D&D General Not *Another* Halfling Thread! (+)

My halflings are seafaring islander types, they inhabit the many and disparate Shamati Isles. There are Linnorm who carve up Shamati into fiefs so Halfling history often concerns tense negotiations, great friendships, and heroic slayings of these sometimes guardians and sometimes tyrants (the contrast between the tiny halflings and the vast linnorm is really cool to me). The northmost ones even have floating meadhalls! They favor Druids for their magic, who can help with seafaring, navigation, and sustainable island ecosystems.

Notably, when the Linnorm were first summoned, the halflings who pledged to them became kobolds, others fled underground and were affected by the vents into the dream-- becoming magically infused and known as Gnomes.
 

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Mad_Jack

Hero
I've had a few memorable halflings over the years...

Cyralee Brandobaris Arvoreen Perryroyal was a female halfling druid/ranger.
Back in 1st/2nd Ed., there were often a lot of times I went without a steady game for a year or more, so I used to run one for myself - DM-ing and playing the entire party... Since at the time there were still level limits for demihuman characters, I used to play pretty fast and loose with the multiclassing rules, and eventually almost everyone in the party ended up with three or even four classes.
Cyralee was a bit of a beast, to be honest - I'd rolled really good scores for her, and she ended up scoring a lot of nice magic items including a magic bow, and an elven cloak and boots. Given a couple rounds to prepare for a fight, she was absolutely vicious at ambushing enemies, locking them down with spells, and then picking them off one by one before they ever reached the party.

Polly Pureheart, Pint-sized Paladin of Pelor, started out as a joke character...

Polyphemia Peregrine Pureheart is a halfling paladin. Her personality and visual image is straight-up the stereotypical kid's-cartoon "plucky redheaded kid with freckles and a voice like a chipmunk with a head cold"... She has a childlike personality and a child's simplistic black-and-white sense of right and wrong.
When Polly was a little girl in her halfling village every morning she'd walk outside to start her day, stretch and yawn, and then look up into the sky and say, "Hello, Mr. Sun..."
When Polly was still doing it as a teenager, and still retained her childlike personality, everyone assumed that she'd spent too much time staring into the sun and was more than a little bit touched in the head.
What nobody else in the village realized was that, when Polly was six years old, she'd walked outside, looked up and said, "Hello, Mr. Sun..."
And "Mr. Sun" had replied...
Hello, Polly...

Even though I originally made her just for the lulz, I quickly decided that when I got to use her in a game I would play her completely straight - as a study of how someone with a clear-cut black-and-white world view deals with a shades-of-grey world.

And then there's Ripper... :cool:

Ripper started out as a pregen halfling thief I got handed for a game that I jumped in on circa 1990-91 - a bunch of people were playing in my college cafeteria and I stopped to watch, so they told me to pull up another chair and play.
The character had a ring of jumping and a magical dagger. At one point in the adventure some bad guys had trapped up in a tavern and lit the place on fire with some of their own guys still inside to keep us from escaping. Even though thieves were crap in combat back the, the DM was generous and let me get in a number of backstabs by hiding under the tables... and by using the ring of jumping to leap halfway across the tavern onto a guy's back and cut his throat...
That's when I began to think of him as "Ripper". :D
Despite having mostly mopped up the guys in the tavern with us there were still a lot more keeping us from escaping the burning building, so I did something unexpected - screaming like a barbarian, Ripper used his ring to jump out one of the windows and charged straight at the bad guys. He'd already tossed some flaming oil out into the street earlier in the fight and using his ring to jump back and forth over the burning oil he managed to stay out of the reach of the bad guys and keep them occupied long enough for the rest of the party to fight their way out.
That fight basically gave birth to what would become Ripper's personality and signature fighting style.

