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Assuming the Druid's level is high enough to stay in Wild Shape, can the Druid's beast form regain lost Hit Points resting this way? If so, does he use the beast's hit dice or the Druid's?

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The druid can use the beast's hit dice to heal the beast form. His own are not expended.

If you are able to maintain a beast form longer than the time of a short rest, then you would use the beast's hit die, since you're given them in the Wild Shape description.

(PHB p. 67 : Wild Shape) When you transform, you assume the beast's hit points and Hit Dice.

Okay that sounds all well and good, right? But it gets more questionable after that. Since the book doesn't specify what happens to your original hit die, it is safe to assume your druid's hit die are untouched for a number of reasons.

  • Beast form is temporary. As such, expending your normal hit die to heal it is not a very effective way of using up your original hit die. Especially in dangerous campaigns. For the sake of my argument, I am assuming this is also not possible.
  • If you are short resting in beast form, you cannot heal your original druid form. Therefore, it would be detrimental to druids to rest at all in their beast form if they could instead just rest and then shift after expending their healing die (which gives their beast form a fresh HP pool anyway).
  • Wild Shape's hit die are likely for keeping a beast form usable for longer if you have ran out of Wild Shape uses for the day but aren't done adventuring. (This also entails that it gives non-Moon druids a means of healing their Wild Shape.)
  • It makes no sense to have a form that gives you 4d6 hit die, and then say that one of those d6 is equivalent to one of your precious 2d8 that your druid form has. Especially when you essentially have at least two HP pools you're maintaining. (This assumes a low-level druid for an example.)

My second bullet point may be wrong, my assumption I'm making for this answer is: you can only expend a current form's hit die to heal that form.

For the second bullet point to be correct, then the next option about how this works relies on your forms being considered separate entities. This would mean that when you short rest, your beast hit die you expend only heal your beast form and your regular character sheet's hit die only heal your druid form.

In summary,

Hit die spent as a beast will not affect the hit die of your original form. But can only heal your beast form.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Your second point is related to this answer to a related question. If that answer is truly correct, then so is your point. In short: if you cannot overheal via spell, you cannot heal your druid form in your beast form. \$\endgroup\$ – DaFluid Nov 19 '15 at 13:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ That feeling when it's my answer. Lol. But yes, that is part of the reasoning I'm using within this as well. \$\endgroup\$ – D. Sorrim Nov 19 '15 at 13:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, whoops, didn't pay attention to that. :P Still, I think this answer would benefit from the comparison. The argument in the other answer is solid and would remove doubt from this answer. \$\endgroup\$ – DaFluid Nov 19 '15 at 13:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah true. If the question is asked concerning that then it could be used in this context. I'll see about revising my answer if that is the case. \$\endgroup\$ – D. Sorrim Nov 19 '15 at 14:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ "The only reason I can see for Wild Shape allowing you to expend...." I don't agree that you need metagame reasons to rule it this way. The reason I see to allow a Wild Shape to spend HD is that the Wild Shape has HD (per bullet 2 on p.66) and there's nothing specifically stating that those HD behave any differently than any other HD. So lacking a specific contraindication the general HD rule rules. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Nov 20 '15 at 1:47
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For this answer, I am assuming that a Wild-Shaped Druid can spend Hit Dice on a short rest, as per the answers linked by the others already.

Based from the closest RAW that I could find, you will use the Beast's Hit Dice when healing from a short rest (or for anything else that relies on Hit Dice) while you are in Wild Shape.

WILD SHAPE: When you transform, you assume the beast’s hit points and Hit Dice.

Now it gets a bit funny when we try to expound on this to find out how many Hit Dice can you spend in a Wild Shape. For the sake of simplicity, I take the above to mean that you use the number and the type of the Hit Dice specified in the Beast's stat block.

Even funnier is when we try to figure out how HD spent in Wild Shape figure into the total you can spend when you step out of Wild Shape. I have nothing to back this up right now, but I feel that the number of Hit Dice spent in Wild Shape counts against the total number of Hit Dice you can spend in between long rests. Also, the total number of Hit Dice will still be restricted by the Druid's actual level. If the Beast Form has 8 HD but the Druid only has 6 HD in original form, then she can only spend up to 6 HD of the Beast Form's HD type.

