Opinion: How Halflings Should be Designed

I have to admit that I have not had a chance to play 4th edition all that much, but one thing that I did like from 4th edition was how the halfling was designed. Halflings were generally portrayed as fleet of foot and witty, and the slower land speeds assigned to the halfling in previous editions made them worse at the kind of roles they were supposedly good at. A halfling pickpocket that was caught stealing in a 3.5 game would more than likely get chased down by his larger victim, whereas in 4th edition that same pickpocket actually stands a chance of escaping. A standard land speed of 30 feet (6 squares) just makes more sense for the halfling than the 25 foot land speed given to the halfling in the test packet. Anyone else feel the same way?
Only good halfling's the brutal regressed cannibal halflings from the old Dark Sun.

No Int 6+ species would allow kenders to establish themselves upon a continent.
This goes triple for ANY civilisation that has to deal with Kenders of the "player character" mindset variety.

I'm still wondering what the bloody hells the designers were smoking when they put up that 4e blurb on Kenders.
Only good halfling's the brutal regressed cannibal halflings from the old Dark Sun.

No Int 6+ species would allow kenders to establish themselves upon a continent.
This goes triple for ANY civilisation that has to deal with Kenders of the "player character" mindset variety.

I'm still wondering what the bloody hells the designers were smoking when they put up that 4e blurb on Kenders.



There are no 4e Kender.  Halflings are not Kender.

Anyway, I agree with HappyTaco.  Races shouldn't have penalties, and that includes speed penalties.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
While I see the OPs reasoning, I think the short-legs-argument weigh heavier.

A good rogue doesn't get caught pickpocketing.

A cinematic rogue who gets caught does not rely on speed to get away. Instead I see a planned escape route with sand in the eyes, rolling barrels, closing gates, secret passages, similarily dressed accomplices throwing false sents, caltrops, a short thief disappearing in a crowd, disguises, jailbreaks etc etc...

Just "running away" if you get noticed makes logical sense but seems a little dull to me. 


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The speed doesn't really bother me. One square less in combat isn't crippling. Of course, there should be enough advantages to outweigh whatever penalties there are.
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I agree with bone_naga. The simple fact is that halflings shouldn't be able to move as quickly as a longer-limbed race. I am also willing to go a step further than butcha and say that not only SHOULDN'T a halfling use speed to escape from a mark, but they WOULDN'T. In a crowded street you can not move at top speed. Additionally, it should be relatively easy for such a small being to hide amongst the denizens of the city. I guess that what I'm trying to say is that a speed penalty isn't really that big of a deal. 
The speed penalty wouldn't be such an annoying trait if Goblins (and oftentimes Kobolds) shared that weakness...

 ...and didn't have a habit to one-up Halflings with every other racial features, period (before supplements).
I have to admit that I have not had a chance to play 4th edition all that much, but one thing that I did like from 4th edition was how the halfling was designed. Halflings were generally portrayed as fleet of foot and witty, and the slower land speeds assigned to the halfling in previous editions made them worse at the kind of roles they were supposedly good at. A halfling pickpocket that was caught stealing in a 3.5 game would more than likely get chased down by his larger victim, whereas in 4th edition that same pickpocket actually stands a chance of escaping. A standard land speed of 30 feet (6 squares) just makes more sense for the halfling than the 25 foot land speed given to the halfling in the test packet. Anyone else feel the same way?


Sorry, no.  I didn't really like 4e's taller halflings.  They're *halflings,* not "two-thirdlings."  I liked 3.x's halflings, except they should still have hairy, unshod feet.
I have to admit that I have not had a chance to play 4th edition all that much, but one thing that I did like from 4th edition was how the halfling was designed. Halflings were generally portrayed as fleet of foot and witty, and the slower land speeds assigned to the halfling in previous editions made them worse at the kind of roles they were supposedly good at. A halfling pickpocket that was caught stealing in a 3.5 game would more than likely get chased down by his larger victim, whereas in 4th edition that same pickpocket actually stands a chance of escaping. A standard land speed of 30 feet (6 squares) just makes more sense for the halfling than the 25 foot land speed given to the halfling in the test packet. Anyone else feel the same way?


Sorry, no.  I didn't really like 4e's taller halflings.  They're *halflings,* not "two-thirdlings."  I liked 3.x's halflings, except they should still have hairy, unshod feet.



You know what's wrong with 3 foot tall halflings?  3 feet tall is the height of 4 year olds.  Four year olds, in a world where everything is built for 12+.  Yeah, counters and tables will be a bit of a problem for a 4ft tall person, but not as bad as it is for a 3 footer.  Also, most 4 year olds can't use a long sword as anything other than a greatsword, and even then, they have to be super strong to do it.  And daggers?  Paring knives.  Things you use to carve FRUIT would be the best they could use.  And stabbing someone to death a paring knife is actually a lot harder, as you don't have enough blade to kill in a couple of strokes.  So no matter what, your babies would have to lose a die size in weapon damage.