A few years later I got into a 2nd Ed. game, and rolled a high strength... then a high intelligence... and then max Dex. So I decided to ressurect the character. He was now officially called Ripper, and was a fighter/thief - the largest halfling anyone had ever seen, muscled like a pro wrestler, and often mistaken for a small dwarf at a distance.
He had huge muttonchops and a personality three times his size. He was a charming ladies' man, he drank and swore like a dwarf, he had no problem picking a fight with anyone, and he'd often pass the time singing Orcish drinking songs to the tune of Elvish love ballads and Elven love ballads to the tune of Orcish drinking songs at the top of his lungs. He wrote poetry and spoke six languages. He was also a clever and devious bastard.
I found him a ring of jumping and some magic daggers as quickly as I could, and making a flying leap onto a target's back with daggers in both hands, wrapping his legs around their chest to hold on and cutting their throat was his signature move.
Rather amusingly, however, one of his first magic items was a set of gauntlets of ogre power... :p
People would stare at the sight of a halfling walking down the street with a bastard sword slung over his shoulder and bristling with daggers all over. There weren't any weapon restrictions on backstabbing back then and because he had to wield it two-handed since he was small, he did some serious damage with it.
Whenever I played him from then on, I always made sure to acquire his ring and gauntlets as soon as I could, and always armed him with a ton of daggers and that bastard sword. (Sometimes the DMs I played under would just up and give me those items just to see Ripper in full effect). In one 3.5 game he was fighting an ogre once when I got annoyed at some bad dice rolls. So he dropped the bastard sword and started punching the ogre in the kneecaps until it fell over, then stood on its chest and proceeded to pimpslap it to death. In another, he used the ring to jump off the walkway of a high castle wall, sailing out into midair several stories up and using the momentum to land on a distant guard below, knocking them senseless.

Ripper is basically an in-game manifestation of my id, with almost no superego to overrule his impulses. When I play him, I'm constantly looking for opportunities to let his personality, flair and cleverness generate entertainment for the rest of the party and set up opportunities for them to step into the spotlight.

Back when the Neverwinter Nights videogame came out for PC, I used to play a female halfling monk whose name I can't remember and wasn't really important - I spent almost an hour just hitting the reroll button on her ability scores until I got nothing lower than a 16, and I freely admit it was solely for the entertainment value of seeing a tiny half-nekid woman beating the hell out of orcs and ogres with her bare hands. :D:rolleyes:
 

We should create other thread about gnomes.

One of my ideas for PCs was a halfling version of Fly, the main character of "Dragon Quest". About background he was like a sohei but about game mechanic he was a warblade (martial adept class from 3.5 Tome of Battle) with a special ki maneuver with a effect like jump, shorter height but faster reload than the spell, to can hit in the head of the enemies.

The other PC is like a monster rider but with a strange twist. The "monster mount" is a (totally) sentient construct, but this can work as a powered armour. Technically it is a "hollow" autognome with special gadgets in arms and feet to climb, jump or shoot a hook. The house rule is for the XP reward they are like two PCs and then the power balance shouldn't be broken. Sometimes this autognome says strange nonenses about a "reincarnated isekai" and its misses "manga and anime".
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
Okay hear me out.

What if, a thread about DnD Halflings, but positive?

View attachment 265702
Pictured: Finnan O'Foalan Thrice-Dead, Chosen of Mask, son of a Sembian farmer, called Mac Mohrwylaedd in the hin tongue

But seriously, let's talk Harflings in the Dungeons Dragons! In a + thread! So no crapping anyone's ideas, no yucking anyone's yum. If you don't like halflings, think they should get shunted to the Monster Manual, or whatever other hot take, there is a perfectly silly existing thread for that. This here thread is for shirefolk, nomadic river traders, anarcho-socialist mail carriers, also nomadic dinosaur raising tribesfolk of the windy plains, wanderlust fueled engines of unbridled curiosity and optimism, isolationist cannibals, fishers and farmers, thieves and scoundrels, and on very rare occasions, great leaders who unite the free peoples to do great works. Call them Hin, Kender, Hobbits, Talenta, or just plain old Halflings, just don't call them late for dinner! Or supper, for that matter.

