I am a new player to dice games and DND. I have been trying to understand what current points and hit dice are.. I've looked at other questions and I still come out confused. For example, my class is monk.. it says 1d8 per monk lvl.

I know d8 means one of the dice, so does 1d8 mean you roll a d8 once to get your hit dice or points..? Anyway, I know this is confusing so here is what I am asking,

  1. What are hit points and hit dice? What is the difference between them?
  2. How are they used in combat. Easy step by step would be helpful.
  3. For monk in the plr guide it says Martial Arts LVL 1: 1d4. Does this relate to hit points and die? What does this mean?

I am making a monk elf just to clarify. Please explain as simple as possible, I still don't understand other concepts of the game. I get easily confused.. Again, I have found other topics unhelpful so I am giving this a shot my own way. Thank you.


Hit Points represent your current health. Hit Die represent your capacity to heal yourself.

Put simply, the hit die you are given as a character/creature in D&D 5e indicate your capacity to recover during a resting period. (Short rest, generally.) A barbarian has 1d12 as its hit die at level 1. This increases by 1d12 every time the barbarian levels up.

If the barbarian is injured and wants to patch themselves up during an adventure, they would take a short rest, and expend any number of their hit die to heal themselves. So the barbarian (at level 2) could roll 2d12 to heal themselves for the rolled amount during a Short Rest. After which they would have zero hit die left to use until they have finished a long rest. As a monk, your hit die are 1d8. So as a level 2 monk, you would be able to expend 2d8 hit die to heal yourself during a Short Rest.

The Martial Arts die in the Monk stat block has nothing to do with Hit Die and Hit Points. It represents the damage a monk can do with any monk weapon.

To sum this up:

  • Hit Points: The damage you can take during combat. As a monk, you start with 8 HP plus any Constitution bonus.
  • Hit Die: The die you can roll (equal to your level) during a short rest to recover Hit Points. As a monk, you get 1d8 hit die at your first level. You get an additional 1d8 per level after that. You roll those when your character rests to regain Hit Points during an adventure.
  • Martial Arts Die: The damage die you can roll when your Monk is using a Monk Weapon to attack instead of its regular damage. As a monk, you start with 1d4 as your Martial Arts die. This means any attack with a monk weapon (fists, shortsword, quarterstaff, etc...) can have their damage replaced with 1d4 at your discretion.
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Hit points and Hit Dice are explained in the Basic Rules which you can download for free from Wizards of the Coast web site. (Page 7 of the Basic Rules explains this).

  • Note: You state that you are new to D&D. If you are reading a players guide before downloading the Basic Rules, and are new to the game, you are making a mistake. Download the Basic Rules to get an idea of what it all means before trying to create that Monk.**

Hit Points and Hit Dice (p. 7 Basic Rules)
Your character’s hit points define how tough your character is in combat and other dangerous situations. Your hit points are determined by your Hit Dice (short for Hit Point Dice). At 1st level, your character has 1 Hit Die, and the die type is determined by your class. You start with hit points equal to the highest roll of that die, as indicated in your class description. You also add your Constitution modifier, which you’ll determine in step 3.) This is also your hit point maximum. Record your character’s hit points on your character sheet. Also record the type of Hit Die your character uses and the number of Hit Dice you have.


Hit Dice: the dice used to add up all of the creature's hit points
Hit points: an indication of how healthy or how close to death a creature is in the D&D game.

Hit points represent a combination of physical and mental durability, the will to live, and luck. (Basic Rules(2018), p. 77)

How are they used in combat? (Easy step-by-step)

When a hit is scored in combat (by rolling a high enough score with a d20), a damage die is rolled and the amount of damage is subtracted from the old hit point total to create a new hit point total. As long as a creature's hit point total is a positive number, it is alive. Once it reaches zero, it is either dead or unconscious.

  • Example: your monk rolls a 17 with a d20 and the DM tells you that it is a successful attack. You roll a 1d4 since you were using a Martial Arts attack, and a 3 is the result. You add 3 more due to your dexterity bonus of +3 for a 16 Dexterity: the total damage is 6. The DM subtracts 6 from the creature's hit points. If the old hit point total was 7, the creature is alive. If it was 6 or less, it falls, dead or unconscious, as a result of taking that many hit points of damage.

For Monk in the guide it says Martial Arts LVL 1: 1d4. Does this relate to hit points and die?

No, that is related to how much damage the Monk does when using the Martial Arts skill. As above, the Monk has to first roll a "hit" with a d20 before rolling the d4 to see how much damage he did with a successful attack.

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