[RPG] How to set up your health in D&D 3.5e


I'm setting up my D&D character and I don't actually have the D&D 3.5 edition handbook. I am also new to the D&D world so I'm kind of a noob. How do you set up health for a Half-elf Sorcerer?

Best Answer

Learning to play the game without the Player’s Handbook is (intentionally) difficult, and generally speaking most would recommend only trying to do so with the assistance of someone who has played before—and who probably has the book.

Anyway, most of the rules are found in the System Reference Document, or SRD, which Wizards of the Coast released under the Open Game License and so can be found on a lot of websites, like this one. As the name says, it’s meant to be a “reference” for players and DMs, and not wholly replace the books. While it has most of the rules, it’s missing some crucial ones—like how leveling up works, including your 1st level—and beyond that it’s missing all the help and guidance that the book provides to make it more accessible.

So, for example, the rules explain what hit points are, and how you lose them, and what happens when you run out, but how you actually get them to begin with is left out. The rules also say “A character gains hit points from each class as his or her class level increases, adding the new hit points to the previous total,” but does not describe how many hit points a character gains. And unless you already knew what it was talking about, this rule about adding Con to hit dice probably doesn’t mean much to you—you wouldn’t know that it had anything to do with hp.

And I can tell you that the way it works is that every class offers a “hit die” at each level, for example the barbarian’s d12, and that each time you level up you increase your hp by rolling the hit die and adding your Constitution modifier to it, so a level of barbarian might grant you 1d12+4 hp if you had 18 Constitution. Rolling a 7 on the d12 results in a total of 11 hp gained for that level of barbarian. I could also point out that your first level, the hit die is maximized (so just 12+4, not 1d12+4, for that barbarian’s 1st level), and that many tables replace rolling a hit die with some other method (often, using its average).

From all that, you might be able to synthesize enough to figure out your character’s hp: you have to look up your class’s hit die, add your Constitution modifier to that to get your starting hp, and then for each level after 1st, you have to roll the hit die and add the Constitution modifier again. And that will cover hp as far as it goes, assuming you don’t get into more complicated situations.

But even if you get all that, the Player’s Handbook walks you through it. A friend who is familiar with the game can be even better, walking you through it and answering questions. Going with just the SRD, supplemented with a few questions here, is going to be real rough going. Because there will be more questions—hp is not the only thing that the SRD leaves out. I strongly recommend finding better resources, even if it’s just one of the discussion forums we recommend so you can actually talk with players. The Q&A format does not work well for these kinds of basic questions, and users here often will not want to spend the time to “read the book to you.” The only reason I am here is for the sake of explaining why going without the book (or a friend) is going to be hard.