So no.  Leave them at 4 feet.  Do NOT bring back the stupid Hobbit.  The WORST adventuring archetype ever.  Gentlemen farmer homebocies with no bloody backbones, and an aversion for anything new.  They don't adventure.  Worse they WON'T adventure unless you force them too.  Ugh.
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I luved the 4e halfling mechanically.  I don't think they should be as slow as dwarfs.  I would like to see them 30 ft instead of 25 feet.  They are a fast agile and quick race and a 25 feet movement does not do this justice.
I thought it a characteristic of skittery, crawlie characters like goblins to move more quickly than their sizes would suggest. I'd expect halflings to move slower... say, dwarf-speed.

I imagine most adventuring hobbits would be more like the Tooks and later Bagginses than typical Shirefolk. I might summarize them as small, nimble, lucky, stalwart, and with a taste for comforts.
Halflings in 4e were HUGE. 3'10" - 4'2"?! That's not a halfling, that's a two-thirdsling. My halfling is 2'8" and 30lbs. Bring those ones back!
I thought it a characteristic of skittery, crawlie characters like goblins to move more quickly than their sizes would suggest. I'd expect halflings to move slower... say, dwarf-speed.

I imagine most adventuring hobbits would be more like the Tooks and later Bagginses than typical Shirefolk. I might summarize them as small, nimble, lucky, stalwart, and with a taste for comforts.


Regis from the Drizzt books?
I tried creating a 4e halfling rogue and I was appalled at how powerful they were!  Personally, when we played we didn't expect them to be able to go toe-to-toe with a dragon.  I like that 5e seems to be moving more towards the stealthy, lucky halfling regardless of class.  I understand the argument that no race should be disadvantaged from playing any class but when we picked halfling as a race we had certain expectations of that race and powerhouse wasn't one of them.  5e makes me feel more comfortable playing one again.
Only good halfling's the brutal regressed cannibal halflings from the old Dark Sun.

You should play Eberron.  It split Halflings up into the city dwelling healers and velociraptor riding war boomerange throwing barbarians.  I know that sounds stupid, but trust me, it rocks.

Halflings in 4e were HUGE. 3'10" - 4'2"?! That's not a halfling, that's a two-thirdsling. My halfling is 2'8" and 30lbs. Bring those ones back!



  4E sized Halflings are about the size of the Halflings in the Lord of the Rings movies.

  3E sized Halflings would be like the house elves from Harry Potter. 

  Personally, I prefer 4E sized. 
Halflings in 4e were HUGE. 3'10" - 4'2"?! That's not a halfling, that's a two-thirdsling. My halfling is 2'8" and 30lbs. Bring those ones back!



  4E sized Halflings are about the size of the Halflings in the Lord of the Rings movies.

  3E sized Halflings would be like the house elves from Harry Potter. 

  Personally, I prefer 4E sized. 


+1
Locke: [after mugging a merchant for his clothes] It's a little tight, but the price was right.
I think the movement difference of 5 ft. is not broken.

I don't know if size differences are mentioned in the packet with regards to movement ease, but I think an ability to more easily move through crowds considered to be difficult terrain should apply. As should the stealth ability to hide behind larger creatures. I also favor an AC bonus as well for significantly smaller creatures like these. (EDIT: but I can understand not affecting combat viability from a developer's point of view)
Locke: [after mugging a merchant for his clothes] It's a little tight, but the price was right.
Actually, atm the Lucky ability to reroll 2 rolls per day is pretty much made of awesomeness.  If they keep this I can live with the 25 foot movement.
I'm 5' 2" tall and I was extremely quick as such things go in sprints.  But there was no way in Gawds green earth I could compete seriously, ever.  I had the musculature but simply didn't have the legs.  The longer the run the more I was outclassed.  At baseball I was fast enough to steal bases but I wasn't going to outrun the actual second basemen in a run down!

So I can tell you that someone two feet smaller than me isn't outrunning many people, if any.  I am not ashamed to say that taller people just ARE capable of greater athleticism, whether they themselves attempt it or not.   think nerfing their speed is just fine.

However...

Being nimble and able to hide is another matter.  Getting lost in a crowd or dodging out of sight, rolling uneder a buggy and grabbing on for dear life for about 30 seconds, those are escapes a little guy can make that others cannot.  I can fit in spaces others cannot hope to, certainly not fast enough in any event.

So if you want the halfling to be designed for those things Im all for it.  But raw speed will never be their trademark.  its just a physical limitation us short people must accept.  Even barry Sanders of Detroit Lions fame wasn't supremely faster than his persuers.  He just juked them out of their shoes like crazy.
I thought the -1 AC +1 attack gimmick of 3e was a simple way to emulate the small folk's strengths but in bounded accuracy this would be a very powerful benefit that would have to be balanced by slower speed etc (but not the low damage to weapons - terrible idea). I'm not sure about the attack bonus but I'd be happy to see the little guys get a bonus to AC in 5e.
Honestly, I never understood the motivation to be a halfling anything other than thief. I never liked the rogue term, theives are proud of their professions not ashamed of it so if I can chime in there I say make theif a class also, not just rogue. Have both if you want like 2e had, where Thief was a type of rogue.


