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One thing has always been bugging me, according to p. 198 of the Dungeon Master's Guide, "instead of rolling for hit points when she gains a level, a player may (...) take the average roll for the class".

I understand how the average roll works, but does that mean that a fighter with 5 HD (and a CON mod of +1) gets:

  • (5.5 + CON mod) x 5 hit points for a total of 32

Or does she get

  • 10 HP + CON mod at level 1 and then (5.5 + CON mod) x 4 because of the other 4 HD for a total of 37

Monster's hit points in the Monster Manual follow the first rule while the Player's Handbook states that you get max hit points at first level. Furthermore, I bolded part of the quote above that can be used in the interpretation of the rule, is having 1st-level considered gaining a level?

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Max at first level

Page 23 of the Player's Handbook states:

For his or her first Hit Dice, a 1st level character gets the maximum hit points rather than rolling.

Since you were not rolling your hit points in the first place, the amount of hit points you gain at first level does not change.

Note: There is no reference to this on the d20srd (that I could find), I believe this is because character creation information is not covered by the OGL.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Does the same rule apply to monsters too? \$\endgroup\$ – Doom8890 May 3 '15 at 12:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ No. As far as I can tell it only applies to Player Characters. Animal companions, NPCs and almost everyone/thing else uses average. (I think Divine Rank messes with this... but that doesn't oft come up) \$\endgroup\$ – Mourdos May 3 '15 at 12:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would like to add that when using this system to determine HP of NPCs, those with elite array get max HP from their first HD while those with non elite or standard get average. I found this on p. 110 of DM's guide under Elite and average character section. \$\endgroup\$ – Doom8890 May 4 '15 at 18:10

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