log in or register to remove this ad

 

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

that was not the point those are all based on the unlikely hero archetype what else can you do with a halfling? what other than that one archetype do they have? they end up super similar as they would not make wizards or monks, they care for nothing but comfort they are just Eloi without the being food angle.
Speak for yourself! There’s good eatin’ on a halfling! Maybe that is the answer? Halflings were conceived as a food source in difficult times.

This opens up some interesting role-playing possibilities.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Doug McCrae

Legend
Looking at the numbers scree-plot wise, Humans and Elves certainly stood out, but then they started a slow gradual smear, with the aasimar falling off the end.
It's interesting that genasi are so popular (7th place). They're the only race in the top ten that have never appeared in a PHB.
 



DEFCON 1

Legend
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. ;)
 



Yaarel

Legend
in DnD human is the perfect chameleon, and can decently mimic any race.
Halfling can be considered useless, but you will need an efficient lobby to pretend that Tolkien books and films never existed. Halfling race is backup by books and movies that assure them a place in fantasy game for ever.
But I agree that for a world building addict, halfling is not very glamour. You don’t build a fantasy world around halfling. Replicating the Shire thousand time, will create a nice place, with only cute gardens and farms. If you need drama, passion, betrayal, power, you go for human, elf, Tiefling.
I agree, D&D benefits from the popularity of Tolkien movies, where the Hobbit has a meaningful contribution to the Tolkien setting.

But. In the context of D&D settings, the Halfling Hobbit is too Human and contributes little or nothing to the design space.

It isnt that Halfling lacks glamor or weirdness. A cute lineage that likes coziness might be interesting in its own way. It is that the Halfling lineage is redundant with a cute Human that likes coziness.
 

Greg K

Adventurer
So human farmer? Gnome?
Pastoral is a social background not a race trait.

Yeah Halflings from their inception were set up as being just half-sized humans with nothing to define them beyond being simple pastoral folk. It works fine within Tolkiens story but as a race option in a broad menu of other races they are just a little too bland and fail to find a good niche of their own.
IMC I pushed them into the fey to become all those child-like fey trooping around behind Oberon and Titania
I'll take halflings over 90% + of the PC races that have been introduced to the game after 1e including Aasimir, Tieflings, Dragonborn, Genasai, Shadar-kai- all of which I find uninteresting. Then agai, if I had my way, most of my campaigns would be human only.
 
Last edited:

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Eberron probably changes the most noticeably of any of these listed settings, as it has Talenta Plains, Dragonmarked, and House Boromar Halflings, but even then, you could just as easily replace all halflings with Gnomes (or possibly even Goblins) and get practically the same outcome.
You could just as easily reverse that, to be fair. What would change if Dakaan was an ancient Halfling empire?
 

It's interesting that genasi are so popular (7th place). They're the only race in the top ten that have never appeared in a PHB.
cool elemental powers but otherwise human.
I agree, D&D benefits from the popularity of Tolkien movies, where the Hobbit has a meaningful contribution to the Tolkien setting.

But. In the context of D&D settings, the Halfling Hobbit is too Human and contributes little or nothing to the design space.

It isnt that Halfling lacks glamor or weirdness. A cute lineage that likes coziness might be interesting in its own way. It is that the Halfling lineage is redundant with a cute Human that likes coziness.
variants better for settings have been done but mostly in asian MMOs for some reason maybe they found an audience out there?
I find Halfling is to one generation to what high fantastical martial arts is to one generation
which gen is which?

You could just as easily reverse that, to be fair. What would change if Dakaan was an ancient Halfling empire?
well, they would have a history for starters.
 


clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Supporter
Not to derail, but I don't think that's quite right, because his views and way of life only partially line up with those of the hobbits, and he doesn't have every trait of theirs in an extreme form - or even many. Tom is basically, a straight-up return-to-nature utopian anarchist. He thus represents something more extreme than the hobbits, and which doesn't match up with the frequent small-minded-ness, xenophobia (not so much in the Fellowship hobbits, but certainly hobbits as a whole), and so on. He's lived free since the dawn of time, and he wants to continue to live free. Tolkien himself expressed strong anarchist sympathies (much as that may shock people). In letter 52 to his son, he specifically calls himself an Anarchist and also offers support for what would today be regarded as luddite terrorism (workers dynamiting factories etc.).
Sounds right. It may even have been Tolkien subliminally injecting himself into his world.
 


I agree, D&D benefits from the popularity of Tolkien movies, where the Hobbit has a meaningful contribution to the Tolkien setting.

But. In the context of D&D settings, the Halfling Hobbit is too Human and contributes little or nothing to the design space.

It isnt that Halfling lacks glamor or weirdness. A cute lineage that likes coziness might be interesting in its own way. It is that the Halfling lineage is redundant with a cute Human that likes coziness.
For design space hobbits don’t have to take any space. You can on the fly assume that there can be a small hobbits community between two kingdom, that they have not contribute to any political or warfare events, until that player decide to play a hobbit.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
For sure! And the food would be great!

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.
 
Last edited:

I agree, D&D benefits from the popularity of Tolkien movies, where the Hobbit has a meaningful contribution to the Tolkien setting.

But. In the context of D&D settings, the Halfling Hobbit is too Human and contributes little or nothing to the design space.

It isnt that Halfling lacks glamor or weirdness. A cute lineage that likes coziness might be interesting in its own way. It is that the Halfling lineage is redundant with a cute Human that likes coziness.
I think a lot of people underestimate how big deal being small is (pun intended.) It definitely changes the feel of the species and being smaller than everyone else would affect how they behave and relate to the world. Personally If I wanted to play a halfling, playing (even a short) human that likes coziness* wouldn't cut it.

* Though I prefer my halflings to be more adventurous, inquisitive and kendery rather than hobbity homebodies. (I can do this with a gnome as well, as I said earlier, it doesn't really matter as they're so similar.)
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I'll take halflings over 90% + of the PC races that have been introduced to the game after 1e including Aasimir, Tieflings, Dragonborn, Genasai, Shadar-kai- all of which I find uninteresting. Then agai, if I had my way, most of my campaigns would be human only.
Yeah I cut those too. I agree none of those are of interest too me. Ironically though where Halfling is too bland, the ones above are too specific for my liking,
But then I’ve done games where Elfs and Dwarf have been cut too,
 

Yaarel

Legend
For design space hobbits don’t have to take any space. You can on the fly assume that there can be a small hobbits community between two kingdom, that they have not contribute to any political or warfare events, until that player decide to play a hobbit.
When I think of a setting, I think in terms of "foreground" and "background". The foreground is the minimalist essence that defines the setting and sets the tone. The foreground includes which characters are the main characters, which lineages are the main lineages, which places are the main places. How do these fundamental elements of the story interrelate to each other? There is no room to waste space.

The background is different, any thing could be there out in the periphery.

The Players Handbook puts the Halfling front-and-center among the four lineages in the foreground. Compared to the Human, Elf, and Dwarf, the Halfling needs to be pruned to make the foreground tighter.
 

Yaarel

Legend
I think a lot of people underestimate how big deal being small is (pun intended.) It definitely changes the feel of the species and being smaller than everyone else would affect how they behave and relate to the world. Personally If I wanted to play a halfling, playing (even a short) human that likes coziness* wouldn't cut it.

* Though I prefer my halflings to be more adventurous, inquisitive and kendery rather than hobbity homebodies. (I can do this with a gnome as well, as I said earlier, it doesn't really matter as they're so similar.)
Sounds like "kids on bikes".
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top