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

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The Fey origin works well for the British elf, who are explicitly faerie.
One of the few places where 4e dropped the ball was that while it IMO 100% correctly if you're not having subclasses separated the high elves from the wood elves (calling the high elves Eladrin) and sent the high elves off into the realms of faerie/the Feywild while playing up their arcane connection it didn't half so strongly emphasise the wood elf primal connection.
Similarly, the Norse Dvergar dwarf would be a Fey Earth Elemental.
4e did some seriously interesting things with the Duergar, playing up their elemental affinity to earth and fire (and giving them a historic pact with Asmodeus that was the price for throwing off the mind flayer yoke). I think this is the wrong direction for the Dvergar, but it's at least something. I don't understand much of the point of duergar in other editions tbh.
 

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Seems to me that the idea of traditional cavalry doesn't make a ton of sense for the small races in the "run over the enemy infantry" sense.
When push comes to shove shock cavalry are one of several types of cav I can think of. And small horse archers make perfect sense to me, as do scout cav (which can be faster because the riders are lighter), "assassin" skirmish cav trying to get at enemy archers or artillery, and dragoons who ride mounted but fight dismounted (and again the reduced weight means they might be actively better).
I think for small races an interesting option would be mounts that offer alternative movement types like burrowing or flying to go over or under enemy lines rather than through them.

Edit: and for halfling other, let's go chef. Lure the enemy in with delicious pies.
Goblins get spiders as well as wolves?
 


AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
Easy to introduce without altering stats...just say a particular halfling village has access to a special orchard of trees with magical pollen that makes healing honey...
Give the honey the same traits as Healing Potions, and maybe an effect that neutralizes one active Disease in the person that consumes it (as honey is a really good antibacterial substance).
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Y'know, that's an interesting point that I never really considered.

As a small race, medium flying creatures become viable mounts. Giant Wasps (reskin as Bees as I could totally see Halfling bee keepers) would easily carry a halfling rider. Ooo, that would actually be pretty cool. Halfling communities, known for their honey and beeswax, field giant bee riders in battle. Slings wouldn't work, but, crossbows certainly would.

Shame that 5e giant bees don't have magic honey that heals. I always thought that was something they should bring back.
There was a short story I read some years ago in Fantasy & Science
Fiction Magazine in which one of the major groups were bands of wandering beekeepers. They were sort of analogous to the Romany in some ways.

While they traveled, their bees collected pollen from all kinds of plants, making the honey they produced more complex than those of the stationary apiaries. As I recall, they even planned their routes to make particular recipes.

I could EASILY see a subculture like that being part of the Halfling society, though probably WITHOUT the giant bees. Just a few families, forever wandering from shire to shire, selling honey, bringing news. And occasionally someone would settle down. Or a resident of the shire would join up.

I wouldn’t have magical honey, though. If have them harvest the venom from their bees for use in times of battle…
 


Hussar

Legend
If I were using halfling air-cav, I’d have them master blowguns.
Not sure a blowgun would work from a moving platform like that. Yeah, yeah, don't inject realism and all that, but, I'm just thinking that a blowgun dart would be extremely short range with the wind like that. Now, thrown darts, that I could easily see. Thrown darts are closer to lawn darts than what you throw in the pub. Halflings carrying around bandoliers of throwing darts and bundles of javelins to fire from bees would work pretty well I think.

It would be an interesting niche for halflings really. Just lean really hard into the whole farming/husbandry aspect that's already there. If you're a group that is specialized in farming, you're going to utilize the things that nature provides and, in D&D Land, nature provides all sorts of really cool stuff that could be used. Fire Beetles would be a fantastic food source as well as a great light source. Very useful if we live in sod houses where fire is a real problem - carbon monoxide poisoning due to poor ventillation. Sod houses aren't exactly the most comfortable things to live in. Giant bees. Goats and war goats. I could see goats being more useful than ponies anyway. And, again, the fact that there's lots of medium flying animals - even normal vultures are considered medium in D&D, it would be fairly easy for halflings to rule the skies (although vulture riding halflings is a kind of weird image.)

Then again, I've always thought that the Monster Manual should be better integrated into D&D settings. There's all these easily exploitable resources there that never seem to make their way into settings or adventures.

Now I want to make a vulture riding halfling warlock. :p
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Personally, I see dragonborn riding drakes as being like humans riding gorillas: I guess you could do it but it's kinda weird. I liked the boar riding dwarfs from the Hobbit movies. And elves totally get elk. Halflings get ponies, orcs get either worgs or warhorses, and gnomes get contraptions.


Dwarves get boar mounts
Elves get elk mounts
Worgs are for Goblins in D&D, not orcs. Orcs would just use stolen horses and breed them.

Are clockwork or Artifice contraptions for gnomes too advanced for "base D&D"?

Seems to me that the idea of traditional cavalry doesn't make a ton of sense for the small races in the "run over the enemy infantry" sense.

I think for small races an interesting option would be mounts that offer alternative movement types like burrowing or flying to go over or under enemy lines rather than through them.

Edit: and for halfling other, let's go chef. Lure the enemy in with delicious pies.

Mounted cavalry would be the way for small races. Though smaller weapons mean it wold be mostly for harassment.

Would halflings throwing javalins from the backs of mastiffs work?
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Seems to me that the idea of traditional cavalry doesn't make a ton of sense for the small races in the "run over the enemy infantry" sense.

I think for small races an interesting option would be mounts that offer alternative movement types like burrowing or flying to go over or under enemy lines rather than through them.

