log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 5E (+) Halfling Appreciation and Development Thread


log in or register to remove this ad

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
If I were to go with larger headed, child-like halflings, I think my vote has to go towards Jim Holloway's versions (Jim is one of my favorite artists of the time because he kept it realistic). maybe that's why I like the older halflings, because the modern art is all cheerful and happy, and I think that does halflings a disservice because people don't take them seriously as a playable race ready for combat.

1626820039328.png

1626820081459.png
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
If I were to rewrite halflings, I might give them magic stone as a racial cantrip.
That’s fair. I might do that and also give them the ability to turn invisible like a firbolg.

Although, while I like my halflings naturally stealthy, I wouldn’t want to make them more like gnomes, and I like the gnome racial feat where they can turn invisible when they get hit.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I know you had a typo there and meant hearth. But my mind automatically and immediately inserts the word "blasted" whenever I see the word "heath," and got some weirdly Greco-Lovecraftian images there.

Ironically that's what the halfling magic weapon in the setting, the lucky sling, does when you score a critical hit and spend a charge.

The slingstone explodes on hit and everything nearby gets a quick immediate dose of really really bad luck. Anything nearby falls on you. If there is nothing around you. a lightning bolt comes down or a meteor falls on you. Roll Dex save. And take psychic damage from paranoia just because.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I love halflings, they’re one of my favorite races. What’s not to love about small, hardy, curious, plucky folks with tight communal bonds and preternatural good luck (though personally I prefer to frame their apparent luck as a result of incredible perseverance - another expression of their bravery and resilience.) The farming thing and 4e’s boating thing are cultural traits which I really don’t like being tied to race, but it works for how 5e does races I guess. Mechanically, I think lightfoot halflings are great if your DM actually lets you use your naturally stealthy ability, but unfortunately many don’t. Stout halflings… are just worse than dwarves, unfortunately. I feel like halflings could also do with some cultural proficiencies - slings and quarterstaves at least, maybe nets, and maybe a choice of a couple artisan’s tools, and maybe a choice of land or water vehicles?
 
Last edited:


What do you like about them?
I'll admit, I'm not a gigantic fan, but unlike others, I feel they feed a niche. Small characters are an interesting deviation from the Big Folk commonly used. They're slim and spry, as opposed to gnomes being stout. Like Dwarves in the mountains, elves in the forests, and gnomes in the hills, they dwell on the plains, giving another demihuman terrain type.
What lore do you use from the books, and what do you specifically ignore, if anything?
I like the original lore, where they could easily be mistaken for human children; it allows them to hide among them unnoticed. I love the idea that most are farmers, but young adults are often seized by wanderlust, since it gives them a reason to adventure, but with the goal of retirement in the future.
How have you used them in your worlds?
My first and third campaign didn't really have any focus on them, but they existed. In my second campaign, they were much more important. They served as the underclass of a human town and its surroundings. On several occasions I showed the mistreatment they were under, and how most of the local thieves guild was comprised of them as a result. My plan was to have a "prophet" rile them up as a method of destabilizing the area, and while the players would sympathize with them, the "prophet" was actually a cultist who planned to capture the souls of all the halfling slain in the upcoming conflict. Unfortunately the campaign ended before we got that far.
Do you consider them mechanically powerful, and if not have you done anything to add to them?

Should they get proficiency and better damage with slings?
Mechanically they're fine, although I wish the Stout should have Darkvision (as they did in older editions). I agree that giving them a bonus to slings and daggers would be really nice, since they're very thematic for them.
Should Kender influence Halflings, insofar as giving halflings the ability to taunt?
I could get behind giving them a taunt like ability, but I've seen too many players use Halfings as Kender to the dismay of everyone else.
What edition has the best Halfling writeup?
2E by far, but that's pretty true of all the demihumans.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
I really liked the idea that someone else in the other thread had for having a group/culture/subrace of halflings that were Beekeepers and would ride Giant Bees in combat and use magical honey as healing potions (and I gave the idea of the magical honey curing diseases, as honey is a good antibacterial substance in real life). I would also make these Apiarist-Halflings sell the biggest and most beautiful flowers (possibly giving them small magical auras for people that can smell the flowers), because bees are known for being excellent pollinators. I'm also warming up to the proposed idea of Halflings being to agriculture and cooking as Dwarves are to mining and smithing, being very specifically made for that purpose; both in design and by their gods (in the worlds that has gods that created halflings, that is).

