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

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Oofta

Legend
"Ghosts of Saltmarsh: Notes that halflings are common in the area and that there are several halfling villages (25% chance that any village or manor found by the party is a halfling village or manor). A halfling bandit. A halfling druid. A halfling merchant. A halfling councilmember. a halfling veteran who's the agent of the town's bailiff."

That's four named halfling NPCs plus says that a quarter of all villages are halfling villages.

Winston, a halfling bandit who runs a store.

Ferrin Kastilar, a halfling druid who has a frog animal companion.

Bellis Bellweather, a halfling councilmember/cheese shop owner.

Merrick, a halfling veteran who works for the bailiff.

Do you have a copy of the book that doesn't include these characters? Did you just not read what I wrote?

In comparison, I counted six named elves, four named dwarfs, four named gnomes, two named half-elves, and zero tieflings or dragonborn, either named or unnamed. Everyone else is human.

So, in a 256-page module, halflings are equally as important as dwarfs and gnomes, more important than half-elves, and almost as important as elves.

So you were saying?
They already moved the goalposts on this one when I pointed out much the same. Now it's something about the halfling villages not being mapped out or something.
 

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Chaosmancer

Legend
Good lord.

You take nearly everything you respond to either out of context, wildly too literally, or try to extrapolate it to some nonsensically hyperbolic conclusion with little relation to why anyone is saying.

So yea, totally your fault.

How is suggesting that one way to rewrite halflings is to have them control all food in the area, when the person claimed that one possible way to rewrite halflings is to have them control all food in the area me taking things completely out of context?

Like, I'm utterly baffled. I didn't say they said it was the only way. I didn't say they thought it was RAW. All I said was that they claimed it was an interpretation... which they literally told me when I said "yes you could, but this wasn't RAW and doesn't address my desire to improve RAW"


What do you think I was saying that makes you think I was so far off base here?
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Rules question: If you play a campaign where elves are recycling souls from past lives then what happens when someone raises dead on one of their previous dead bodies?

And what do the elven gods do in an afterlife with no souls piling up?

I could see them having a "training" period where they stay in the afterlife to act as guards, angels, ect. Maybe helping them deal with regrets and issues from their past life.

This set-up would also rely on the gods not being powered by absorbing souls.

To the other... I'd say Raise Dead being within a few days, works as normal. Once you start getting into "they died last year" it could be considered that there is not a soul to be returned.
 


Chaosmancer

Legend
I also mentioned "communicates using oral and written language". Could have also listed a shared propensity to make and use tools.. I mean you can pick whatever set of traits you like that is sufficiently descriptive to represent "humanoid". The final destination is the same. And the point was that you are choosing to follow this reductionist path with halflings as if it is only applicable for them, and I feel that is a waste of energy.

Tool use and communicating with language (both oral and written) also applies to Mindflayers and Ogres. So, not sure why you felt the need to expand your list.

But again, you are using the broadest possible terms, things that are obviously going to be true of basically everything, and then trying to twist that around into stating that there is no continuum. That there is no "more or less" but that since at the farthest end of the spectrum everything is the same that there is no point in looking towards the middle of the spectrum and noting a lack of difference or more differences.

Yes. If you want to keep the list to "thinks, uses tools, speaks, has a head, arms and legs" then halflings, elves, dragonborn and humans are all identical. You can even add "mortal, corporeal, bipedal, has forward facing eyes" and they are still identical. But that doesn't mean there is basically no difference between an Illithid and a halfling.

As far as I know there have been no direct observations of Dragonborn facial tissue, bone structure, vocal apparati, etc. (Not even considering how magic might come into play). Artist's depictions of fantasy creatures are, unfortunately, not proof of their biology. I don't really disagree with you that your conclusion may be a reasonable one. But, while it could be a reasonable conclusion, it is not the only possible reasonable conclusion, and it certainly isn't a "factual" conclusion.

So, the only possible way to interact with the fiction is not proof of anything within the fiction. If this were true, DnD itself would not exist. You would literally be unable to have a shared fictional world for people to interact with if it was impossible to determine things about a shared fictional world through words and pictures.

"Artists depictions" is how we catalogued things before Cameras. And, shockingly, photography is still considered an art. So, in one sense, every single thing you have seen a picture of to determine if it is based in reality is "an artists depiction". I suppose you could take the stance that anything you cannot directly observe with your own eyes is potentially false, but then you have hallucinations, Descartes, so at some point you need to go forward with the assumption that things are true.

