How tall are Halflings?

In 3.5, halflings are short. They're very short. They are, as their name suggests, about half as tall as a person. This leads to some fairly startling visuals, as well as a bit of dissonance for anyone who works with or has children - an adult halfling is about as tall as a two-year-old human child - that's tiny. Even proportioned differently, they're still very small. 4e made them a bit taller - they average four feet tall instead of three. They're still tiny, but they're something easier to envision in combat, but they're less than a foot shorter than a short human woman, making them less distinct. Meanwhile, Tolkien's Hobbits stand between two and four feet tall, with average height of 3'6. (According to Wikipedia; I have no idea whether that's correct or consistant.) The next playtest packet makes them three feet tall.

Here are some visuals: imgur.com/xCKOv

The top row is 4e halflings; the second row is the height of (though not proportioned as) Tolkein Hobbits; the third row is 3.5/Next halflings. (2e Halflings average 3'5 and 3'3, respectively, and thus look only a hair smaller than Tolkein halflings, close enough that I didn't bother to make a separate row for them.)

I have to admit that the taller halflings come closest to what I imagine when I think of halflings, even pre-4e - clearly smaller, but still something that looks like it can manage in the same world, and with enough heft that you can imagine it fighting alongside other adventurers. The smallest halflings just look a little too small to me -- but they're the size halflings are listed as (on average) in Next currently. (Assuming that males are an inch taller than the racial average and females are an inch shorter.) I love the 3.5 iconic character Lidda (the halfling rogue), but she ends up looking implausibly small when depicted alongside the other characters.

What do people think? Which halflings feel right to you?
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
I prefer the 4e halfling height as well lesp. Call it aesthetics, but I think 4ft is just about right for me.
I personally enjoyed my halflings to be tiny little fighters, but thats because I like to think of their AC coming from being a pain in the backside to hit.

I wont lose any sleep if they are larger though. 
I liked 'em tiny! It was fanciful but amusing and led to some interesting roleplay at times.
I think we have to start with a couple of questions.

#1 Are Halflings relatively proportional to Humans?

I would say yes (it makes the math a lot easier too)


#2 What is a good weight for Halfling relative to human?

This is an important one because it will be the basis for calculating height. I think they have to be light enough for a Normal size character to carry them over the shoulder easily enough, but they also need to have enough muscle to use regular weapons and hold their own in combat. I would say somewhere between one-third and one-quarter human weight. This works well with old method of increasing size category increase weight by 4 times.

So I am going to with the middle ground. [Halfling Weight] = [Human Weight]/3.5

Since weight is proportional to the cube of your height we have,

([Human Height]^3) / ([Halfling Height]^3) = 3.5

Solve for Halfling Height gives,

[Halfling Height] = [Human Height] / [3.5^(1/3)] = 66% [Human Height]


So if Average Human Height is 5'10" then the,
Average Halfling Height is...

3'10"


This seems about right to me. Tall enough to weild a weapon, but still small enough for the Dwarf to call him "The Little Guy". Also this fits with size categories well since, Dwarf should be closer to human height than they are to halfling height since human and dwarf are both medium, while halfling is small.

As a 5'10" male, I imagine the average halfling male being up to my navel and female to be as tall as my entire leg.

Basically a human cannot touch a halfling's stomach with his or her hand without bending something. But a halfling's straight jab hits a human in the hurty place.

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This is one piece of flavor that I just do not care about, and I'm not really sure what the big deal is either way, no pun intended, just because there's so little difference between the options. Probably more importantly, there's no point for me between 4'1" and 2'11" where the Halfling becomes any less silly, so why does it matter? Honestly, this doesn't seem like something worth worrying about either way. If you want your Halfling character to be a slightly different height than what the default fluff suggests, then just make it so. As far as I'm concerned, the fluff might as well just say that average adult Halfling height is between 2'10" and 4'2", and that would work perfectly fine for me.

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The visual really sells it to me: anything less than that 3'7" just seems impractical.  Maybe they should have slightly different proportions, to prevent having such frail wrists and ankles.  I would probably go with the 4' version, just for a smidgeon of increased plausibility.

If they're described as being "between 3'6" and 4 feet" then I'll be happy with it.

The 3'1" and 2'11" do a great job of representing my image of a pixie, though.

The metagame is not the game.
So what do you think of the Gnome then, who traditionally is even smaller?
This is pretty much how I've always seen them. Maybe slightly more portly.

www.wizards.com/dnd/images/row_gallery/8...

And then there is this image here:
h




Oh and Look, a Real life example!
So what do you think of the Gnome then, who traditionally is even smaller?