We can start with a questions.

A. What is your favorite halfling PC you've played or played alongside or DMed for?

2. What have you done with halflings in a homebrew world, or done to mod their place in a published world, that you're particularly proud of?

Third. What's an idea for either of the above that you haven't gotten a chance to use yet, or haven't finished working out?

Quatrieme. Share your favorite piece of halfling art, an example of your preferred art style or art direction for them. I guess we have to follow our own rules here, too, and not make fun of art styles for halflings that we reeeeeally dislike. Keep it positive!

I'll post mine in a followup post!
I love all the different cultures Level Up provides for halflings. They have Shirefolk, but they also have creepy halflings that live in shadow, paranoid halflings that expertly hide from outsiders, and wild halflings that dig in the dirt by hand and live a more primal existence.

In my homebrew, most halflings were originally escaped slaves from an archlich who traveled across the continent and founded a new home in land recently abandoned due to an unrelated catastrophe. In the centuries since, a human nation from the west has expanded and enveloped them, and they're trying to maintain their culture in the face of it. Not the most original thing, but I like it, and there's a place in my setting for all the other halflings too.
 


Halflings on a barge-city, kind of Waterworld-like. Their smaller size would make sense for all the tiny bridges and ropes and spaces available. The communal nature makes sense in a floating city where everyone has to be well together or massive sections fail at once.

Lucky makes sense as they constantly don't quite fall in. Bravery being featured during storms.

I think this all works
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
So, as the OP might indicate, my favorite halfling PC I’ve played is the guy in the OP picture, Finnan O’Foalan. That the HeroForge mini I am considering having printed.

He’s a Swashbuckler Rogue with 3 levels of Echo knight Fighter, and a wild history. He’s tall for a halfling at 4ft, but in 4e halflings we’re taller than gnomes so it’s partly just that. He’s quiet, hard working, and loyal.

He’s also scary. Expertise in Intimidation represents an ability to just stare people down in total silence and squash whatever problem they’re trying to make into his problem, and his stealth abilities are nearly broken.

Started as a White Well Hexblade in 4e, so basically like a Blade Pact Archfey Warlock, but actually built to fight. Thematically, he was a thief with a magic sword and a lot of secrets. Eventually it was revealed that he was displaced in time, having been a saboteur and assassin in the Sembian resistance against Netheril before the spellplague. He was saved by Mask, who he served, at the moment of death upon being hanged for sedition. For 100 years he dwelt in stasis in the Shadow, and then his stasis failed, and Mask was nowhere to be seen, and he was near death, alone, in the Shadowfell.

Then a light appeared, and a woman appeared sitting next to what should have been a fetid pool, but was instead a glassy well reflecting a moon not present in the sky, and The Lady asked him if he would help her, and he agreed.

Then other stuff happens that is super involved and he became a revenant with split loyalties and then fully died and was brought back fresh without scars or supernatural strings, free to choose his own path. He also came back with no magic as he’d had before, but with a tiny sliver of Masks divinity, and the knowledge that he was the last true Chosen of Mask. (Level 11 feat based on the wood elf magic feat, giving him pass without trace, cure wounds, and the “no disad from dim light” trait)

Now he is in Abeir with his best friend Torkan the Dragonborn and his beloved Gnomish Artifcer, Nemain Trickfoot. He’s opened up a bit, teaching his friends halfling work songs he learned growing up in a little farm town just up the river from an even smaller fishing town, and later in the docks and on ships in the harbors of Sembia’s coastal cities. Recently he refreshed his fit, by commissioning a suit of armor that looks more like the traveling clothes of a noble (as pictured), and a mithral longsword (finesse, extra crit damage) and mithral shield in the Tymantherian style (straps to arm leaving hand free, only provides a mundane +1 AC, made up for by enchanted +1).

