Constitution is a measure of a character’s physical strength and endurance in Dungeons & Dragons.
Classes that rely on the constitution as their major ability score don’t exist.
However, practically every character gains hit points and improve their constitution saving throws by having a high constitution score.
If they are harmed while casting a spell, spellcasters must additionally use constitution saving throws to keep their focus.
It’s important to remember that constitution should be a character’s second or third highest ability score unless the player is really certain that they can keep their character safe during combat.
Characters’ constitution has no bearing on their abilities, as far as I know.
Constitution checks are uncommon, and no skills apply to Constitution checks, because the endurance this ability represents is largely passive rather than involving a specific effort on the part of a character or monster. A Constitution check can model your attempt to push beyond normal limits, however.
The GM might call for a Constitution check when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:
- Hold your breath
- March or labor for hours without rest
- Go without sleep
- Survive without food or water
- Quaff an entire stein of ale in one go
Hit Points & Hit Dice
Every time a character levels up, their hit points increase the constitution modifier.
Over time, this might add up to a significant amount of money.
For every three levels of experience gained, a character with 16 Con will have an additional 30 health points than a similar character with 10 Con.
For a wizard who, on average, obtains four hit points every level, this equates to a 72 percent boost in their overall health.
They apply their constitution modifiers to each hit die that is used for healing when they take a brief rest.
Constitution Saving Throws
There are three saving throws that are more critical than others throughout the game.
Failing a con saving throw might have unpleasant consequences (paralyzed, poisoned, exhausted, blind, stunned, etc.)
I think they’re the most crucial saving throw, especially for spellcasters who have to make constitution saving throws in order to retain spell concentration if they’re damaged.
Due to the game’s creator’s desire to avoid making it too simple for PCs to inflict debilitating illnesses on the monsters, several of the game’s enemies have high constitution saving throws.
In a recent encounter, I DM’d, one of the PCs was instantaneously and permanently petrified when they failed a con save by more than 5 against a medusa’s petrifying stare.
Fortunately, the party’s monk was able to shock the medusa with his stunning blow, and the party was able to quickly dispatch the dazed medusa in under a turn.
If you fail a con save, you’re in for an unpleasant surprise!
In order to sustain their spell focus, casters will frequently look for ways to increase their constitution saving throws.
If someone is concentrating on a spell and takes damage, they must make a DC 10 or half of the spell’s damage (rounded down) saving throw, whichever is greater.
A failed concentration check results in the termination of the spell.
Taking a feat instead of an ASI, such as Resilience (Con), War Caster, or Lucky, is a common strategy.
Constitution in 5e: Final Ideas
I don’t think it’s a good idea to get rid of your constitution.
Just for the sake of having more hit points, I propose that most characters start with a constitution of 14.
Starting with a constitution of 16 or above is common for martial characters.
If you’re looking to play a character with a high constitution, I recommend playing a tank build like a fighter or paladin with the defensive fighting style.
Additionally, barbarians are fantastic con-based characters since they suffer half-damage when they’re in a rage, thus every additional H of life prevents 2 hp from being taken away from them.