A little ditty when your party’s feeling gritty.
“Our nerves were frayed, and the enemy was close. We dared not sleep. But the Bard spun a most serene lullaby that killed the pain enough to carry on.”
Table of Contents
What is Song of Rest 5e?
Song of Rest is given to all Bards at level 2.
What does Song of Rest do?
The idea behind Song of Rest is that the Bard gives a relaxing song, poem, or other performance that heals the party a bit more. Hit Dice are precious, so using a Song of Rest to mend minor wounds can help your party save Hit Dice for when they really need them.
Here is how Song of Rest is described in the Player’s Handbook:
- Beginning at 2nd Level, you can use soothing music or oration to help Revitalize your wounded allies during a Short Rest.
- If you or any friendly Creatures who can hear your Performance regain Hit Points by spending Hit Dice at the end of the Short Rest, each of those Creatures regains an extra 1d6 Hit Points.
- The extra Hit Points increase when you reach certain levels in this class: to 1d8 at 9th level, to 1d10 at 13th level, and to 1d12 at 17th level.
Song of Rest 5e causes some confusion among players because the official description doesn’t specify that healing by Hit Dice is required to gain Song of Rest’s extra benefit.
This issue is clarified in official errata later on:
A creature regains the extra hit points only if it spends one or more Hit Dice at the end of the short rest.
That means you can only use Hit Dice to get a Song of Rest bonus. Song of Rest’s bonus cannot be triggered by healing potions, Aid, or any other source of healing except Hit Dice. You also must spend at least 1 Hit Die to gain the bonus. No freeloaders!
There’s also some confusion because Song of Rest doesn’t specify who rolls Song of Rest, or whether each person rolls their own Song of Rest die. We can put this to rest: The Bard rolls the extra Song of Rest die, and applies the result to anyone who used at least one Hit Die during the Short Rest.
Is Song of Rest a good ability?
Song of Rest is basically free HP for your whole party, which is always good. Song of Rest comes early at level 2 and doesn’t cost you anything to activate either.
You can also use a Song of Rest every Short Rest with no drawback to doing so.
GameCows Tip: You might need to get a bit creative to keep your Song of Rests interesting, especially if you are doing the recommended 2 Short Rests per adventuring day. Try telling a story in parts. It will keep your crew distracted, and motivated to learn what happens next.
How does Song of Rest work?
You can think about the Song of Rest healing equation for each party member as
(individual Hit Die total + Constitution modifier/per hit die + Song of Rest die).
After the Short Rest, take note of who has used Hit Dice during the rest. Then, roll Song of Rest and heal that amount of HP for anyone who used Hit Dice.
Some instruments like the Mac-Fuirmidh have extra healing powers. You can also try using a Zulkoon for your Song of Rest…but it probably won’t be very relaxing. You can of course just verbally state you are using Song of Rest and not do roleplay of any kind, but you might be silently judged.
Is Song of Rest per hit dice?
Song of Rest is once per Hit Die using character per Short Rest, not per hit die. A character can add their Constitution modifier once per Hit Die, and then decide if they want to use another Hit Die + Constitution modifier for further healing. But they can only get Song of Rest’s benefit once per Short Rest.
How Song of Rest works with Hit Dice in 5e
Every class in 5e uses a certain type of Hit Die:
|Artificer, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Monk, Rogue, Warlock||d8|
|Fighter, Paladin, Ranger||d10|
The number of Hit Dice available is tied to player level. For example, a level 5 Monk has up to 5d8 Hit Dice at their disposal.
You don’t have to use all of your Hit Dice on a Short Rest. If you’ve only lost a handful of HP, for example, you can spend one hit die and save the rest for later. Song of Rest’s booster is added to the HP you recover with whatever number of Hit Dice you decide to roll.
You get Song of Rest back every Short Rest. You get back half of your Hit Dice on a Long Rest, rounding down.
