Dragon's Eye View: Halflings, Part 2

"Whether you liked the stylized representation or not, most of you told me that you definitely felt that the figure did look short."

I had to laugh a little bit at that.

Sort of like saying, "Yes, they looked terrible...but at least they're short! We got that part right!"

More seriously, the art at the bottom of the article is leagues better than the concept art from before. I'll definitely take them over the huge heads look of the concept art or the angry children look of 4E.
"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H.P. Lovecraft
Take the skinny body, the short body and the large head. Make it Halfling sized. Now you have realism and distinction in appearance. Looking at 3D modeling and making multiple subtle changes to the realistic model to make a distinct appearance is where racial appearances (both PC and monsters) should have started.

Part 2 is what should have been Part 0.
Why not make them look like the hobbits? *run and duck for cover*
Why not make them look like the hobbits? *run and duck for cover*


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Save the breasts.

What do I think of the Halfling now? Honestly, I think that how much more "realistic" it looks now takes away significantly from what made it actually look like a Halfling in the concept art. I know what you're showing us is a Halfling because this is an article about Halflings and because we just had a discussion about body proportions, but this Halfling that I'm looking at now has the same problem as the Halfling that's just a scaled down Human; I have no idea that it's a Halfling without something else to compare it to. The proportions that you're using for this Halfling just aren't very dramatic, so if I saw such an illustration in the book without an environment or other characters around it, I'd probably just chalk the slightly odd proportions up to the artist's style of drawing Humans.

Of course, I'm one of the people who thought that the concept art for the Halfling was absolutely perfect as it was exactly because it was so exaggerated and "silly".

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
All I care about is that they appear to have axed the impracitcal and preposterous tiny feet.

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

Maybe now people will stop moaning about the Halfling Art :P
My two copper.
They look like human-raised dwarves.
We could say there are two types of D&D halfling:

The hobbit-like

They are cute wonderful nPCs, but horrible PCs, I don´t talk about racial traits but background, they are too happy farmers to be adventurers. 

 

And like Arthasian halflings from Dark Sun and the Kenders from Krynn

Kenders are fun for a short time, after they became annoying. 

 



I suggest both should can be possible like subraces, like hill and mountain dwarfs, or high and wood elves.

About background I suggest the hairfeet really should wear shoes for adventures (because they are traps and other things in the dungeons) but they are barefoot for summer when they lives in their towns (because there isn´t danger or menace, but be bitten by some scorpion or snake).

---



They are the famous Don Quijote de la Mancha and his loyal squire Sancho Panza, the classic characters by Miguel de Cervantes. (Image from late 70´s Spanish cartoon serie) Yes, they are humans, of course, but you could notice Sancho Panza has got a little touch of "halfling", because he is a man from country.

 

The last concept art about halfling has me make rebember "my" Sancho Panza.



Halfling from warhammer fantasy, the classic fat hairfeet (too fat). 

----

We would need alternative fighter subclass without heavy armor if somebody wish a monk or swashbuckler halfling or gnome (with great jumps by ki maneuvers).

----

About the skethc in the end of the article, the the halfling in the rights has got a chin too big, he looks Lord Farquaad, the first Shreck´s enemy.

 

----

About the body proportion.

Hairfeet halfling could have got proportion of a at birth human but the legs. The legs shouldn´t be shorts.

 The proportion of legs should be like 6 years old human like minimum. 

The right proportion could be like 6 years children, and maybe head could be bigger (but it isn´t really necesary) 

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

I think the images at the bottom look too dwarvish/gnomish. Out of the dwarf/gnome/halfling I picture the halfling having the most human proportions. I figure the best way to make the halfling look short is through head and shoulder proportions, then adjust for proportions of the specific sub race.

I see stout halflings as more dwarven, hairfoot more like hobbits, tallfellow as the most humans, and lightfoot as very kender like. The proplem I have with those final images is that the legs are generally far too short for what I picture as a halfling. I think this is what makes them look more like dwarves or gnomes to me.

So this boils down to four points for me:


  • Subraces can respresent the different arcetypes from stout to hobbit-like to kender-like

  • Halflings should look more human then dwarves or gnomes.