If you took this idea and expanded it to the different types of Agriculture, you could have Coastal/Lake-Dwelling Halflings that are expert fishers (possibly also growing seaweed), Village/Rural Halflings that grow all sorts of plants (I quite like Pumpkin and Potato-growing halflings, as well as Corn, Cabbages, Cotton, Sugarcane, Sunflowers, Beans, and Beets) and care for specially bred livestock (Cows with the best milk, Goats for the best cheese, Giant Oxen (Auroch stats, probably) for the manual labor, Giant Chickens for the best and biggest eggs, etc) that can double as battle-mounts, Orchard-Halflings that grow the best apples, cherries, pears, and nuts, as well as tending to vineyards to grow grapes, with gardens for kiwi, melons, cranberries, and tomatoes.

Taking these ideas, I would break down halflings into 3 main subraces in a future PHB:
  1. Lightfoot Halflings for Apiarists and Florists with magical honey, bee-mounts, and giant, magical flowers.
  2. Stout Halflings for the Rural Farmers with special/magical versions of typical crops and livestock.
  3. Lotusden Halflings for Orchard Halflings with the best wines, fruits, and nuts (magical pie, anyone?).
Then, add some lore about most folk/fairy-tales coming from Halflings. Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk is a Halfling, as is Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks, and Hansel and Gretel. Cinderella is a Lightfoot Halfling whose father got married to a human stepmother, and the reason that the glass slipper wouldn't fit anyone else's foot in the whole kingdom is because it's halfling-sized. They could even add in a "Danny and the Goliath" story, where a young Stout Halfling commoner killed a Goliath warlord that was attacking Danny's homeland with a sling. Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes did something similar, but not to the extent and in the manner that I would like.

If "Halflings are intended for the 'Zero-to-Hero characters' in epic stories", add some lore and fluff text into the game that supports that. Make halfling culture in the base game discuss how halflings love tales of adventure and exploration, even though they love their homes. Give recommendations to halfling characters about how their character may be conflicted between wanting to journey through the wider world versus staying at the comforts and safety of home, and give examples of how a halfling can take a bit of home with them when they adventure (through sayings and stories, souvenirs and heirlooms, letters and a promise to return to the loved-ones back at home).

Then, if Halflings embody these "country-farmer" tropes, give advice to DMs and Players on how to invert/subvert them. Give an example of a Halfling Villain that wanted to protect their lifestyle so much that they became xenophobic, a halfling-culture-supremacist, and founded a kingdom/faction of halflings that have strict rules that visitors have to follow while in their towns (possibly a "happiness is mandatory" rule, or a "you must enjoy our meals, even if you're allergic, or else!" rule), that is tolerated by other kingdoms/nations because the halfling-nation's/faction's products are a regular and reliable source of food that the nations are dependent on. We don't need "Evil, Underdark Halflings" like we have Evil Underdark Elves, Evil Underdark Dwarves, and Slightly-Less-Happy Underdark Gnomes, but IMO we need the culture of halflings to be coherent enough that it can be spun in a way that gives obvious and compelling options for making Halflings villains/rivals, just like you can spin a Dwarf's extreme love for tradition as villainous and bigoted or an Elf's love of endless beauty as discriminatory of younger, less beautiful races.

Imagine starting a campaign with this story hook, "The people of the Sword Coast are in trouble. A new disease has begun to sweep the land; being known as 'Black Death', and it has killed thousands. Temples are overrun with the sick and dying, so many people have gotten sick that the Clergy and Templars of the temples are incapable of keeping up with the spread of the wretched disease. Cities stink of death and excrement; rats, insects, and other pests crowd the streets. And the only common and dependable remedy for this horrid malady has become more and more rare and more and more expensive as the United Halflings of [insertname] recently ceased to export the so-called, 'Golden Nectar', a rare type of magical honey that is exclusively sold by settlements of beekeeping Halflings, until Laeral Silverhand swears to recognize the validity of the new federation founded and run by Halflings."

Now that is a great halfling-based story hook, if you'll ask me.
 
Last edited:



Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I really liked the idea that someone else in the other thread had for having a group/culture/subrace of halflings that were Beekeepers and would ride Giant Bees in combat and use magical honey as healing potions (and I gave the idea of the magical honey curing diseases, as honey is a good antibacterial substance in real life). I would also make these Apiarist-Halflings sell the biggest and most beautiful flowers (possibly giving them small magical auras for people that can smell the flowers), because bees are known for being excellent pollinators. I'm also warming up to the proposed idea of Halflings being to agriculture and cooking as Dwarves are to mining and smithing, being very specifically made for that purpose; both in design and by their gods (in the worlds that has gods that created halflings, that is).

