Let's say your hero is at max HP and he/she is levelling up.

PHB p. 15, "Beyond first Level" says about HP increase when levelling up:

add the total to your hit point maximum

Will she/he need healing afterwards? In other words, does "add to your hit point maximum" imply that your current HP doesn't change at this moment?


2 Answers 2


The player will need healing, as his/her current HP doesn't change

The PHB (pg. 196), among other places, draws a clear distinction between characters' current HP and their maximum HP:

A creature’s current hit points (usually just called hit points) can be any number from the creature’s hit point maximum down to 0.

The passage on leveling up only refers to hit point maximum, and not current hit points, which means that characters are not healed upon leveling up.

If they are at max HP before leveling up, they are no longer at max HP afterward. For example, if a character has 20/20 HP, after leveling up they might have 20/26 HP, and would require healing to get to 26/26 HP.

  • 19
    \$\begingroup\$ What, really? This is super counter-intuitive, and I've yet to see a group play it this way. Is there a more direct citation of the intent? \$\endgroup\$
    – Paul
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 17:18
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ nevermind, read it myself. Still feels wrong, but I can see how this answer is correct in the RAW \$\endgroup\$
    – Paul
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 17:25
  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ Doesn't seem counterintuitive at all to me. The only reason it might feel counterintuitive is that DMs usually have a houserule that only lets characters gain the benefits of a level-up after a long rest; in fact, by the rules as written there's nothing restricting when characters level up other than when they get enough experience to do so. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 21:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think this is right - it could be further supported by referencing the Aid spell, which increases both HP maximum and current HP - if the one implied the other it would not need to spell out both. \$\endgroup\$
    – Vigil
    Commented Dec 8, 2020 at 10:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ It would be great if you incorporate the comment suggestions in your answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Commented Dec 11, 2020 at 13:46

Usually, this question isn't really asked as the process of leveling up in the player's handbook is suggested to be in the process of weeks of training with masters and such to explain how you obtain feats, class features, etc. The best answer for this is a question: How did he level up? Did he gain EXP from resting, or did the fighter level up in the middle of a dungeon? The core answer is that the maximum hit points, not the current hit points, increase when leveling up, though the increase in hit dice heavily implies that he has fully rested and increased his capabilities as he has also gained a class level, but there is a split moment where he is technically 'damaged' since his current hit point total is below his maximum (if the player says that this doesn't make sense, it would be safe to explain this RAW as the player extending his endurance to the point of needing rest before fully experiencing the increase of maximum hit points). I hope this clears it up.

  • 14
    \$\begingroup\$ Downvoting this due to the "process of weeks of training with masters and such..." phrase. This is not the rules as presented in the Player's Handbook, though I believe there are variants and options to this effect in the Dungeon Master's Guide. That being said, the initial statement that this question usually isn't asked because player characters tend to be in a "rested" state when leveling is a helpful note to whatever answer comes. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 17:39

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