So my character's CON increases with Enlarge Person and therefore I get additional hit points. So if my hit points go from 22 to 26 and I take 15 points of damage (11/26) then I reduce and go back to 22 max hp do I lose the damage and stay at 11/22 or keep it all and go to 7/22?

I have read most of the posts about this and all are dissatisfying. Some feel that these are temporary hit points, as several in my party concur and therefore the damage is "lost first" and I would "lose damage." But CRB seems clear: "An increase in a character's Constitution score, even a temporary one, can give her more hit points (an effective hit point increase), but these are not temporary hit points. They can be restored, and they are not lost first as temporary hit points are." Therefore the damage seems reasonable to stick. My DM has felt that the hp should be proportional so 11/26 = 42% thus reducing and maintaining a 42% health level should put me at 9/22 instead of the 7/22. Although it seems reasonable to home brew this - it is not satisfying and not supported in the rules. Any other thoughts? Combat loss of hit points


1 Answer 1


The pathfinder SRD says:

Temporary Bonuses: Temporary increases to your Constitution score give you a bonus on your Fortitude saving throws. In addition, multiply your total Hit Dice by this bonus and add that amount to your current and total hit points. When the bonus ends, remove this total from your current and total hit points.


Let's say you have a lv 5 character with a total of 30 hit points. If he would receive a Bear's Endurance spell, he would gain 10 hit points (Con modifier increases by +2, 2 times lv = 10).

Note that these are actual hit points, not temporary hit points. This means these hit points can be healed back like any other hit points gained through Constitution.

Let's say you take 15 damage while under the effect of the spell and drop down to 25 hp. When Bear's Endurance expires you would lose the the previous 10 gained hit points and drop down to 15 hit points.

To sum it up: When max HP increases by x, your current health increases by x. When your max HP lowers by x, your current HP lowers by x.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ If you don't mind, I would suggest you illustrate the answer with the given example, just for clarification, and maybe so the asker will have no doubts about choosing this as the accepted answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Punkgeon
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 7:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ Your additional example was very helpful. Thanks for the comments. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 8:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's worth mentioning that this loss of hitpoints can knock you out or even kill you. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 9:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Erik: My least favourite part about Barbarian characters in 3E, 3.5E (and maybe pathfinder too?) was how this rule applied. Rage is a useful buff, but not that powerful compared to other class abilities at mid-to-high levels. Yet it's one of the few core class abilities where the character risks outright dying just making use of it as intended. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 12:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NeilSlater You would probably like the Unchained Barbarian then. Paizo adressed this issue by giving the barbarian temp hp instead of a constitution bonus. I dislike what they did with the bonus on weapon damage rolls instead of the str bonus though, as it doesn't work as nicely with 2h weapons. \$\endgroup\$
    – Snappie
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 13:40

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