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

Chaosmancer

Legend
No. Wrong. I'll re-bold. And yet you told me I said all of them were safe. Read until you understand.

So... having retired adventurers doesn't make you safe...

So why was your response to halfling villages being threatened and needing to consider their defenses beyond the basic level we are given, that they have retired adventurers, so that the village was safe.

You seemed to think that the mere prescence of a retired adventurer was enough to keep a halfling village safe, and yet the mere prescence of retired adventurers isn't enough to keep dwarves safe. How does that work out?
 

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Chaosmancer

Legend
But you're saying that for some reason halflings are defenseless. Even though, apparently human commoners are more than capable? As impractical as it would be for the human farmers to retreat behind walls at night or be killed if they did have to I'm assuming they can't also bring their livestock. That means that either the farmers don't need to huddle nightly behind the walls or there is little or no surviving livestock.

So if human commoners can defend themselves adequately then I see no reason halfling commoners could not also defend themselves. Nothing says they can't. They may or may not be slightly less capable of defending themselves but on average they are basically as strong as humans, probably slightly more dextrous and lucky.

There are only so many options
  • All human commoners (and halfling commoners for that matter) huddle behind stone walls at night cowering in fear and there are few (or no) surviving livestock.
  • Commoners of all races do not need to defend themselves constantly in many if not most areas.
  • Commoners of all races are reasonably competent at defending themselves against the majority of threats that they face. Sometimes they have to flee.

Human commoners live under the rule of a lord. That Lord also has trained soldiers who can come and deal with threats.
Halflings have village elders, who do not have trained soldiers.

Human villages and towns often have walls, and they often have guards, who are again trained in combat and can be called upon in the event of danger.
Halfling Shires seem to have neither of these.

And yes, if we want to go arming the peasantry and developing a militia, mechanically humans are better at it. Since it is (mechcanically) far easier for them to get proficiency.

But this is far more about the structures at play. Unless you have a halfling village also under the rule of a Human Lord, or similiar, then you don't have the wider net of resources to deal with these threats. And, if you do have them as just another village under the rule of a Human Lord... then what makes them actually different than the human peasants under that Lord? Why wouldn't the town be structured like a human town, with humans in it?

Other than being short, Lucky and Brave what makes a halfling different than a human? Especially since humans can also be lucky and brave, just not mechanically?
 


Chaosmancer

Legend
This is some sort of weird opposite day because this would be the line I would be expecting @Maxperson to be saying to someone else!

You do understand there is a LARGE gap between a village that gets attacked once in a generation and a village that is under daily threat of overrun and massacre, right?

It would be difficult, for me, to find my world making any sort of sense if there were just random beasts roaming every square inch of the continent constantly hunting randomly for food/slaves/slaughter/prestige. That is kind of the point of considering where you live to be "civilization" as opposed to "the wild".

Yes, but there is still a large gap between being attacked once every twenty years (a generation) and getting attacked about every 2 years. Or every 5 years.

And the sheer number of threats, between wild beasts, evil hordes, and evil empires is staggering. And every single one of them seems to be either a conqueror, a raider, or a slaver.

Orcs and Goblinoids alone are very commonly found enemies, whose entire culture seems to revolve around raiding and pillaging.

To give a historical equivalent, let us use the Vikings. They were raiders, it wasn't all they did, and they had to sail across ocean waters multiple weeks to reach their targets, instead of being within a few days march, but it should give a decent number.

Doing a fast google search for some famous raids in England, the vikings seemed to have attacked in 789, 793, 794, 795, 802, 806. With it being more than likely (according to the sources) that more raids happened that we did not have records for.

17 years, 6 raids, that is about 1 major attack every 3 years.

If we assume goblins and every other single threat to the villages account for another major attack every 3 years... that is 2 attacks every 3 years, or one attack every 18 months.