He also hit fighter3, and took Echo Knight, which we are flavoring as him animating his shadow after having gone into his own subconscious (with friends) to battle the shadow of himself and face his Truth. Having conquered his shadow, he has much stronger access to the power of the shard of the divine soul inside, thus the new magic.

Finnan couldn’t be anything but a halfling, for me. It informs how he approaches revolution, theft, and even assassination, and thus how he interacts with Mask, who he sees as a potential patron of avengers.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Some ideas I had in the other thread, about making Halflings more “flashy”.
I think it could be done, actually. The halfling shouldn’t be flashy like fireball is flashy, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be flashy and cool.

Why couldn’t a race be good at throwing things, and thus use thrown weapons at a d6 damage die, and slings at d8?

Or find a way to make that Lightfoots stealth stand out more by being straight up invisibility PB/LR when you become hidden?

Or look at kender, and their taunt.

I think if we comb all editions halflings for ideas, and look to hobbits and what makes them interesting during an adventure scene, there is plenty to work with.
What I mean about making them flashy is to add active abilities, and things that make them play differently from other races.


I’m curious what people like specifically about previous edition Halflings, what they miss from other media, etc?

I know that I wish they had the Hobbit’s incredible stealth, and resilience.
 

BrokenTwin

Biological Disaster
@doctorbadwolf The thing is, for me, what I like about the little folk is really hard to quantify as active abilities, and in the D&D framework are usually hard to quantify at all. For me, it's their resilience to corruption, (usually) community-focused lifestyles, and love of food. In certain other systems those are all able to be represented with clear mechanics.

Mechanically, I love their luck, but currently that's more reactive (turning failure into potential success) than active. Giving them the Lucky feat would make it more active. Stealth as an ancestral ability is something that's already given to a lot of the 'small' races, and is also hard to make an actual active ability. Unless we really lean into our original burglar and give them the ability to straight up turn invisible (proficiency times per day seems to be the new default).

Heck, we could REALLY lean into their association with invisibility and make them able to see invisible creatures, too (as an active or passive ability, either or).
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
@doctorbadwolf The thing is, for me, what I like about the little folk is really hard to quantify as active abilities, and in the D&D framework are usually hard to quantify at all. For me, it's their resilience to corruption, (usually) community-focused lifestyles, and love of food. In certain other systems those are all able to be represented with clear mechanics.

Mechanically, I love their luck, but currently that's more reactive (turning failure into potential success) than active. Giving them the Lucky feat would make it more active. Stealth as an ancestral ability is something that's already given to a lot of the 'small' races, and is also hard to make an actual active ability. Unless we really lean into our original burglar and give them the ability to straight up turn invisible (proficiency times per day seems to be the new default).

Heck, we could REALLY lean into their association with invisibility and make them able to see invisible creatures, too (as an active or passive ability, either or).
Something I’ve suggested before is giving them a song of rest feature or a type of bardic inspiration they grant to the party during a rest, it’s a support ability but it’s still interesting.
 

Xamnam

Loves Your Favorite Game
What I mean about making them flashy is to add active abilities, and things that make them play differently from other races.
I think this could be great, but I do want to offer up that part of the reason I like them (and I've seen other people share this) is that they're kind of a fantasy stepping stone. I see people complain about "Players play Elves like they're just Humans with pointy ears, when a race that lives for hundreds of years should act fundamentally different." Now, I think it's often delivered poorly, and overstated, but I can understand their point.

If you're a player, and that's the message you hear, that can be intimidating. It's no small challenge to portray an alien perspective like that. Enter the halfling. Definitionally part of fantasy for many people, and not terribly distant but nonetheless distinct from human in appearance, lifespan, demeanor. Room to step outside of your own lived experience, without needing to discard all of the touchstones of your own life you can lean on.

Again, I'm not against giving them a bit more that impacts active play. I think that would make them feel better to a section of the player base. I'm interested to see what ideas people come up with in response to your prompt! But I just would argue the fact that they don't inherently play that differently from humans is not necessarily a weakness.
 
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