Gnomes aren't actually generally smaller than halflings; in 3.5, they're actually significantly larger; 3.5 gnomes are a full four inches taller than 3.5 halflings. 2e gnomes average 3'6/3'4, making them an inch taller than 2e halflings (although they have a much, much narrower range of heights; the shortest 2e halflings are five inches shorter than the shortest gnomes, while the tallest halflings are four inches taller than the tallest gnomes.) 4e gnomes are shorter than 4e halflings, "rarely exceeding four feet" (4e halfling average four feet), but 4e halflings are taller to begin with.

Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
Short enough to be distinct from other races, tall enough that they don't have to have ant-like muscle density to justify their strength scores.  Seriously, with their incredible strength-mass ratios 3rd edition halflings should be able to bound over buildings.

This is part of why I want them to at least a little stocky, rather than having perfectly average human proportions. (really 3rd edition compounded the issue by making them particularly slight in addition to incredibly tiny)

Of course, you go down to far on that path and they're basically beardless dwarves. (and Gnomes are already kind of miniature dwarves)
Traditonally, I guess I meant that more in the broader sense of where the idea of Gnomes orignated from.  Really little more than Brownies.  I'd really like to know how they became their current iteration as a PC race and why they weren't fey creatures instead.  It really seems like their poaching on the half-lings territory, I mean, why have two undersized PC races?
Traditonally, I guess I meant that more in the broader sense of where the idea of Gnomes orignated from.  Really little more than Brownies.  I'd really like to know how they became their current iteration as a PC race and why they weren't fey creatures instead.  It really seems like their poaching on the half-lings territory, I mean, why have two undersized PC races?



I'm not really a personal fan of either - I never play them.  They have distinct personality stereotypes - sort of.  The halfling is all over the place - veering wildly from his hobbit roots to deliberate subversions of that.  In both cases the very caricatured depictions of Dragonlance kenders and tinker gnomes seeped heavily into the core halfling and gnome and that influence has been gradually culled over time.
Which is funny, because Dragonlance's version of both races is, IMO, the Besties! :P
Hobbits were about 3 foot... and had a slow maximum running speed but were quite capable of a quick dash in to hiding trick and often without training very light of touch and incredibly quiet without thinking about it..Bilbo was an actual talent at stone tossing. Handing the fellow a ring of invisibility and a gondorian blade may have been over doing it instant higher level thief by authorial fiat.
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Skimming over artwork, it seems like giving a small race a slightly larger head, proportionally, goes a long way towards making them "scan" right, and also making it so that when they're juxtaposed with a human, it looks like a human and a small race member instead of a human and a giant. There's a picture in Dungeonscape of Nebin (a gnome), Lidda (a halfling) and Jozan (a human). Nebin has a head that's disproportionately large compared to his body; Lidda does not. Jozan and Nebin look "correct" next to each other, like a human and a member of a smaller race. Lidda, however, reads as doll-like compared to Jozan, or else looks like a regular human with Jozan appearing to be a giant. Nebin is a little larger - gnomes are bigger than halflings in 3.5 and Nebin's a guy - but I think that his slightly enlarged head is really what sells the scale.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
larger heads look child like.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

larger heads look child like.

They do, and I think that's a big part of what makes the characters read well as a being of the size they are.

Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
larger heads look child like.

They do, and I think that's a big part of what makes the characters read well as a being of the size they are.




Larger eyes are also neotonous.(sp).
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

I like a kender-esque four foot, proportional halfling, rather than a hobbit.
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I dont think I have a real good opinion.. I dont normally play hobbits and even my daughter prefers deva which is strange because being 7 she tends to empathise with the small ones.

We are reading the hobbit together right now and she enjoyed the party scene and the troll one considerably.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

The size of a 3 year old or a size of a 6 year old. Either way they are freakin'tiny and weak. It's a difference of inches. Give them a wider range or vary the height between Subraces and let people pick for themselves.

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I'm with the 4 foot, slender version as well.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
The 4-foot, slender halfling feels too Kender-esque to me. I suppose I'd have to go with the larger-head, 3'6"-ish, chubby, Hobbit-style halfling. I never really cared for halflings much, personally, but they certainly deserve a place in the game. I feel the same way about gnomes.
I don't care if they look like Kender, so long as they don't act like the little (censored)s.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
True enough.
4E style halfings hit just the right spot for me. they were the first halfing that i could actually imagine myself playing.

anything less than 3'6" is too short. also, i don't want Nintendo Mii shaped cartoon characters running around my campaign. keep their heads in proprtion with their bodies and keep their feet fur-free.
I don't care if they look like Kender, so long as they don't act like the little (censored)s.