If you took this idea and expanded it to the different types of Agriculture, you could have Coastal/Lake-Dwelling Halflings that are expert fishers (possibly also growing seaweed), Village/Rural Halflings that grow all sorts of plants (I quite like Pumpkin and Potato-growing halflings, as well as Corn, Cabbages, Cotton, Sugarcane, Sunflowers, Beans, and Beets) and care for specially bred livestock (Cows with the best milk, Goats for the best cheese, Giant Oxen (Auroch stats, probably) for the manual labor, Giant Chickens for the best and biggest eggs, etc) that can double as battle-mounts, Orchard-Halflings that grow the best apples, cherries, pears, and nuts, as well as tending to vineyards to grow grapes, with gardens for kiwi, melons, cranberries, and tomatoes.

Taking these ideas, I would break down halflings into 3 main subraces in a future PHB:
  1. Lightfoot Halflings for Apiarists and Florists with magical honey, bee-mounts, and giant, magical flowers.
  2. Stout Halflings for the Rural Farmers with special/magical versions of typical crops and livestock.
  3. Lotusden Halflings for Orchard Halflings with the best wines, fruits, and nuts (magical pie, anyone?).
Then, add some lore about most folk/fairy-tales coming from Halflings. Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk is a Halfling, as is Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks, and Hansel and Gretel. Cinderella is a Lightfoot Halfling whose father got married to a human stepmother, and the reason that the glass slipper wouldn't fit anyone else's foot in the whole kingdom is because it's halfling-sized. They could even add in a "Danny and the Goliath" story, where a young Stout Halfling commoner killed a Goliath warlord that was attacking Danny's homeland with a sling. Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes did something similar, but not to the extent and in the manner that I would like.

If "Halflings are intended for the 'Zero-to-Hero characters' in epic stories", add some lore and fluff text into the game that supports that. Make halfling culture in the base game discuss how halflings love tales of adventure and exploration, even though they love their homes. Give recommendations to halfling characters about how their character may be conflicted between wanting to journey through the wider world versus staying at the comforts and safety of home, and give examples of how a halfling can take a bit of home with them when they adventure (through sayings and stories, souvenirs and heirlooms, letters and a promise to return to the loved-ones back at home).

Then, if Halflings embody these "country-farmer" tropes, give advice to DMs and Players on how to invert/subvert them. Give an example of a Halfling Villain that wanted to protect their lifestyle so much that they became xenophobic, a halfling-culture-supremacist, and founded a kingdom/faction of halflings that have strict rules that visitors have to follow while in their towns (possibly a "happiness is mandatory" rule, or a "you must enjoy our meals, even if you're allergic, or else!" rule), that is tolerated by other kingdoms/nations because the halfling-nation's/faction's products are a regular and reliable source of food that the nations are dependent on. We don't need "Evil, Underdark Halflings" like we have Evil Underdark Elves, Evil Underdark Dwarves, and Slightly-Less-Happy Underdark Gnomes, but IMO we need the culture of halflings to be coherent enough that it can be spun in a way that gives obvious and compelling options for making Halflings villains/rivals, just like you can spin a Dwarf's extreme love for tradition as villainous and bigoted or an Elf's love of endless beauty as discriminatory of younger, less beautiful races.

Imagine starting a campaign with this story hook, "The people of the Sword Coast are in trouble. A new disease has begun to sweep the land; being known as 'Black Death', and it has killed thousands. Temples are overrun with the sick and dying, so many people have gotten sick that the Clergy and Templars of the temples are incapable of keeping up with the spread of the wretched disease. Cities stink of death and excrement; rats, insects, and other pests crowd the streets. And the only common and dependable remedy for this horrid malady has become more and more rare and more and more expensive as the United Halflings of [insertname] recently ceased to export the so-called, 'Golden Nectar', a rare type of magical honey that is exclusively sold by settlements of beekeeping Halflings, until Laeral Silverhand swears to recognize the validity of the new federation founded and run by Halflings."

Now that is a great halfling-based story hook, if you'll ask me.
My only problem with expansion of the agricultural theme is it treads slightly upon the nature themes of the Elves and Gnomes.