  • Primary representation of small stature should be head and shoulders, using preadolescent human proportions mixed with more adult features and build.

  • Final images of article looked too dwarven/gnomish due to short legs.

I prefer the smaller-headed versions on the bottom. The style of the concept art presented previously didn't suit the formula he's going for, and I know he's got to find a visual cue for size, especially when the're in pictures on their own... but.


The problem is they're not children. The technique he's using indicates size but it also indicates age, and we're responding to it on the basis of that.

I want more Hobbit-like halflings: bare feet that are somewhat large, proportionally.

That's pretty much all you need to distinguish them in any art. 
What I like about the new concept is that the halflings finally don't look like Warcraft gnomes or super deformed figurines anymore. I like both SD sprites and WC gnomes, but they belong to their own universes. Especially when you consider that the later ones are meant to be tinkering geniuses (therefore the really large head that's even larger that a human's) who are... always kind of silly and seldom have a serious moment.

I know, for some people halflings are the epitome of silly, but even when I look to the often irrational and sometimes irresponsible LotR hobbits, they do progress throughout the story and mature up to the heroes they are in the end. They are shown as capable of very complex and deep emotions and that is the range where I want most of my campaigns to be set in. For me it would feel weird to have a character in my party who is by default a comic relief, not to be taken seriously and better watched over all the time because he or she has the mind of a child. 

Maybe there is a place for a halfling subrace like that, but I would not want *my* default halfling to be, well, unusable for my campaigns without massive house-fluff.

So yeah, the new design is a good step forward although it really looks a bit dwarf-y or gnome-y.
I'd also recommend that the lightfoot halfling should look more nimble with smaller feet. You don't look too graceful when you got hairy duck-like feet ;)
Perhaps child like proportions was the wrong way to word things. That said, Head to Body ratio has a strong correlation to human stature. It's also a very prominent visual cue to our perception of stature. Since halflings have traditionally had a more human appearance then say the more similarly sized dwarves, it seems to me that the best indicator of stature for halflings is their HBR.

So the ideal adult male human proportions is about 8 heads tall with a 9 inch head (making him six foot). Let's assume the ideal halfling is then half this at 3'. That is about the height of a three year old. A three year old would be about 5 heads tall, so given three year old proportions our halfling would have about a 7 inch head accounting for 20% of his height. As well his body would account for 2 heads, and his legs about 2 heads. Now this is looking a lot like the halflings pictured in the article. That said, suppose we would like to have more adult proportions for the body and legs while maintaing the 5 head tall look. To do this we need to find a sweet spot between the 1:1 ratio of a three years body and legs to the 3:4 body to leg ratio of human. This would make the halfling about 5 heads tall, with about 1.7 heads of body and 2.3 heads of leg, or round a bit 1 3/4 heads body and 2 1/4 heads of legs.

That 1/4 head shift of body to leg I think will make all the difference in making halflings look like halflings and not gnomes.
I am not offended by the idea that these might be adventurers...

Let me see concept art for a Halfling of each of the Basic 4 Classes, then I can give a developed opinion. 
If it is not possible to provide concept art of each of those classes with the direction of the race, then it is time to go back to first principles. 
I have an answer for you, it may even be the truth.
Child-like proportions do not make sense - there are biological reasons for these proportions to change as we age, limited by having to come out of a mother and then finding some parts easier to grow than others, like say, leg bone compared to skull. I suggest Jon have a conversation with a medical or biological professional and do a little dimensional analysis to see what would make sense for a humanoid of that stature - off the top of my head it would be clear they could carry a greater load proportional to their body weight, and if they weren't the same proportions as a human then surface area to volume ratios would have physiological effects.
I still hate them.  I want halflings that look like the one on the cover of Dragon issue 285.

Dragon 285

Kalex the Omen 
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Issue 285's got oversized head a little as well, but it's a lot more subtle.
The new sketches are better but not all there. Their chest are a little too stocky and heads a tiny bit too big. The hands and feet could grow a little too. The main thing physically is that the halfling must look like it could make a serviceable fighter and the lightfoot variety has to look like he or she could become an acrobat.

If you cant draw a nonsilly picture of a halfling fighting an orc or dodging a trap....