Fantasy is literally "made up". Worse than that as it relates to D&D, it's made up and has magic. It is 100% subjective and unmoored from the constraints of reality. There is no meaningful consensus. Hell, you posted a bunch of art for halflings and gnome with wildly different characteristics as imagined by different artists. No one is going to be proven wrong for imagining something differently than another person does. Do you really believe otherwise??

You miss the point by trying to make my own point more extreme than it is. You'd be able to tell if I posted a picture of a lizardfolk instead of a gnome right? If I came to you and said "this is a gnome, just like in DnD" and it was a picture of an alligator, you'd tell me I was wrong, right?

If there is no meaningful consensus, how could you tell me what dragon is? IF you say that the party is fighting a dragon and the barbarian says they step on it and squish it, because there is no consensus and they think of small depictions like Psuedodragons or St. George's Dragon, then are they right? Or would you say that they are clearly acting out and not following how things are meant to be? Because, shockingly, we do actually have a meaningful consensus of what being a dragon means in DnD. To the point that we have other "dragon related monsters" that have different names. Because they aren't dragons.

So, yes, I do believe that a meaningful consensus can be built about a fantasy world. The point I was making about halfling and gnome art was to showcase that it really isn't so cut and dry. Many of the pictures people posted as "halflings" I thought were gnomes. So relying on "physical descriptions" to differentiate halflings from the rest of the world... has an issue.

As it relates to building materials, would expect a combination of both differing materials and different usage. Stone, wood, and clay are the materials harvested for building because they are the materials that work to address normal building engineering requirements. You change those requirements, you change the population of harvestable materials. Balsa might be an extreme example, but sure, that might be one. The other piece would be things like board thicknesses as you surmised. Wooden trusses used to support a bridge are larger/thicker/heavier than the ones used to support your roof. It's the same principle, if you don't have to do as much with it, you don't have to use as much of it.

Okay, yeah, you are using the word "materials" in a very different manner than I am. You are thinking more about the shapes, thickness, and other elements while I was literally thinking about the actual material itself. Stone is stone, if you are building a building out of stone that can withstand the weather and keep out a wild beast, you are going to be using the same types of stone, even if you can make them thinner or shape them differently due to weight variances.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
I see what you are getting at. Could have clarified better.

During a trance, "reliving of a past life" event that the player is unaware of

=

While asleep, having a dream about an event that the player is unaware of

Sure, if you are using trances to give them an expeirence the player is unaware of. But the Trance can also be used for things the player is aware of, and can allow them to build multiple histories and even motivations. It makes it more of a player tool than simple dreams are.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
And so what? The effect it has one the game is exactly zero. Nothing happens any differently if one of the player characters happens to be a goliath rune knight.

Um... no? A goliath rune knight who is pulling on existing Giant lore is quite different from a Goliath Rune Knight if that lore does not exist. Sure, their mechanics are the same, but the game is about more than simple mechanics

And that is how it will go with lineages. Lineage it's separated from biology. A High Elf lineage character could be biologically an elf, or a half elf, or a halfling raised by elves. So the elven history of your campaign setting is completely separate from character creation.

You have no idea if that is true or not. You are trying to predict the future and frankly, I think you are wrong.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
But where are the elven NPCs that play a key role in the story? They are listed 2nd in the PHB, so surely they must always have a key role!!!

Always? No.

Occassionally? I would certainly hope so. And they do in at least a few places. I don't have many of the adventure paths, but "elves" in the form of drow DOMINATE the Out of the Abyss adventure. I know that there is a drow that plays a major part in Dragon Heist and is there fore directly responsible for kicking of Mad Mage. I'm also fairly certain there is a major Elven NPC in Avernus, but I am going off a memory of someone talking about that module so I'm a little vague.

Also, isn't there at least one major leader of the Lord's Alliance who is an elf? I know that they (the Lord's Alliance) played a big role in a few modules, and their factions were a major aspect for Adventures League.

So, at least two modules with direct NPCs, a third with a major influence, and probably another two or three with influences of varying degrees.

