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D&D General why do we have halflings and gnomes?

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
If the only adventurer option are Rebellious Punk, Disaster Survivors, and Street Urchins... is that race complete as an adventurer option.

Can you even play a halfling adventurer straight?
My favorite 5e character of mine is a halfling bard. Jillian Briarfoot - "now, I know I have a girl's name and we can share a laugh over that, but it's my grandmother's name and she's the best cook in three counties so don't disrespect it."

Fearless glamour bard. Would only retreat to come at something from a different angle. Sure, he'd occasionally step in front of our barbarian to protect him, but that barbarian was also a king. You do those things. Even with the lowest HPs and AC in the party. Jillian was a courtier, and in the party he found a king worth serving looking for his lost kingdom. We eventually found it, and Jillian is now the First Herald of Pal.

Played a several year campaign to it's conclusion, went through the land of the dead and overcame his tests and came back. Not "punk" or "disaster survivor" or "urchin" - he was never damaged or lost. But one fiercely loyal to the family he found.
 
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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I'm not talking travel.

I could see halflings being big travelers.

I'm talking being an adventurer. Going into a dusty tomb full of deathtraps, monsters, and violent humaniods. I just can't seea normal minded halfling doing that constantly without being dragged or forced to. Same with a race like kobolds who are known for their extreme cowardice.
You're saying the race that can experience that it is move favored by Lady Luck than any other race, the race that is turned away by fear less than the stubborn dwarves, the magestic elves, or the heroes of man - you are saying that race has a problem adventuring?

When they have the racial features Brave and Lucky, and no one else does - well the game paints a very different picture of them than you do. Align your opinions with how they are represented mechanically in the rules and you shouldn't have a problem.
 

Hexmage-EN

Adventurer
I love playing gnomes myself. I imagine them as having really specific, obsessive interests, with my favorite gnome PC so far being a conjurer who absolutely believes there are good demons somewhere and wants to prove it.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Every single culture actively discourages adventuring. It's an insanely dangerous thing to do. It's always been for mavericks, those with little to lose, or those who have a huge point to prove.

My point is that halflings is the one of the 2 races in D&D that lorewise in 3 out of 5 editions has a culture of "we stay at home because it's nice and safe".
Therefore it has more cultural pressure to not become an adventurer than a human, elf, dwarf, dragonborn, or orc.

Just like a race that see the sea as an evil force will have few sailor than a race that has a nuetral attitude to the sea.

You have the normal "Adventurer is for crazy and desperate people" attitude to fight plus an additional racial "Let's stay home and eat and smoke. Where the heck are you going?" baggage.

Sure once a halfling decides to adventure (or if you are playing 3e or 4e), halflings rock at adventuring. But getting them to upgrade from travelling to dungeon delving is harder than most of the other races.

The percentage of halfling adventurers in Tolkien's works would not match D&D's. D&D's would be much lower. A lot lower.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Eberron and dark sun have fairly distinctive roles for halflings in the world. I think gnomes were one of the races who were killed off in dark sun but they are pretty distinct in eberron with secret police empowered as judge jury &executioner. Plus they have the library of korranberg, elemental binders working with cannith to make airships, & house sivvis who are basically magic telegraph network operators and magic printing presses

Dark sun halflings are cannibal raider tribes that I believe migrate.

Eberron halflings break into a few groups plus normal people
* first you've got the dinosaur riding desert dwelling clans with some spiritual links to their dinos.
*second you have house jorasco who are skilled in medicine & healing. You don't hold to a church if your sick... you might go to a magewright healer for little or common stuff like broken arms or birth but if your really bad off you go to jorasco.
* third you have the botomar clan &similar but smaller less successful groups. Think of the mafia.
*lastly you have regular people who happen to be halflings. Mist likely they have a lot in common with the people of the region/city/eth that they live in.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
My point is that halflings is the one of the 2 races in D&D that lorewise in 3 out of 5 editions has a culture of "we stay at home because it's nice and safe".
Therefore it has more cultural pressure to not become an adventurer than a human, elf, dwarf, dragonborn, or orc.
5e has a split culture for halflings. Some of them stay at home where it's say, and some of them, "Even adventurers among them usually venture into the world for reasons of community, friendship, wanderlust, or curiosity. They love discovering new things, even simple things, such as an exotic food or an unfamiliar style of clothing."

