
  2. You take 'the roll' to mean just the 'roll', then add bonuses to get the total.

    • Odd result: This doesn't really mesh with Hit Dice properly. The extreme case is any character with 20 Con and therefore +5 bonus. If they have a d10 or d12 Hit Die, it still kind of works, though the d10 character always gets their maximum from 'the roll', plus their 5 bonus = 15. If the character has a lower Hit Die it becomes problematic - does the character get the maximum from their die, or the 10 before adding their bonus? Credit to @Javelin for pointing me in this direction.

In the same collection of tweets I mentioned in my second answer, Mike Mearls answers this second point (M = Mike Mearls response):

so a class with d6 or d8 HD and a 20 con can use durable to get back more than max possible?

-yes. -M

But the fact that this ruling is even necessary shows that the wording is confusing.

I am not the first person to see that there is something wrong either with the feat itself, or how it is worded (See for example this Wizards community forum, this enworld discussion.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ The link to the Wizards community forum is (of course) now broken. \$\endgroup\$ – Meta4ic Feb 1 '17 at 12:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is a very good answer. By way of corralling all relevant tweets, This tweet from Jeremy Crawford indicates that the intent was the first of the two interpretations: "If you have the Durable feat and spend a Hit Die to regain hit points, the minimum number of hit points you regain is equal to twice your Constitution modifier (minimum of 2 hit points). For example, if your modifier is +1, you regain a minimum of 2 hit points." \$\endgroup\$ – Rykara Aug 21 at 20:43
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Usually, a "roll" consists of the actual dice roll plus any modifiers.

From the Introduction chapter of the Player's Basic Rules:

Ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws are the three main kinds of d20 rolls, forming the core of the rules of the game. All three follow these simple steps.

1. Roll the die and add a modifier.

Or, to look at it another way,

When you roll a Hit Die to regain hit points, the minimum number of hit points you regain from the roll equals twice your Constitution modifier (minimum of 2).

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think we both need to show that our definition of "roll" is right. Or we could just let the jury decide! :-) \$\endgroup\$ – harlandski Mar 3 '15 at 5:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @harlandski I take "the roll" to mean the end result of rolling a d20 and applying modifiers, like how "attack roll" is summarized on p.194 under Attack Rolls. A "roll" is a die rolled + modifiers. \$\endgroup\$ – Javelin Mar 3 '15 at 6:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ I believe the other answer, recovering 12 hit points, to be correct. \$\endgroup\$ – Eric Mar 3 '15 at 13:59
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You get at least 8

Other answers focus on the meaning of “roll”, but I want to highlight a different part:

When you roll a Hit Die to regain hit points, the minimum number of hit points you regain from the roll equals twice your Constitution modifier (minimum of 2).

In this instance, the term “roll” can not refer to the number on the die, because you do not “regain” hit points from this number. Instead you regain hit points from the act of spending a hit die. Put together with the rules for short rests

For each Hit Die spent in this way, the player rolls the die and adds the character’s Constitution modifier to it. The character regains hit points equal to the total.

it is clear that the feat modifies these total hit points.

I would guess that the wording was chosen this way to make it extra clear that it applies to every single hit die and not to the overall total when spending multiple dice. But I agree that is more confusing than helpful.

FWIW, the official German translation of the Player’s Handbook makes no mention of “the roll” and supports this interpretation unambiguously.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Regarding your point about the German translation being unambiguous, it might be helpful to quote the corresponding line from the German version of the feat. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Aug 26 at 5:07
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Durable modifies the minimum number of hit points you can recover from rolling a Hit Die

To see how the Durable feat works, it is important to look at all the relevant text for the given mechanics. (Something I am sometimes guilty of failing to do, as well.)

First, start with regaining hit points through expending Hit Dice.

Short Rest PHB, p. 186

For each Hit Die spent in this way, the player rolls the die and adds the character’s Constitution modifier to it. The character regains hit points equal to the total (minimum 0).

Note the (minimum 0) in parentheses at the end, which I bolded. Now read the text of the Durable feat.

Durable PHB, p. 166

When you roll a Hit Die to regain hit points, the minimum number of hit points you regain from the roll equals twice your Constitution modifier (minimum of 2).

It seems clear to me that the feat modifies that minimum.

The question and other answers are all focusing on a debate over whether the term "the roll" refers to the number on the die verses the number on the die plus the constitution modifier. I feel that that has been debated to death, and the answers from ipsec and Adeptus cover the relevant arguments well.

It all strikes me as a bit of tunnel vision, which is easily resolved by looking at the wider context: namely, the minimum hit points regained is what is being changed.

As such, for the example presented of a +4 CON modifier with a d12 Hit Die, the minimum is simply 8. This is an increase from the defined minimum of 0, and the practical minimum of 5 (from rolling a 1 and adding 4.)

Who benefits from the Durable Feat?

As this feat modifies the minimum hit points regained, it benefits those characters the most that either had a minimum of 0 or 1 without the feat (so, CON modifier of 0 or less), or those with a high constitution modifier.

Note especially that a character with a constitution modifier of +1 would gain no benefit, as their practical minimum was already 2 (1 from the die roll and +1 from their CON modifier), and their new minimum is still just 2.

There is also a question that directly addresses the benefit of the Durable feat, for anyone that wants a more complete analysis and nice graphs to look at.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Thanks, I added that to the end of my answer. The graphs look unsurprisingly similar to my own research results. \$\endgroup\$ – Willem Renzema Aug 26 at 14:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Glad to be of assistance. :) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 26 at 15:19
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That means the die (or dice) is rolled normally then if the calculated amount is lower than 8 it will be adjusted up to 8 (with your supplied example in mind). The description also states that if you have a Consitution modifier of 0 or less then the minimum will still be 2.

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Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is there a way this addresses something which the other answers here do not? \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Aug 23 at 23:56

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