A serious discourse on the return to glory

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As the anticipation begins for the new iteration of D&D and we start the process of evaluating what things from the past editions should return I think we need to turn our backward gaze to a subject long neglected and worthy of discussion and a triumphant return.


 I speak of course, of fat Halfings.


 The past two editions have brought us anorexic super-model halfings with nary a sign of beer or cheese in sight. These emaciated spritely little imps are far closer to the Kender of Krynn, than their true hobbit antecedents and while I appreciate the Kender, if we are looking to the heart of what is D&D we need look no further than the jolly, plump, shoeless Halflings of old.


 So I am putting out a call here to all right thinking individuals who have felt that certain hollowness in the past few editions, a lacking and have scoured the past tomes seeking to find what it was that was missing, unable to put their finger on what was causing that empty longing. It wasn’t the changing rules, no, no daily power or encounter ability was causing that short, round empty feeling inside. Its time has come, let us restore to the Halfings their rightful identity.


 Let us raise our voices and proclaim: “No more will we have wash-board ab Halflings!”


 Let us demand they cast off the shoes of oppression!


 Let us demand that the creators of the new edition give these Halflings a sandwich and a mug of beer!


 The path is clear, the way back to D&D’s heart is through the Halfling's stomach.


 Thank you all  and a personal thank you to SurlyCleric who reminded me of what was missing in my life and put me on this path to halfling restoration.

hear hear
+1 

Granted I have my haflings still the chubby little guys they are in my games, but I'd be happy with an official switch back..

Everquest still has chubby halflings, so I can't imagine there being a strong legal reason not to.
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+1 

Granted I have my haflings still the chubby little guys they are in my games, but I'd be happy with an official switch back..

Everquest still has chubby halflings, so I can't imagine there being a strong legal reason not to.

I think for the most part the chubby, more hobbit like halflings are the more immediately recognizable. The move to the thinner, kender-like halflings never made any sense to me. I always assumed it was motivated by a desire to have them be someting more recognizably WOTC's property and less Tolkien inspired, but that could be the conspiracy theorist in me.
I never liked the old halflings.  Not sure why.  Maybe I'm just a bad person.  Maybe its Bass and Rankin's fault.  Dunno.
I never liked the old halflings.  Not sure why.  Maybe I'm just a bad person.  Maybe its Bass and Rankin's fault.  Dunno.

I think my issue is that certain races I find to be synonymous with particular settings. The warforged for example are Eberron, the Mules always make me think Dark Sun and Kender make me think Dragonlance. I think those races should stay within the setting where they were launched. It helps build a unique identity for not only the race but the setting. The move toward more kender-ish halflings diminished that needlessly. The old-school halflings while derivative were no more than the elves or the dwarves and I found them to be a core part of what I envisioned when I thought of D&D.

Not fond of kender either.  Or gnomes.  Oddly I'm okay with goblins and kobolds.
I have a player who loves gnomes, but has an issue with the schizophrenic way they are presented. One edition they're tricksters and illusionsts, the next they're tinkers, now they're far more Fey then they've been before. It's very frustrating, that's a race that just can't seem to find a cultural idenity.

We have Goblins in our homebrew world that are used as a PC race. I'm a big fan of goblins.
I think people love gnomes because they're as close to fat halflings as the game allows.
Wanna play Frodo or Samwise? Well, a kinder ain't gonna cut it.

Never been fond of halflings-as-kinder myself. 

So, yes. Bring back the fat halfling. 
IMHO fat and sneaky don't get along too much. ^_^


Anyway,  I agree with the fact that the halfling's distinguishing feature has always been "barefootness": I've always liked and I still like that.

So no ponytails or boots for them.
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LOL, yeah I get that argument. I've always attributed their sneakiness to the fact that people overlook them. They just manage to blend into the background because others don't register them as anything threatening and that because they are so much smaller than everyone else they've cultivated the skill of not being noticed and not drawing the attention of the much large, more agressive and more dangerous races attention.
I like the WotC-era halflings, personally. Their "nomadic trader" aspects I think are very interesting. In my group we tend to play them with Roma or Irish Traveler cultural tropes. However, I propose a compromise!