Edit: and for halfling other, let's go chef. Lure the enemy in with delicious pies.
All over the world, light cavalry existed for very fast hit and run charges, and mounted archer sweeps. No reason halflings on very fast mounts with short bows wouldn’t be extremely effective.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Not sure a blowgun would work from a moving platform like that. Yeah, yeah, don't inject realism and all that, but, I'm just thinking that a blowgun dart would be extremely short range with the wind like that. Now, thrown darts, that I could easily see. Thrown darts are closer to lawn darts than what you throw in the pub. Halflings carrying around bandoliers of throwing darts and bundles of javelins to fire from bees would work pretty well I think.

It would be an interesting niche for halflings really. Just lean really hard into the whole farming/husbandry aspect that's already there. If you're a group that is specialized in farming, you're going to utilize the things that nature provides and, in D&D Land, nature provides all sorts of really cool stuff that could be used. Fire Beetles would be a fantastic food source as well as a great light source. Very useful if we live in sod houses where fire is a real problem - carbon monoxide poisoning due to poor ventillation. Sod houses aren't exactly the most comfortable things to live in. Giant bees. Goats and war goats. I could see goats being more useful than ponies anyway. And, again, the fact that there's lots of medium flying animals - even normal vultures are considered medium in D&D, it would be fairly easy for halflings to rule the skies (although vulture riding halflings is a kind of weird image.)

Then again, I've always thought that the Monster Manual should be better integrated into D&D settings. There's all these easily exploitable resources there that never seem to make their way into settings or adventures.

Now I want to make a vulture riding halfling warlock. :p
I’d assume they’d fire only when in smooth flight- like when gliding or soaring- to maximize accuracy. Or they’d master the art of firing between wingbeats.

Speaking of goats…why not goat-drawn battle carts? Worked for Thor, right?
 


Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
FWIW, one of my more successful oddball builds was a high-dex, highly mobile character who used a lot of throwing weapons. A monk, rogue or ranger with a fully loaded Quiver of Ehlonna is a major pest.

And eventually, when that character gets interesting magic weapons…
 
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AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
Worgs are for Goblins in D&D, not orcs. Orcs would just use stolen horses and breed them.
No! Orcs ride Aurochs! Maybe Rhinos for a nomadic orc culture.
Are clockwork or Artifice contraptions for gnomes too advanced for "base D&D"?
Not for most worlds, IMO. Certainly not for Eberron, Wildemount, and Gnomes from Lantan. I have Forest Gnomes ride Giant Badgers and Giant Weasels, and Deep Gnomes ride Cave Badgers or just ride in carts pulled by Earth Elementals (if they're lucky).
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
Sorry, canid PC races. Unless you meant what canid races they have in Mystara, in which case the lupin (wolfies, of course) and the hutaakans (jackal-people).
Yeah, I just use Shifters for this, but I could see a Lupin/Canid race being added to the game. We currently have 2 cat-races in the game (Leonin and Tabaxi), but no Dog-race. I wouldn't play one, because I'm still disturbed by the idea of a dog-human hybrid (but not most other human-animal hybrids, for some inexplicable reason), but would like them being an option for those that do want to play them.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
FWIW, one of my more successful oddball builds was a high-dex, highly mobile character who used a lot of throwing weapons. A monk, rogue or ranger with a fully loaded Quiver of Ehlonna is a major pest.

And eventually, we that character gets interesting magic weapons…
Even tho ability scores are no longer a thing for a race, I feel it is useful to associate classes to help inform the culture.

For the Halfling, maybe intentionally focus on tropes in England.

Monk - a Friar Tuck concept? (If I recall correctly, his monastic order makes delicious alcohol?)

Ranger - a farmer or shepherd or beekeeper using nature magic.

Rogue - a goodnatured, wellmeaning thief, being part of a deadly but happy family mafia.



I tend to think of police detectives as the Rogue class. The Halfling could be part of a Human citys security force, tracking down criminals.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Even tho ability scores are no longer a thing for a race, I feel it is useful to associate classes to help inform the culture.

For the Halfling, maybe intentionally focus on tropes in England.

Monk - a Friar Tuck concept? (If I recall correctly, his monastic order makes delicious alcohol?)

Ranger - a farmer or shepherd or beekeeper using nature magic.

Rogue - a goodnatured, wellmeaning thief, being part of a deadly but happy family mafia.



I tend to think of police detectives as the Rogue class. The Halfling could be part of a Human citys security force, tracking down criminals.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I’d assume they’d fire only when in smooth flight- like when gliding or soaring- to maximize accuracy. Or they’d master the art of firing between wingbeats.

Speaking of goats…why not goat-drawn battle carts? Worked for Thor, right?
…OTOH, if they had giant DRAGONFLIES to ride into battle…

dart
hover & fire
dart
full move
dart
dart
hover & fire


Etc.
 


Yeah but dragonflies aren't as cute as giant furry bees.....more in keeping with cutesy farmy hobbit image :LOL: (y'know...fly like a butterfly...sting like a bee)
it is float like a butterfly.
bees would be terrible in war thus you would more likely go for something which ranges more widely or hunts.
the dragon born army mentioned above would be terrifying as drakes would try to eat people and the foot soldiers can vomit goats of acid, cold, fire or lightning at people, for other I would suggest a caster of some sort as they strike me as loving magic far more the dwarves may be a different type of paladin or the legendary arcane half caster?
 


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