Now, I could grab more comparisons, look towards the age of Piracy perhaps for how often pirates attacked settlements in the Caribbean, but I think this highlights my point. The Viking raids, which was one attack every three years, were such a massive blow to the people of England that over a thousand years later we are still talking about them, and vikings inspired the Berserker Barbarian class. DnD worlds would be at least that dangerous, if not more.

And the response to those attacks? Pay them off, build defenses, mobilize troops. These are the things you do to protect yourself from outside threats. I'm not trying to make a death world, I'm just trying to put the square peg of monster populations full of raiders, slavers and conquerors into the board where it fits.
 

Oofta

Legend
Human commoners live under the rule of a lord. That Lord also has trained soldiers who can come and deal with threats.
Halflings have village elders, who do not have trained soldiers.

Human villages and towns often have walls, and they often have guards, who are again trained in combat and can be called upon in the event of danger.
Halfling Shires seem to have neither of these.

And yes, if we want to go arming the peasantry and developing a militia, mechanically humans are better at it. Since it is (mechcanically) far easier for them to get proficiency.

But this is far more about the structures at play. Unless you have a halfling village also under the rule of a Human Lord, or similiar, then you don't have the wider net of resources to deal with these threats. And, if you do have them as just another village under the rule of a Human Lord... then what makes them actually different than the human peasants under that Lord? Why wouldn't the town be structured like a human town, with humans in it?

Other than being short, Lucky and Brave what makes a halfling different than a human? Especially since humans can also be lucky and brave, just not mechanically?

As it states in the write-up

Halflings are adept at fitting into a community of humans, dwarves, or elves, making themselves valuable and welcome. The combination of their inherent stealth and their unassuming nature helps halflings to avoid unwanted attention.​
Halflings work readily with others, and they are loyal to their friends, whether halfling or otherwise. They can display remarkable ferocity when their friends, families, or communities are threatened.​

Couple of things from this. One is that they do integrate well with other communities. So, yes, oftentimes they may rely on others for protection just like every other farming village. Standing armies were never a thing historically.

Second, they "display remarkable ferocity when their friends, families, or communities are threatened." They aren't pacifists waiting to be slaughtered. Their preference is to go unnoticed, if that fails they fight back. They just don't go out of their way seeking conquest or fights.

But ... but ... I can hear it now ... they aren't elves or dwarves! Last time I checked humans* didn't have any automatic proficiencies for weapons or armor either. Yet somehow it's assumed that human commoners manage to survive this constant ever present monstrous horde you keep inventing.

*For that matter elves and dwarves seem to be two of the few races that do automatically get weapon proficiency and yet we assume other races do, indeed, defend themselves.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Yes, it absolutely makes sense. Armies, even Orc armies, don't just wander across harsh terrain willy nilly. They travel down easier paths and roads. Halfling villages are hidden in out of the way spots where armies don't go and down paths that even Rangers can't find by looking.

Right, because "Luck" changes geography so you can have large farm lands and orchards in places that are so well hidden that even rangers can't find them.

"Hey, you ever wonder why there is this massive multi-acre section of the map we never go to?"

"Clearly there is nothing there, the smoke must be coming from somewhere else, after all, that blank spot on the map is total inconspicuous."
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
What makes any race, other than the defining attributes that set those races apart, different from a human?

Why does answering a question with a question seem to be so popular?

Dwarves have a social structure that is quite different, and their long lives and unique living conditions naturally give rise to substantial differences to the human norm.

Elves not only have a different social structure, but a fairly different biology, long lives, and have been shown adapted to a variety of different living conditions that are very different to the human norm.

Halflings are short, and they are practical simple farmers who enjoy a good meal and good company... just like every pastoral poem and story written for the "good ol' folk" of middle America or the rolling hills of the Greater British Isles.