Nomadic cultures have historically tended to have stationary population centers, with some of the population being sent out traveling. Why not have the modern version of halflings be the constant wanderers, with the Tolkienesque halflings being those who stay in their settlement, shire-style. The fat vs. skinny angle could be a weird quirk of their metabolism: they build up fat reserves easily when sedentary, but burn it off after a while of being on the move. Perhaps their normal homeland can't support the size of the population, so they send people out to bring back wealth and to stop eating all the food. The difference would be like that of medieval Swedes compared to Vikings. Only without the pillaging.
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I think of them as soft or pudgy...not obese. Soft can be uber-stealthy.  

And for the record, I like gnomes but not as technicians. I'm not fond of any race being stamped with an identity, really.

 
  and a personal thank you to SurlyCleric who reminded me of what was missing in my life and put me on this path to halfling restoration.



Many thanks in return!

 
I'm not fond of any race being stamped with an identity, really.



Except halflings who must be the pudgy middle class of our fantasy world. 
Any adventurer is unlikely to stay pudgy for long. Not only is there alot of physical activity, and even frodo and company lost weight due to rationing food.
maybe they never were pudgy.  Maybe it was always ration pockets that made them look thick.
+1 to the OP.

I'd love to see at least two different halflings, one the portly shire-type, the other, well, what we have now.
I like the WotC-era halflings, personally. Their "nomadic trader" aspects I think are very interesting. In my group we tend to play them with Roma or Irish Traveler cultural tropes. However, I propose a compromise!

Nomadic cultures have historically tended to have stationary population centers, with some of the population being sent out traveling. Why not have the modern version of halflings be the constant wanderers, with the Tolkienesque halflings being those who stay in their settlement, shire-style. The fat vs. skinny angle could be a weird quirk of their metabolism: they build up fat reserves easily when sedentary, but burn it off after a while of being on the move. Perhaps their normal homeland can't support the size of the population, so they send people out to bring back wealth and to stop eating all the food. The difference would be like that of medieval Swedes compared to Vikings. Only without the pillaging.

Or with the pillaging. Can't go wrong with alittle pillaging here and there.
id like to see them morbidly obese but with the uncanny ability to be able to stay hidden 90% of the time outdoors...eating butter in the long grass
I'd actually agree. While fat hobbits arent my cup of tea, being just an entire race of human peasants, but its not like the current ones are great either, being a race of human gypsies. Particularly with the Hobbit coming out, WOTC may as well try and attract some new gamers that way. It also leaves the tricky race schtick open for gnomes. 
I like new halflings best.  I pretty much hated halflings until Kender came along.  Tasslehoff was by far my favorite part of Dragonlance.

New gnomes are fine, but I feel like they are too similar to new halflings.  I know it was a reaction to the wizened gnomes in MMOs, but I'm sick to death of everything being a reaction to MMOs.  D&D gnomes were wizened tinkerers long before MMOs ever existed, so I say take back your heritage!
If your position is that the official rules don't matter, or that house rules can fix everything, please don't bother posting in forums about the official rules. To do so is a waste of everyone's time.
You can't get more awesome than fat, short, barefoot paladins with hairy feet.
It isn't D&D unless the halfling is a joke.

I am only half-joking
You can't get more awesome than fat, short, barefoot paladins with hairy feet.



I always found the thought that the short, chubby, barefoot guy with hairy feet was the head of the thieves guild and potentially a stone cold killer kind of awesome.  I would have players just blatently overlook the plump little halfling and write him off as harmless right up until he back- stabbed the crap out of them.
You can't get more awesome than fat, short, barefoot paladins with hairy feet.



I always found the thought that the short, chubby, barefoot guy with hairy feet was the head of the thieves guild and potentially a stone cold killer kind of awesome.  I would have players just blatently overlook the plump little halfling and write him off as harmless right up until he back- stabbed the crap out of them.



LOL
I think the best thing about fat halflings is that they represent a haven of modesty in a world where strength and prowess are the ultimate determiners of right and wrong.

D&D has all sorts of neat bits, but it can sometimes overlook the best parts of a fantasy story: where the unlikely hero wins out over impossible odds. 
I think the best thing about fat halflings is that they represent a haven of modesty in a world where strength and prowess are the ultimate determiners of right and wrong.

D&D has all sorts of neat bits, but it can sometimes overlook the best parts of a fantasy story: where the unlikely hero wins out over impossible odds. 