But obviously that is the same as saying "and there is a halfling village near here that you will never see and isn't important" or "but there is a single NPC you meet in one chapter to be given a quest"


Edit: And remember, for @Faolyn and @Oofta as well, Hussars point isn't that halflings need to show up in every single adventure. But that they should have a major role at least once. We are 7 years into the game, and they haven't had a single major role in anything to my knowledge. Meanwhile, we can find pretty major roles played by races like "elves" (and the quotes are because Drow count as elves)
 

Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
Always? No.

Occassionally? I would certainly hope so. And they do in at least a few places. I don't have many of the adventure paths, but "elves" in the form of drow DOMINATE the Out of the Abyss adventure. I know that there is a drow that plays a major part in Dragon Heist and is there fore directly responsible for kicking of Mad Mage. I'm also fairly certain there is a major Elven NPC in Avernus, but I am going off a memory of someone talking about that module so I'm a little vague.

Also, isn't there at least one major leader of the Lord's Alliance who is an elf? I know that they (the Lord's Alliance) played a big role in a few modules, and their factions were a major aspect for Adventures League.

So, at least two modules with direct NPCs, a third with a major influence, and probably another two or three with influences of varying degrees.

But obviously that is the same as saying "and there is a halfling village near here that you will never see and isn't important" or "but there is a single NPC you meet in one chapter to be given a quest"

Laeral Silverhand is a member of the Lord's Alliance, as leader of Waterdeep. I'll add, the representative for the Zhentarim at their council in Tyranny of Dragons is a halfling.

Reading the past pages of this thread, I don't even know what folks are arguing about anymore.
 

Tool use and communicating with language (both oral and written) also applies to Mindflayers and Ogres. So, not sure why you felt the need to expand your list.

But again, you are using the broadest possible terms, things that are obviously going to be true of basically everything, and then trying to twist that around into stating that there is no continuum. That there is no "more or less" but that since at the farthest end of the spectrum everything is the same that there is no point in looking towards the middle of the spectrum and noting a lack of difference or more differences.

Yes. If you want to keep the list to "thinks, uses tools, speaks, has a head, arms and legs" then halflings, elves, dragonborn and humans are all identical. You can even add "mortal, corporeal, bipedal, has forward facing eyes" and they are still identical. But that doesn't mean there is basically no difference between an Illithid and a halfling.



So, the only possible way to interact with the fiction is not proof of anything within the fiction. If this were true, DnD itself would not exist. You would literally be unable to have a shared fictional world for people to interact with if it was impossible to determine things about a shared fictional world through words and pictures.

"Artists depictions" is how we catalogued things before Cameras. And, shockingly, photography is still considered an art. So, in one sense, every single thing you have seen a picture of to determine if it is based in reality is "an artists depiction". I suppose you could take the stance that anything you cannot directly observe with your own eyes is potentially false, but then you have hallucinations, Descartes, so at some point you need to go forward with the assumption that things are true.



You miss the point by trying to make my own point more extreme than it is. You'd be able to tell if I posted a picture of a lizardfolk instead of a gnome right? If I came to you and said "this is a gnome, just like in DnD" and it was a picture of an alligator, you'd tell me I was wrong, right?

If there is no meaningful consensus, how could you tell me what dragon is? IF you say that the party is fighting a dragon and the barbarian says they step on it and squish it, because there is no consensus and they think of small depictions like Psuedodragons or St. George's Dragon, then are they right? Or would you say that they are clearly acting out and not following how things are meant to be? Because, shockingly, we do actually have a meaningful consensus of what being a dragon means in DnD. To the point that we have other "dragon related monsters" that have different names. Because they aren't dragons.

So, yes, I do believe that a meaningful consensus can be built about a fantasy world. The point I was making about halfling and gnome art was to showcase that it really isn't so cut and dry. Many of the pictures people posted as "halflings" I thought were gnomes. So relying on "physical descriptions" to differentiate halflings from the rest of the world... has an issue.



Okay, yeah, you are using the word "materials" in a very different manner than I am. You are thinking more about the shapes, thickness, and other elements while I was literally thinking about the actual material itself. Stone is stone, if you are building a building out of stone that can withstand the weather and keep out a wild beast, you are going to be using the same types of stone, even if you can make them thinner or shape them differently due to weight variances.
This post is what happens when you are more interested in making words happen than making sense.

I'm done.
 
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