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D&D General My Problem(s) With Halflings, and How To Create Engaging/Interesting Fantasy Races


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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
name a nation or a culture without a history, the halflings could have been made two seconds ago and nothing changes, it is not logical or even reasonable I need the sense that they did things or had things happen to them otherwise you have no story with them.
the Canadian army was known to be apparently terrifying in world war two plus you can still look them up they did things halflings literally did nothing other than building a house and smoke since their creation, look I am not ambitious but that is just nuts.
They have a history in every published setting.
 




doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Well, for one, it wouldn't have the three goblinoids as a part of it. There's also the fact that Dhakaan is compelling because it takes a spin on typically evil races and gives them an interesting and compelling culture and acceptable motivations for disliking humanity. IMO, that story would be much worse if you were to just change the nation of typically monstrous races of Goblins, Bugbears, and Hobgoblins to the bland short people of Halflings.
lol sure it'd be less interesting to you, you don't like the race involved!

If you took Talenta and replaced halflings with goblins, you're changing at least as much.
 





I would suggest that @AcererakTriple6 ‘s point is that when 6e comes out, perhaps dragonborn, tiefling or tabaxi should replace halflings as the 4th core race. I think there will always be a place for halflings in D&D, perhaps among goliaths and aasimar.
There's no chance the PHB is going to have just four races in it. And based on the available data, goliaths are significantly less popular than halflings.

New player character races are one of the primary things WotC uses to sell books. It's why Volo's, which has an increasingly checked reputation as its takes age poorly, is still recommended to new groups.
 


Heh heh... based upon the way I've seen almost every single player I've ever run a game for roleplay... EVERY race is merely a "variant human".

Quite frankly... NONE of the non-human races are "necessary" in the game, because nobody can roleplay them as anything more than just a human with a particular personality quirk anyway. "Humans in rubber masks" is a legitimate phrase of honesty. ;)
The gnome illusionist I play in the urban campaign I'm in is as close to inhuman as I can get, but he's still within the range of highly eccentric/paranoid humans. (Realistically, he's a human in need of medication and therapy. He doesn't trust anyone, even his friends, and spends most of his time in disguise -- sometimes layering Disguise Self atop actual disguises -- or in hiding.)
 

One of the kids in the game I'm running for my 11yo and his friends is a halfling, so I mentioned food a couple times early and he jumped on it. The kobold they have traveling with them decided the halfling-prepared food was certainly worth giving up whatever (evil dragonborn led) dragon-cult-work he had been doing before and is very loyal, it got the halfling in as cook on the pirate ship they needed to become crew on, and it throws in lots of random background descriptive stuff.
If the Chef feat from Tasha's wasn't meant as a present to every player of a halfling character, I would be shocked.
 


Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Would just putting the halflings back with the exotics fix that (like with the Dragonborn, Gnome, and Half-orc.)
yeah but we would likely need to rase up something for the third most common spot and I do not want to see that blood bath.
I really hate the half-elf and half-orc as they are I want to be a blander version of a nearly human thing, just play an orc or elf.
Yes. I think so.
Re: nuking, yeah, I don't disagree that if you go solely on numbers, gnomes get the chop first. However, I'm not sure you do, because gnomes fit into and are integral to more D&D settings (where halflings are often so bland you literally couldn't tell they weren't humans from reading the culture description), and seem more likely, conceptually, to be PCs than halflings. Weirdly the older I get the more "okay" I get with halflings I note. I loathed the little so-and-sos when I was a kid, but I played one recently and I'm not fundamentally down on the concept. I just don't think they're "PHB race" material. I literally honestly think kobold would make a better PHB race.

I kind of like having dwarves, elves, and humans up front with a note that these are among the most common races across most worlds, and then having the rest in the current PhB (and a few more not there) in the uncommon races section. And add a note that they range from very common in some worlds to not native at all in others, and as with everything, make sure you and your DM have talked about the world you're adventuring in and how you would fit into it (or not).
 


So, no compelling setting concept?

No "elevator pitch"?

Halflings are nonambitious humans?
To be fair, perhaps you're applying a higher standard to halflings that to other species? Like sure, I would combine them with gnomes, but then again I would also get rid at least half of the other lineages too. Most of them just exist because there were many words on thesaurus or because someone managed to think yet another marginally different and absurdly specific elf subspecies. Are orcs, goliaths and bugbears actually conceptually that distinct form each other? Do we need water genasi, triton and merfolk to be separate things? Leonin and tabaxi? And all the bloody elves?
 

Mercurius

Legend
So you're claiming it's not a flaw or hindrance, ever, for any reasonable player?

How is that different from claiming it's a superior way of playing?
Because I'm not talking about "way of playing," but perception which, of course, leads to different ways of playing. I don't think there are better or worse ways to play the game, and to some extent the same is true of perception, although different ways of seeing yield different results. I would say that embracing and enjoying limited thematic elements is "superior" in that it leads to fun, whereas not enjoying because one only sees limitation is not, well, fun.

It is kind of like when a child finds a toy and they say, "but it doesn't do what I want it to do - this feels so limited." The child has one of three choices: 1) They can continue to focus on how it doesn't suit their needs, and be miserable; 2) they can play with another toy that better suits their needs; 3) they can enjoy the toy for what it is, and in so doing maybe find enjoyment within the "limitation." I suppose there's also, 4) they can be creative with the toy and get it to suit their needs.

Individual DMs can and often do adjust nonhuman races to better suit their needs - that is a major aspect of the fun of DMing: worldbuilding and its various aspects. Even so, they are still usually riffing off the same basic elf or dwarf archetype.

So my contention is that the fun of playing a nonhuman race is directly linked to its thematic limitations. This doesn't mean there's no wiggle room, whether through the DM's worldbuilding and players can (and usually do, to some extent) play nonhumans as if they were humans of a different culture. Nothing wrong with any of that. But at some point, if we make elves and dwarves too human-like, they lose their distinct character, and their distinctiveness and thematic limitations are entwined.

Or another analogy: Playing a human is like a painter drawing from a full palette of colors. They still have to make choices (e.g. desert nomad, temperate forest-dweller, etc), but every color is available. Playin an elf is like painting with only pastel tones, and playing a dwarf is like painting with only earthen natural tones (or whatever "tones" are specific to the races of a specific setting). An artist embraces that limitation and sees it as a feature to be explored.
 

I kind of like having dwarves, elves, and humans up front with a note that these are among the most common races across most worlds, and then having the rest in the current PhB (and a few more not there) in the uncommon races section. And add a note that they range from very common in some worlds to not native at all in others, and as with everything, make sure you and your DM have talked about the world you're adventuring in and how you would fit into it (or not).
I am suggesting that if we move the halfling to exotic something will have to be moved to the common race slot and the flame wars will be like a dying blue sun.
You literally could just read the history of the hin in FR.
I did I was uninpressed.
To be fair, perhaps you're applying a higher standard to halflings that to other species? Like sure, I would combine them with gnomes, but then again I would also get rid at least half of the other lineages too. Most of them exist because there were many words on thesaurus or because someone managed to think yet another marginally different and absurdly specific elf subspecies. Are orcs, goliaths and bugbears actually conceptually that distinct form each other? Do we need water genasi, triton and merfolk to be separate things? Leonin and tabaxi? And all the bloody elves?
two points they are not in the phb so they are far more optional and that is a genuine consideration of merging them all into nice neat blocks.
 

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