Yes, exactly. I love the game, but one thing I’ve noticed over the course of the past few editions is the move toward the concept that the PC characters are just born heroes. They’re just a step above the average fellow and the concept of starting out as a bit of a schlub and having fate conspire into making you a hero has kind of gone by the wayside. That was one of the things I loved about the Halflings was that they were the most unlikely adventurers. They were small and fat and not even particularly psychologically predisposed toward adventuring, now they’re fearless, adventuresome hardbodies—hell they even tried to give them sex appeal!
As an old gnome I can assure that we have very little similarity to halflings. Halflings are sedate and cheerful. Gnomes are manic and cheerful. Gnomes also have a very strong magical bias, and are not all adverse to bargains with darker powers....

You might not think this amounts to much but it oh so does. Gnomes spend quite a lot of effort on one particular area of expertise. And even if it is yucky or nasty they tend to be happy cheerful little fellows. They can be busy cutting you apart for their latest necro monster while gaffing with their friends and bouncing all around with silly grins and giggles.

Gnomes are very scary. Halflings are very non scary. See the difference? You do not take a nap around gnomes or you may never wake up. they not only always seem to be in trouble they CREATE it.

There is a reason no one realy understands where gnomes belong, it is because the rest of the world thinks they belong anywhere but HERE. There is a reason why the gnome homeland has always just been invaded or destroyed and the gnomes are wandering around.
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I think the best thing about fat halflings is that they represent a haven of modesty in a world where strength and prowess are the ultimate determiners of right and wrong.

D&D has all sorts of neat bits, but it can sometimes overlook the best parts of a fantasy story: where the unlikely hero wins out over impossible odds. 



That, my friend, really sums up a lot. I would go so far as to apply it to players as well as characters. What about those of us that want to play, but don't have the inclination for complexity? Let's say the uber hero player is the one that buys and digests it all. That isn't the only kind of hero. Maybe as a fat hafling, I feel left behind or abandoned. 

Deep stuff, man.
I agree OP, my first couple characters were chubby Halfling  or tini-gens in french as they used to be called !


Cool suggestion !  Wink


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If the idea of D&DNext is really to incorporate the feel, style, rules, and content of all previous D&D editions, then how can we not have a return (at least partially) to the chubby halflings?  Whenver I play halflings (and I usually play halflings), they're at least a bit portly.

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"In a hole in the ground there lived....my clan of halfling thieves!"

Yeah, let's get ourclassic halflings back! I just don't like the new ones.
 
This just in from the D&D Experience:

Jeremy: in our recent art we've added a more diverse, modular approach - you've got people that look vastly different. You'll have the halfling who's a bit overweight with some food stains on his clothes along side the more heroic look dashing sort.

Huzzah!
All of the iconic halflings (and hobbits) I can think of have been fat. Granted, all I can think of is LotR hobbits and Regis from FR. I like the idea of the short, chubby, barefoot halfling. He eats twice as much as his fellow characters twice his size, and yet he can uncannily hide in plain sight, scale a 40 foot wall, sneak into a heavily guarded compound, and steal a priceless gem. Yes, this kind of pigeonholes the halfling, but it gives them a certain appeal as a race that seems unlikely to be effective but is. Yes, my example is more iconic than actual gameplay, but I think I have made my point. and on an irrational note: GIVE ME FAT HALFLINGS OR GIVE ME DEATH....or maybe just a houserule.
Chubby is not fat, and food stains....? Really?
I don't always play halflings, but when I do, they're chubby.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
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I don't always play halflings, but when I do, they're chubby.



And of furry foot?
I didn't play a lot of halflings when I played D&D. As I read this thread I began thinking about the days when I played a lot and the thing was the fat (or chubby ) halfling was only one of three distinct types. 

They were hairfoot, stout and tall fellows. Other than height and weight they were pretty much the same. Infravision and level limits being the major differences.  

I never really cared for the Tolkien hobbit so the halfling was never the short fat barefooted abomination portrayed in those stories. Their game advantages were inferior to the elf so I never really played one. In 3e they changed enough to be cool so I have used them far more in that iteration than ever before.

I guess they will either be cool or offensive depending upon the way they are portrayed in the next edition. I don't much care one way or another what the official lore is, they will always conform to the lore of my homebrew campaign anyway.
I don't always play halflings, but when I do, they're chubby.



And of furry foot?


Naturally. 
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
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I would like to see weight not tie into race. Skinny Halflings always made sense to me when it came to rogues, however art work of a fat halfling or even a fat elf would be fun to see. Even if the art work did go back to the chubby halfling I would go back to the skinny one if my players wanted to.
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I have no idea what you all are talking about describing "classic" halflings the way you all are. 

The idea of athletic, attractive halflings isn't exactly new 
 
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