Their curiosity and wanderlust make plenty of them into adventurers. They just like to spend time at the best inns, eating the best food while they are out adventuring.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
5e has a split culture for halflings. Some of them stay at home where it's say, and some of them, "Even adventurers among them usually venture into the world for reasons of community, friendship, wanderlust, or curiosity. They love discovering new things, even simple things, such as an exotic food or an unfamiliar style of clothing."

Their curiosity and wanderlust make plenty of them into adventurers. They just like to spend time at the best inns, eating the best food while they are out adventuring.
None of that is jumping into a dragons cave.

Like I said halfling probably travel to new cities a lot. But it's a big jump between visiting a far off city for new cuisine and entertainment and kicking down a vampire lord's castle doors. A typical halfling wants to go to the next city for pies and parties, not punch a orc chieftian and steal his magic axe.

Halfling make great adventurers. Halfling culture however is actively anti-adventuring.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
None of that is jumping into a dragons cave.
Comforts cost money. Dragon's caves are full of not only wealth, but things to pique curiosity, another feature of halfling culture. So yes, there is jumping into a dragon's cave.
Halfling make great adventurers. Halfling culture however is actively anti-adventuring.
More so than not, but there is still significant portions of the culture that would prompt a number of curious halflings to go out and explore even dragons' caves. They may not be as adventurous as humans, but I don't think that they are as anti-adventure as you are making them out to be.
 

happyhermit

Adventurer
Thanks, (in no small part I think) to manga and anime, and maybe Darksun, I find that the; "exotic food experience" can, in fact be found in the dungeon. :sick:

I never understood the dislike or "pointlessness" of Halflings. Players usually have a great time with them and the race has never really caused problems IME. I usually play up their love of good food and drink, a lot, because I love good food and drink... a lot, and it's fun. They often are a good counterpoint to the more jerky/stoic/mysterious characters IMO.

Gnomes are just awesome.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Comforts cost money. Dragon's caves are full of not only wealth, but things to pique curiosity, another feature of halfling culture. So yes, there is jumping into a dragon's cave.
Hoard robbing for booze and whore money is the satyr's gimmick :cool:

More so than not, but there is still significant portions of the culture that would prompt a number of curious halflings to go out and explore even dragons' caves. They may not be as adventurous as humans, but I don't think that they are as anti-adventure as you are making them out to be.
Again I'm not saying halfling wont adventure.
I'm saying D&D copied Tolkien's hobbits and plastered it all over the halfling culture to make the race as a whole simple couch potato homebodies with no grant ambition and a vague curiosity to see stuff but no drive to do anything big

It's a whole race with NPC qualities. Even halfling adventurers often feel more like sidekicks to their taller adventurer friends.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
My point is that halflings is the one of the 2 races in D&D that lorewise in 3 out of 5 editions has a culture of "we stay at home because it's nice and safe".
Therefore it has more cultural pressure to not become an adventurer than a human, elf, dwarf, dragonborn, or orc.

Just like a race that see the sea as an evil force will have few sailor than a race that has a nuetral attitude to the sea.

You have the normal "Adventurer is for crazy and desperate people" attitude to fight plus an additional racial "Let's stay home and eat and smoke. Where the heck are you going?" baggage.

Sure once a halfling decides to adventure (or if you are playing 3e or 4e), halflings rock at adventuring. But getting them to upgrade from travelling to dungeon delving is harder than most of the other races.