*high five*

Though I personally do lean towards the thickerset look for halflings, I definately agree - leave the Kender to dragonlance.
Though I personally do lean towards the thickerset look for halflings, I definately agree - leave the Kender to Hell.



Fixed that for you.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I like my Halflings in the 3'6ish slightly overweight with hairy feet. That's what Halflings are for me.

My first Halfling i've ever seen was this one in the 80's

[sblock]

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I imagine I'm the only person that puts Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister at just about perfect for a Halfling.
Much smaller and I can't help but think they're a bad joke. 
I have an answer for you, it may even be the truth.
For reference, Dinklage is 4'5, although it's possible that they use camera trickery in Game of Thrones to make him appear shorter. (I've seen the program, but never payed quite close enough attention.)
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
Dinklage is a liiiiiiiittle too tall. Considering Tyrion is still a human.

I still say. Navel high.

Comtemplate your navel.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

So what do you think of the Gnome then, who traditionally is even smaller?



Really, standard (Rock) gnomes?

Forest gnomes are definitely smaller (they average about 2 1/2 ft.).
I imagine I'm the only person that puts Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister at just about perfect for a Halfling.
Much smaller and I can't help but think they're a bad joke. 

But Tyrion Lanister is a certified Dwarf, and not a haflfling at all.
From folklore, 

Other-sized creatures tend to be “waist-high” (roughly half-humansize) or “knee-high” (roughly quarter-humansize). Notice, a person who is “knee-high” to a human is likewise waist-high to someone who is waist-high to a human.

With reallife human male proportions, an adult averages about 7½ “heads” tall, while waist-high is about 4 heads tall. Knee-high is a bit over 2 heads tall. A hand-span (stretching from tip of thumb to tip of pinky) is roughly 1 head in length.

Depending on the community, the height of an average adult Human male is somewhere around 1.78 meters (≈ 70 inches = 5 feet 10 inches).
• Waist-high = 0.95 m (37.33'' ≈ 3'1'')
• Knee-high = 0.51 m (19.91'' ≈ 1'8'')
• Hand-span = 0.23 m (9'')

The height of an average adult Human female is roughly 92% of a male.
  


Human is about 1.78 m (≈ 5'10'')
  
Dwarf is at the threshold but within the normal Human height range, about 1.24 m (≈ 4'8'').

Halfling is about waist-high, with head under the height of a doorknob, just under a meter, at about 0.95 m (3'1'').
• Stoutheart Halfling is.
• Lightfoot Halfling might be taller.

Gnome (of reallife folklore) is about knee-high, about 0.51 m (≈ 1'6'').

Pixie is about a hand-span, about 0.23 m (≈ 9'').
• But if Pixie is knee-high to Halfling, then slightly taller, just under a foot, about 0.27 m (≈ 11'')


 
Conversely,

Human is about waist-high to Ogre, thus Ogre is about 3.34 meters (≈ 11').

Human is often about knee-high to Giant, thus Giant is about 6.26 meters (≈ 21').
As long as we don't get a bunch of mechanics to emphasize "They're Hobbits!" - because I have no taste for hobbit-halflings in my D&D games (Eberron and Dark Sun and really the "default" 3e and 4e halflings have all spoiled me) - I really, really don't care.

At worst, we get "They're 2-3 feet tall!", and I can just laugh at my book and tell it "No."
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Here are some visuals: imgur.com/xCKOv

What do people think? Which halflings feel right to you?



So, I have to go with “waist-high” Halfling, at least for the Stoutheart Halfling: 3' 1''

Presumably, the Lightfoot Halfling is taller.
  


I just noticed, your images contrasting heights create a bit of an optical illusion. The image of the Halfling needs to somehow move higher, so their heel is level with the Human heel. Otherwise the Halfling is as if standing one stairstep lower than Human, making them seem even smaller! If you raise the place where they are standing to be level with the Human, they reach a bit taller in comparison.

Here is a modified picture with the standing at level.
   


  


Small, but not inconsequential. I agree giving the Halfing a larger head proportionally helps read better.

Regarding the other male images, when correcting for standing level, the 4'1'' Halfling seems too tall!

The 3'7'' Halfling seems ok, with the face spanning the Human belly. Probably a good height for the Lightfoot.
 But Tyrion Lanister is a certified Dwarf, and not a haflfling at all.


Certified by whom?
See, if we're going to get peresnickety, he's a human with some genetic quirks.
 If we're going to capture flavour... Well, he drinks like a dwarf... and that's about it.
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What D&D Dwarf is that like? 
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