On the other hand, it plays strongly into the aforementioned blood sacrifices of the Druidic/“Old Faith”/The Wicker Man ideas.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
My only problem with expansion of the agricultural theme is it treads slightly upon the nature themes of the Elves and Gnomes.
I've always viewed Elves and Gnomes are more of the wild, "fey" version of nature. Elves typically want to preserve nature's natural beauty and see agriculture as destroying/"taming" nature. Gnomes just like talking to anything that will listen, and animals are often the only beings that can stand a Gnome's constant, high-pitched chatter (which resulted in Forest Gnomes being able to talk to animals). Forest Gnomes also have the "illusion" theme going for them, as well as living in trees, which is another reason why I feel that this "toe-stepping" isn't a big deal.

I do understand the concern, though.
On the other hand, it plays strongly into the aforementioned blood sacrifices of the Druidic/“Old Faith”/The Wicker Man ideas.
I've never seen The Wicker Man, but I do like the idea of a group of halflings that pretend to be their normal, friendly selves, but do blood sacrifices and dark rituals at night.
 


Zardnaar

Legend
Halflings are one of my favorite races in any edition of D&D. I've played at least one halfling in every edition of D&D since Red Box Basic. I identify with their default Tolkien-inspired role as a bunch of well-fed friendly and community-focused homebodies that can be reluctantly plucked from their comfortable surroundings by fate to go on high adventure and show pluck and Batman-like levels of determination. That even the universe smiles on them and gives them a little break from bad luck.

In some ways they are the underdog you cheer for, and the everyman you can identify with personally.

All of that said, that's just the default. Assuming lore is flexible as it can change per setting (Dark Sun cannibals, anyone), what we "know" of them is based off their mechanical expression.

They are uniformly brave and lucky - though more in avoiding the worst then getting the best. Every single one of them. The are smaller than most and that slows them but they also know how to take advantage of it. They have their own language - they aren't just part of other's cultures. The lightfoot are good at hiding behind people, and the stout share resilience vs. poison with the dwarves.

(I'm ignoring ability score modifiers since they can go anywhere post-Tasha's. Also not folding in the Ghostwise as a setting specific subrace.)

That can paint a number of different pictures. The default still fit, but the homebody and the social aren't enforced mechanically anywhere. There can be a lot of expressions of them. 4e Points of Light positioning them as river traders living in boats works fine. but they could be intrepid explorers one and all, in some ways that fits their Brave feat better then the default flavor. How about Lucky - are their sayings "never play cards with a halfling" in your world, and if so why not. They literally as a race are just a touch better at every possible activity vs. someone from another race of equal skill, unless it's something their small size/low speed detracts from, or it's a specialty of that other race.

Ra'Tuk (Rats) objects to being called a cannibal. He doesn't eat other Halflings nor hunt sentient prey.

He does believe in recycling and processing though (want not waste not).

Big uglies can be quite tasty if prepared right.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Ra'Tuk (Rats) objects to being called a cannibal. He doesn't eat other Halflings nor hunt sentient prey.

He does believe in recycling and processing though (want not waste not).

Big uglies can be quite tasty if prepared right.
Long before Dark Sun unleashed their carnivorous Halflings, I had a homebrew in which Halflings were run kind of like really short Androgum.


 

Zardnaar

Legend
Long before Dark Sun unleashed their carnivorous Halflings, I had a homebrew in which Halflings were run kind of like really short Androgum.



Heh.

In my homebrews I often steal the Athasian or Talenta halfling concepts.

I also like the Midgard versions where they hang around in the north riding snowcats.
 

The callused halfling looks to be picking out a sliver from his scabby, little hands with a pitted knife. "Thing I nevver got about you fancy folks is all that stupid pre-occ'pation wit size. Who gots the longest gorilla arms, who gots the biggest, shiniest rock, the draggingest robes, the unwieldiest sword, the brazenest bulges under their kit. Who's the biggest booby." The traveler makes a grotesque face. "See us hin-folk...ever single one who ever so much as lifted a rock to keep his dinner...."

He leans in close, almost whispering "...we always been killin' giants."
 
Last edited:


Faolyn

Hero
My only problem with expansion of the agricultural theme is it treads slightly upon the nature themes of the Elves and Gnomes.

On the other hand, it plays strongly into the aforementioned blood sacrifices of the Druidic/“Old Faith”/The Wicker Man ideas.
I don't think there's as much of a tread as you might think. Agriculture is (slightly) more about civilization and trade than about nature.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top