For example, assume a Moon Druid 5. In Brown Bear form, he gets the Brown Bear's 4d10 HD. If he spends all of that 4d10, and later reverts to his original form, then he's treated to have already spent 4 HD, and so can only spend 1 more later. If he chooses to heal as a Druid, he can spend 1d8. If he transforms into a Brown Bear again, he can spend 1d10.


Why am I having reservations that the Beast Form's HD counts against the Druid's total?

The entire discussion hinges on one clause and one clause only, and that clause isn't supported by anything else: assuming the Beast's Hit Dice. This does not necessarily mean you take the Beast's number of Hit Dice, but it certainly means you take the Beast's Hit Dice type. It might very well be interpreted to mean that the Mood Druid 5 taking on a Brown Bear form just transforms her 5d8 HD for the day into 5d10, but does not change how many HD he's got spent or unspent.

This is just a house rule as of now, but it also gives the Wild-Shaped Druid a better chance against spells and effects that rely on HD. For example, a Moon Druid 18 (18HD) that takes on a Giant Spider (4HD) form, for whatever reason, will be treated as an 18HD target for the Imprisonment spell. That would certainly mean that the caster will spend more in components than the measly 2,000gp for a 4HD target.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I didn't even realize that part about spending hit dice in wild shape might be limited to how much your character can spend. Hm, this raises more questions than answers but it still helps a lot for the current question. +1 \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Nov 19 '15 at 12:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pitzy I inserted the link to the highly related question Miniman linked to in his comment, since comments can disappear and most often do. If I did not link to the correct answer, please insert the correct link. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Nov 19 '15 at 16:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Where do you see anything to suggest HD spend in wild shape count against HD available after reversion? Or that the number in humanoid form somehow caps the HD you have in Wild Shape contrary to the explicit provision "you assume the beast's hit points and Hit Dice"? \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Nov 20 '15 at 1:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 : Because "assuming the Hit Dice" can be interpreted to mean the type of Hit Dice - it does not necessarily mean you take the number of HD. If the Moon Druid 5 takes the Brown Bear form, her 5d8 just becomes a 5d10. It's a valid interpretation of that single sentence. \$\endgroup\$ – Pitzy Nov 20 '15 at 4:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd assume in that case they'd use the term "die type" like they do in the Multiclassing section. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Nov 20 '15 at 5:16
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The druid can use the beast's hit dice to heal the beast form. His own are not expended.

(Assume, of course, the druid has an hour-plus remaining in current use of Wild Shape and that for an hour just licks its wounds, snacks, and/or naps.)

What hit dice do you have?

When you transform, you assume the beast's hit points and Hit Dice. (PHB p.66)

There's nothing specific to number these at your character level, or to suggest that the number should be reduced commensurate to any current HD 'defecit' your druid form is in. Wild shape does what it says: you now have that HP and HD.

Can you spend them?

Short Rest ...A character can spend one or more Hit Dice at the end of a short rest. (PHB p.186)

You're still a character, and you've rested, so you can spend HD. And by a plain reading of the text you spend the HD you have, supra.

(1) "I see what you did: you clipped the excerpt short! The completion of the sentence is "can spend one or more Hit Dice at the end of a short rest, up to the character's maximum number of Hit Dice, which is equal to the character's level." Eh?

But specific beats general. We've got a specific rule--Wild Shape--which overrides the general rule summarized in Short Rest. (I say "summarized" because the number of HD you have was already laid out in each class's description.)

(2) Nope. Got you again. Why isn't Short Rest the specific rule and Wild Shape the general one? After all, Short Rest is the only time you actually use your Hit Dice...

Au contraire, mon frere. Short Rest applies to all characters; Wild Shape is a class feature, and so it more specific.

(3) Gonna come at you from the left, now: I find it really strenuous being a bear and short resting. After all, there's all these other meat-bags I could snack on, and I have to resist the urge to snack on them. Is it possible that being in Wild Shape is too strenuous to rest?

Short Rest A short rest is a period of downtime, at least 1 hour long, during which a character does nothing more strenuous than eating, drinking, reading, and tending to wounds. (PHB p.186)

I'll admit: this one is most-borderline. Here's what I've got:

  1. You can concentrate during a rest, as long as you don't sleep.
  2. Wild Shape is less strenuous than concentrating. Because I can maintain concentration while Wild Shaping (p.66) though I can't concentrate (on something else) while concentrating (p.203).
  3. Therefore I can rest while Wild Shaped.