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The image of the halfling with the hammer and bucket has the best proportions, some of the others tend to have a large head or a dwarf/gnome midsection. It would help to add a background to each image including inanimate objects so we have a perspective to help visualize the proportions.

In addition, the legs appear to be short on all of them. That could be due to being anotomically correct in reference to human dwarfism, versus just taking a standard human and reducing them to half height.
Wayne Reynolds (www.waynereynolds.com/Fantasy%20Art%20ga...) is how I prefer to see my races.

The point I'm making is, were all different, and most of us likely see the races in the PHB or MM and then beyond that, we "visualize" them in our own ways.

Just pick a design and go with it.

∴ "Virtus junxit, mors non separabit." 

* I love Wayne Reynolds´ art.

* There is a biological reason for little size. A teory says African pygmy people hunts in dense jungles where bigger size means finding more obtacles. (if a halfling hits the  to a orc and a persecution starts, the halfling can run faster among vegetation and the orc would clash with the tree branchs and bushes).

* Animals that live in cold weather have got more spherical shape to save body heat. Spheres are the shape with least area. It could explain halflings from warn areas are slenderer that halflings from cold areas.




The concept art is right... for stout subrace, because they are more linked to dwarfs. (maybe some dwarf ancestor)

The "3rd ed" halfling would be tallefellow, linked to elves. 

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

The new halflings look a little dwarf or gnome like to me. Which does mean they're getting the size right. The squater proportions are doing that, the head to trunk ratio, as well as big, bulky clothing choices. Giving halfings more visual cues (pointed ears, sideburns, larger feet) might also help.  

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Its getting better and i prefer those to the previous Halfling concept art. Keep on the good work!


Now with boots off ?

I am not offended by the idea that these might be adventurers...

Let me see concept art for a Halfling of each of the Basic 4 Classes, then I can give a developed opinion. 
If it is not possible to provide concept art of each of those classes with the direction of the race, then it is time to go back to first principles. 


Offended is a strange word choice.  I agree that a halfling fighter, wizard, cleric, rogue, and monk would be more suitable for judging than a halfling farmer or merchant.
I still hate them.  I want halflings that look like the one on the cover of Dragon issue 285.

Dragon 285

How can you tell that that's a Halfling? Or is what you're getting at that you like proportions that are essentially Human so that we can't tell the difference?

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
I am no fan of the microhumans.  If I can't tell if I'm looking at a halfling in a human world or a human in a giant's world, then it's not a race with any definition.  I prefer the big head-tiny hands combo, though I would like the feet to be a smidge bigger.

I don't think the current halflings look like beardless dwarves as others have suggested. 

Here is an example of the proportions and concepts I talked about earlier in the thread:

He would be about five heads tall were he more upright. If his body if upright would be near the 1 3/4 head height I recommended and the legs near the 2 1/4 head height I recommended. He appears very obviously short without any background behind him, the facial feature, build, and the more rugged look of his hands make him appear clearly adult even with these proportions. A few small cues such as the ears and the exagerated hobbit feet clearly mark him as not quite human lending credibility to his halfling origins as opposed to human origins.

Now while he does appear rather slim compared to many ideas of what a halfling should be the bulk proportions could be adjusted according to his subrace. So this would be a great candidate for a lightfoot halfling due to the more athletic build, though the physical feature make him appear more hairfoot. You could round him out a bit to make him into an iconic hairfoot. You could play with the proportions as well to make a deep/stout halfling by going more toward this artice with the plum proportions and the 1:1 ratio of leg to body. Tallfellows might be the hardest race to accurately portray scale, though they could just use similar proportions to the lightfoot only with a less athletic build. Perhaps leave the only real way to tell the two apart heightwise being side by side, or just use very slight proportional changes such as being 5 1/2 to 6 heads tall.
I still hate them.  I want halflings that look like the one on the cover of Dragon issue 285.

Dragon 285

How can you tell that that's a Halfling? Or is what you're getting at that you like proportions that are essentially Human so that we can't tell the difference?



Yes.  There is no difference between Elves and Drow except skin color, if those can be seperate races, I don't see the need for vast visual difference apart from height between Humans and Halflings.  They've already said they can't do Hobbits for legal reasons, so why not stick with the only other visual identity that Halflings have had in D&D (apart from Kender).