I mean seriously, you mention a farmhand and I'm picturing one of the broad shouldered, tanned guys from some novel either telling me that greed is bad, cities are killing our souls, or that hard-working professional women crave the simple farm life. It is one of the biggest tropes I have ever encountered. And that is the trope halflings are trying to fill. A distinctly human trope.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
As it states in the write-up

Halflings are adept at fitting into a community of humans, dwarves, or elves, making themselves valuable and welcome. The combination of their inherent stealth and their unassuming nature helps halflings to avoid unwanted attention.​
Halflings work readily with others, and they are loyal to their friends, whether halfling or otherwise. They can display remarkable ferocity when their friends, families, or communities are threatened.​

Couple of things from this. One is that they do integrate well with other communities. So, yes, oftentimes they may rely on others for protection just like every other farming village. Standing armies were never a thing historically.

Second, they "display remarkable ferocity when their friends, families, or communities are threatened." They aren't pacifists waiting to be slaughtered. Their preference is to go unnoticed, if that fails they fight back. They just don't go out of their way seeking conquest or fights.

But ... but ... I can hear it now ... they aren't elves or dwarves! Last time I checked humans* didn't have any automatic proficiencies for weapons or armor either. Yet somehow it's assumed that human commoners manage to survive this constant ever present monstrous horde you keep inventing.

*For that matter elves and dwarves seem to be two of the few races that do automatically get weapon proficiency and yet we assume other races do, indeed, defend themselves.

Like I said, if halflings end up being the pastoral serfs of a human lord... what makes them different than the human pastoral serfs of the human lord? The halfling trope is the "good ol' country boy" trope almost note for note. So if you are integrating them into human society, of course they fit there, because they are a trope of human society.

And I know they aren't pacifists, but they seem to be relying on the "posse" style of defense. Meanwhile, humans have actual soldiers, knights, warriors, mercenaries. Human kings and lords have armies and border patrols and forts.

If a human town comes under threat, they can send word to a human city, and if help arrives in time you know it will be an armed and armored group of soldiers.

If a halfling town comes under threat, and they aren't subjects of a human lord.... they just round up the farm hands and that is enough? If the farm hands are enough to repel these attacks, then why is there an adventure about needing specialized mercenaries to deal with the threat? It is a disconnect that is only seemingly being solved one of two ways.

1) Halflings are Lucky, so they never face these problems

2) Halflings live in human lands and are protected by humans, so they are basically just short human farmers, with all of the same tropes and niches.

And I don't like either of these solutions. the first is just so full of holes it drives me nuts, and the second seemingly writes halflings out of being a distinct race.
 

Oofta

Legend
Like I said, if halflings end up being the pastoral serfs of a human lord... what makes them different than the human pastoral serfs of the human lord? The halfling trope is the "good ol' country boy" trope almost note for note. So if you are integrating them into human society, of course they fit there, because they are a trope of human society.

And I know they aren't pacifists, but they seem to be relying on the "posse" style of defense. Meanwhile, humans have actual soldiers, knights, warriors, mercenaries. Human kings and lords have armies and border patrols and forts.

If a human town comes under threat, they can send word to a human city, and if help arrives in time you know it will be an armed and armored group of soldiers.

If a halfling town comes under threat, and they aren't subjects of a human lord.... they just round up the farm hands and that is enough? If the farm hands are enough to repel these attacks, then why is there an adventure about needing specialized mercenaries to deal with the threat? It is a disconnect that is only seemingly being solved one of two ways.

1) Halflings are Lucky, so they never face these problems

2) Halflings live in human lands and are protected by humans, so they are basically just short human farmers, with all of the same tropes and niches.

And I don't like either of these solutions. the first is just so full of holes it drives me nuts, and the second seemingly writes halflings out of being a distinct race.

You're assuming halflings have fewer (or no) capable fighters than the average farming community. The assumption is that in most cases they have small communities that tend to not be invaded because there's not really any reason to do so. If their region is invaded and there aren't any capable defenders, they'll flee just like any other race.

Anyway, if you want everyone to live in danger world under constant threat of doom, so be it. It's not the assumption. Your questions have been answered time and time again and this conversation is going nowhere.

Have a good one.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I don't mind halflings being their own thing, but I will always consider gnomes to be a subrace of dwarf. Dozens of books and ten thousand Dragonlance fans will not convince me otherwise.
 

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