Admittedly, the argument's weak: double-concentration may not be so much a matter of "strenuous" as it is a finite resource. (Nobody can multitask. It's a rule.) And Mike's tweet isn't really controlling; Jeremy's not said anything that I know of, and the most recent SA compendium is silent on the issue.

In summary: there's nothing saying you can't rest in Wild Shape; you can Control Weather or keep other people in animal forms (!) while resting (Animal Shapes spell, requires concentration); you'd crush the dreams of every budding Druid 20 if it turned out they couldn't just live out their golden years as a mammoth, trampling and healing everything in their way.

How many HD remain upon reversion?

When you revert to your normal form, you return to the number of hit points you had before you transformed. [Excess damage, no mention of HD] (PHB p.66)

Whatever you had before Wild Shaping. There are only two general actions that change your number of HD available: spending them to heal at the end of a Short Rest or regaining them at the end of a Long Rest. Reversion is neither of these, and it doesn't carry a specific mention of HD upon reversion.

This one feels a little weak, too--it'd have been nice when they called out HP reverting to prior number they also mentioned HD. But I think the omission of a guarantee that a number doesn't change is too flimsy to argue for the requirement that the number does change.

TL;DR

You turned into a beast. You act as that beast. Until you're not that beast anymore.

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In D&D 5e specific beats general.

There is a general rule about spending hit dice (PHB p.186):

A character can spend one or more Hit Dice at the end of a short rest, up to the character’s maximum number of Hit Dice, which is equal to the character's level. 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.

and

The character also regains spent Hit Dice, up to a number of dice equal to half of the character’s total number of them.

And there is a specific rule about Wild Shape (PHB p.67):

Your game statistics are replaced by the statistics of the beast, but you retain your alignment, personality, and Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores. You also retain all of your skill and saving throw proficiencies, in addition to gaining those of the creature.

You retain the benefit of any features from your class, race, or other source and can use them if the new form is physically capable of doing so.

So, "You retain the benefit of any features from your class, race, or other source" means that you can expend hit dice as described "up to the character’s maximum number of Hit Dice, which is equal to the character's level".

However, the beast may have a different number of hit dice from the Druid. How does this play out?

Well, I think it needs to be read as "up to the character’s (current) maximum number of Hit Dice". This means you get bot the beast's number and size of hit dice.

An example:

Consider a 3rd level druid: this guy has 3d8hit dice available.

  • He takes a short rest in normal form and expends 2d8, a total of 2HD expended.
  • He takes a short rest as an Elk (2d10); he can't expend any dice as he is limited to 2HD in this form and has already expended 2HD.
  • He takes a short rest as a giant bat (4d10) and expends 2d10 taking his total expenditure to 4HD.
  • He takes a long rest in normal form and regains 1HD (3rd level/2 FRD) meaning that he has spent 3HD.
  • The next day he can only spend HD while transformed into a beast with 4 or more HD; he has none to spend in his own form.

Technically, a 3rd level druid can only be wild shaped for 1 hour; the same length of time as a short rest so he couldn't actually be damaged in wild shape form and then take a short rest because this would take 1:00:06 minimum (1 hour + 1 round to take damage), however, it was too damn hard to find examples for higher levels where the beasts had more HD than the druid! Oh and they can't turn into bats either.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you saying that the second bullet on p.66 isn't germane to healing after a short rest? ("When you transform, you assume the beast's hit points and Hit Dice.") Your second-to-last sentence seems to say that in beast form you still have your (humanoid) character form's HD rather than the beast's HD. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Nov 20 '15 at 0:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 "up to the character’s maximum number of Hit Dice, which is equal to the character's level" - what is the beast's level? Only characters have levels, not monsters. \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Nov 20 '15 at 0:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ to me that's the general rule which is supplanted by the specific "assume the beast's hit points and Hit Dice." I've always understood that to mean that while in brown bear form I've got (specific) 4 d10 for hit dice to use to heal (general) at the end of a short bear-rest. It sounds to me like you're saying that though you assume the beast's HP and HD while shaped, if you rest in beast form you use your natural form's HD to heal. Am I understanding you right? \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Nov 20 '15 at 0:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 You have convinced me of the error of my ways \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Nov 20 '15 at 1:29

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