As for halflings, only people who I knew who ever liked them were those who really liked Lord of the Rings or were obsessed with it rather. I had a friend one was especially fond of playing this one halfling warrior in third edition and he kicked everyones ass, but it was a lot of skill and luck not brute force.
I like halflings, but I am glad they are not LotR's hobbits.  I like them small cute and badass.  I am also an optimizer and halflings made great rogues and sorcerers in 4e.
Honestly, I never understood the motivation to be a halfling anything other than thief. I never liked the rogue term, theives are proud of their professions not ashamed of it so if I can chime in there I say make theif a class also, not just rogue. Have both if you want like 2e had, where Thief was a type of rogue.


As for halflings, only people who I knew who ever liked them were those who really liked Lord of the Rings or were obsessed with it rather. I had a friend one was especially fond of playing this one halfling warrior in third edition and he kicked everyones ass, but it was a lot of skill and luck not brute force.



  I became instantly attracted to Halfling (and small races in gneral) characters because people underestimate them due to their shorter size. 

   And I had never heard of Lord of the Rings before I saw the trailer for the movie- in spite of the fact that I had been playing D&D for almost a year by then.  People in the audience were cheering and clapping wildly.

  I'll never forget my friends' reactions when I cluelessly asked, "So just what is this Lord of the Rings thing anyway, and why is everyone making such a big deal about it?"
For me, the Kender is what a Halfling is.  The Hobbits and Kender are very far apart in what they are.  the normal D&D Halfling was cool in Original D&D because he had magic!

But in later editions it was mostly disadvantaged in classes other than Rogue and really, that makes sense to me.

The Kender ideal just really is fun though.  there is so much that I have done in my world because of Kenders.  Like the famous "Kender sticks" people sell in the streets that no one talks about directly but everyone owns one.  hehehe.  They are used to place distance between you and a nearby kender.

Halflings are fun.  people who play them tend to be some of the more fun role players to have around.  This is, after all, a social game.

Halflings will be a terrible choice for many classes/builds with the rules as written right now.


The only restriction for size is:
Size: Small. As a Small creature, you cannot use heavy weapons.

What's interesting is that it means that they can use a longsword in one hand or a bastard sword in two hands as well as a human (except halflings don't have a +1 to str and a human can have +2).


If a halfling picks any weapon class that uses anything besides a dagger, short sword, or sling then they are just throwing away one of their class advantages. The 'advantage' is just that they can be almost as good as a human who uses the larger version of the weapon.


We won't have halflings as archer/rangers or large weapon barbarians/slayers.       

Halflings will have an advantage over dwarf and elf rogues. Dwarves will only have weapon advantage with hand axe (bad choice) or throwing hammers (still not a great option), and elves will only have advantage with a short bow.  Humans won't have the 'luck' skill twice a day, but depending on level they'll have a +1 hit/damage bonus over haflings by having a +2 bonus to their primary skill.

  
Halflings will be a terrible choice for many classes/builds with the rules as written right now.


The only restriction for size is:
Size: Small. As a Small creature, you cannot use heavy weapons.

What's interesting is that it means that they can use a longsword in one hand or a bastard sword in two hands as well as a human (except halflings don't have a +1 to str and a human can have +2).


If a halfling picks any weapon class that uses anything besides a dagger, short sword, or sling then they are just throwing away one of their class advantages. The 'advantage' is just that they can be almost as good as a human who uses the larger version of the weapon.

I think they are disadvantaged at fewer classes/builds than you think. Leaving aside two-handed weapon builds, which halflings are excluded from, a Human doesn't have access to a more damaging one-handed melee weapon than the Halfling. The short sword being a d8 is the moneymaker here. It means that for sword and board builds, the halfling's damage is on par with non-dwarves while wielding a finesse weapon, giving the option for your Fighter or Cleric to ditch Strength in favor of Dex (meaning better saves against AoE effects, better initiative, and good AC for less gold, not to mention making the use of ranged weapons other than the handaxe/dagger/throwing axe viable for better range). It also means that dual-wielding Halflings get a larger damage die than any other dual-wielding build.
Only good halfling's the brutal regressed cannibal halflings from the old Dark Sun.

You should play Eberron.  It split Halflings up into the city dwelling healers and velociraptor riding war boomerange throwing barbarians.  I know that sounds stupid, but trust me, it rocks.



Talenta halflings are the definition of EPIC!
Halflings belong in the 3' range because they are half the size of a man, (i.e. Halfling). Yes is sucks for the Halfling in a human city but it sucks just as much when the humans and elves are helping a Halfling village, banging their heads on the ceilings and doorframes.

As far as the Halfling rogue getting away, he/she is going to escape through a crowd of people slowing the bigger guards down because they can't move through crowds as easilly.

(Halfling Nimbleness: You can move through the spaces of hostile creatures that are larger than you.)

As far as Kender go, they are good for one thing, and one thing only. Ammunition.
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