The percentage of halfling adventurers in Tolkien's works would not match D&D's. D&D's would be much lower. A lot lower.
Sure. Great. Halfling culture discourages adventuring even more than other cultures do. That doesn’t seem to me to be a problem at all. It doesn’t prevent halfling PCs, and in fact, it makes halfling PCs special in a way that is unique to halflings. Where’s the problem? I’m only seeing positives there.
 


Both elves and dwarves (as written in D&D) are culturally disinclined to become adventurers. Elves out of an aversion to mixing with "lesser" races, dwarves out of a strong culture of responsibility to family and clan. Indeed, the vast majority of the population of any fantasy world is disinclined to adventure - worlds have far more farmers than they do adventurers.

That means pretty much all* adventurers are misfits and outsiders, who band together because they have more in common with each other than with typical members of their own race.



*There are a smattering of exceptional races, such as tabaxi, for whom adventuring is normal, and some who, like half elves, half orcs and tieflings that are born outsiders and have little choice.
 

Stormonu

Legend
None of that is jumping into a dragons cave.

Like I said halfling probably travel to new cities a lot. But it's a big jump between visiting a far off city for new cuisine and entertainment and kicking down a vampire lord's castle doors. A typical halfling wants to go to the next city for pies and parties, not punch a orc chieftian and steal his magic axe.

Halfling make great adventurers. Halfling culture however is actively anti-adventuring.
Dwarven culture is even worse - keep your head down and work 24/7 in a mine. Elves? They're off laughing in forests.

I can easily see an Indiana Jone-like halfling, hat rippling in the wind as he laughs, racing the artifacts from a plundered mummy's tomb while dodging the goblin forces chasing him from warg-back.

Adventure? Excitement? A halfing craves these things - so long as he's back for elvensee's.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Every single culture actively discourages adventuring. It's an insanely dangerous thing to do. It's always been for mavericks, those with little to lose, or those who have a huge point to prove.
Not really, there were a number of real world cultures that encouraged young men to go out in the world and prove themselves, in the wilderness, in the military or in the diplomatic corps.
Then you have the whole Mercenary adventurer doing the round before returning home to settle. I‘d guess that in DnD Humans actively encourage what is referred to as adventuring, Even moreso in points of light settings when the peasant miltia has to go out and defend the village from bandits and marauding Orcs (standing armies and town guards were rare outside royal cities). Half-orcs are also active raiders and elves live in the forest doing stuff.

Halflings are specifically called out as homebodies who dont encourage those things
 
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Not really, there were a number of real world cultures that encouraged young men to go out in the world and prove themselves, in the wilderness, in the military or in the diplomatic corps.
That was a class thing. Since only the oldest son in a British upper class family could inherit younger sons where encouraged to go off and get themselves killed in the name of Empire.

The vast majority of the population, who were not upper class, where "encouraged" (as in required by law) to stay put.
 

delph

Explorer
Stout Halflings are best fighters
  • reroll ones so not much crit fails and advantage on them
  • have advantage and ressistance on poisons - common dmg in game
  • can't be feared
+2 dex +1 con are great
- second chance feat is nice too when you have odd Dex. Crit on you? Nope!
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
That was a class thing. Since only the oldest son in a British upper class family could inherit younger sons where encouraged to go off and get themselves killed in the name of Empire.

The vast majority of the population, who were not upper class, where "encouraged" (as in required by law) to stay put.
Thats one example, I was also thinking the rights of passage required of Spartan agoge/krypteia, Maasai Lion Hunting and Polynesian Poia (where young men were expected to sail around the neighbouring islands and contribute in battle)
 

Thats one example, I was also thinking the rights of passage required of Spartan agoge/krypteia, Maasai Lion Hunting and Polynesian Poia (where young men were expected to sail around the neighbouring islands and contribute in battle)
They are broadly similar, and with similar class restrictions - Sparta Rome etc, it was only the ruling class. The agrarian class where slaves and not permitted adventure.
 

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