Song of Rest 5e with Hit Dice examples
An Aasimar Bard, Air Genasi Fighter, Eladrin Druid, and Kalashtar Wizard just survived a run-in with a Mind Flayer, and are huddling up in a cave. The DM allows everyone a Short Rest. Everyone is Level 7 except the Wizard, who missed the last two sessions and so is level 6.
The Bard sees the party is down and declares he is doing a Song of Rest while everyone is eating, drinking, reading, and tending to their wounds. He starts singing a parody version of Coldplay’s “Fix You” to lift everyone’s spirits.
The Air Genasi Fighter has 4 out of 7 Hit Dice remaining since they spent 3 Hit Dice during the last Short Rest. They used Levitate during the Mind Flayer fight to avoid major damage, and only need to spend 1 Hit Die to heal.
- The Fighter’s Hit Die is d10, so they roll 1d10 and get a 4. Their constitution modifier is +1, so they add 1. Their healing total is 5 (4 Hit Dice + 1 Constitution).
The Eladrin Druid has 5 out of 7 Hit Dice remaining. They are very low on HP and decide to spend 4 of their remaining 5 Hit Dice to heal.
- The Druid’s Hit Die is d8, so they roll 4d8 and get 5, 5, 6, and 7 for a total of 23. Their constitution modifier is +2, so they add +2 per spent hit dice (4) for an additional 8 (+2×4). Their healing total is 31 (23 Hit Dice + 8 Constitution).
The Kalashtar Wizard is level 6, so only has 6 Hit Dice. All 6 Hit Dice are remaining. The Mind Flayer discovered the Minor Illusion they were hiding behind and nearly sucked their brains out, so they’re in bad shape. They spend all 6 Hit Dice.
- The Wizard’s Hit Dice is d6, so they roll 6d6 and get a 1, 4, 5, 5, 5, and 6 for a total of 26. Their Constitution modifier is +2, so they add +2 per spent hit dice (6) for an additional 12 (+2×6). Their healing total is 38 (26 Hit Dice +12 Constitution).
The Bard decides to take his chances, and save his Hit Dice for later. He doesn’t spend any Hit Dice to heal.
The Short Rest has come to an end, with everyone relaxed because of the Bard’s tender Song of Rest. The Bard rolls 1d6 to complete the Song of Rest, and gets a 6! The celestials must be Coldplay fans. Everyone adds an additional 6 to their healing total…except the Bard since he didn’t spend any Hit Dice.
The crew ventures out, patched up, rested, and ready for revenge.
Song of Rest 5e FAQ
How many times can you use Song of Rest?
It’s been ruled that abilities and spells of the same name don’t stack, so you can only use Song of Rest once per short rest, even if you have more than one Bard in your party.
Can you spend hit dice while unconscious?
There’s no rule in DnD 5e requiring consciousness to use hit dice, so if your Bard wants to use Song of Rest to serenade your unconscious body, that is perfectly OK.
How long is Song of Rest?
Song of Rest’s wording doesn’t specify a length, so it’s at the DM’s discretion. The maximum a Song of Rest can be is 1 hour, a Short Rest’s maximum duration.
Most tables rule since Song of Rest only gives a minor HP bump, it shouldn’t last too long and the Bard can do other things during their short rest.
Do you have to sing for Song of Rest?
A common misconception is that Bards are limited to using DnD instruments and singing. Not so! Poems, storytelling, and motivational speaking are also fair game.
Song of Rest even specifically includes “oration” in the description. Most DMs would let you do any sort of artistic performance to heal with Song of Rest.
Kendra has always been a hardcore fantasy nerd. Growing up in the worlds of Tolkien, Sanderson, Jordan, and Abercrombie, DnD & board games just came naturally. She and her husband, Bryan, started GameCows.com in 2018 as a fun passion project that just took over their lives. An avid board gamer since childhood and chronic DnD chronicler for more than two decades, she loves to play, write, travel, and learn dead languages. She is also a professional content writer at SlashGear.com