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

OSR Fan? Our Big Announcement™ is here!

Please join our forums!

Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

There is no difference between Elves and Drow except skin color, if those can be seperate races...

They're not separate races. Drow are still Elves. At best, they're a subrace.

I don't see the need for vast visual difference apart from height between Humans and Halflings.

That is expalined in this article as well as in the one before it. It is needed because, without it, it becomes impossible to tell whether a piece of artwork is depicting a Human or a Halfling without putting them next to another creature, which is not always an option and certainly not always the best option.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!


Really like those!
Halflings going barefoot is as iconic as beards on dwarves. Heck, most dwarves will go bald on top before a single beard hair falls out. Similarly, I'd prefer slightly disproportionately large feet as an obvious sign that this is definately not a small human. Halflings just don't wear shoes...MAYBE sandals, but even then that would be under duress. They have leathery soles on their feet, so walking over anything short of broken glass or caltrops shouldn't really bother them.

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I liked the old Halfling art, it had a neat style to it.  Nicely Pixar-ish.  While I think it's sad it's on the way out due to complainers, the new art looks all-right.




The art is good, but the legs are too shorts. And the one on the right side has got the chin too big, he looks lord Farquaad, the bad boss from the frist Shreck movie.

 The picture showed by BoredDan has got a halfling with correct body proportions.

---

Rebember some female gamer will want a litle-race spellcasters, like magical girls from some franchise.

 

 

 

 

Now let´s imagine a group of female little-size (halflings and gnomes) spellcasters.


Why anybody want play little-size PCs? Because little heroes kicking-ass giants can be fun.

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

Here's a post from another board discussing the Halfling art, figured I'd share.  It started by quoting Wizards Presents - Races and Classes about the design of the halfling:

The Evolution of the Halfling
-Dave Noonan

In the beginning (which we'll call 1974), halflings were hobbits straight out of Tolkien. The D&D game- at that point three booklets and some reference sheets costing $10- even called them hobbits. But then D&D made the transition from an overgrown hobby to a full-fledged product line, and by 1977 all the hobbits became halflings.

Throughout the 1970s and the early 1980s, the D&D halflings still looked and acted like something right out of the Shire- they were often a little plump and they walked around with their fuzzy feet bare. Most of them were thieves, a class that's conceptually similar to what we'd call a rogue today.

In the mid-1980s, halflings started to move away from the Tolkien vision- spurred on by tens of thousands of D&D players. Bilbo Baggins might have been a reluctant thief, but D&D tables everywhere were full of mischievous, wisecracking and enthusiastic halfling thieves. The players drove D&D halflings into new territory, and the little fellows became a key repository for much of the game's humor.

The look of halflings started to change, too. Subraces emerged: the traditional hairfeet, the somewhat dwarflike stouts, and the tallfellows, who were associated with the elves and were only tall when compared to hairfeet and stouts.

Then came the Dragonlance version of the halflings: kender, a diminutive, vaguely elfin race. Talk about a race designed for a mischievous player- kender are impossibly curious, utterly fearless, and they have an instinctive desire to "borrow" things from the pockets and backpacks of whomever is standing nearby. Some players embraced the kender, while others found them a little too far in the "comic relief" territory. Whether the antics of the kender PC at your D&D table were hilarious or annoying tended to determine how you felt about kender as a whole.

With the onset of 3rd Edition D&D in 2000, a consensus quickly emerged: retain the halfling's natural enthusiasm, but shade them a little darker than the kender so they could be more than comic foils. Get them out of their comfortable homes, and for heaven's sake let them wear boots like everyone else. Halflings became nomadic and had a measure of whimsical trickery- but whimsy that could turn sinister at a moment's notice. Their visual identity changed, too. Halflings got the lithe physique of gymnasts rather than the portly physique of rustic gentlemen farmers.

As we began our work on 4th Edition, we decided that we still liked the 3rd Edition look and feel of halflings- but we needed to continue to evolve the halfling role and appearance in the game.



How Small is Small?
-Richard Baker

One thing we got wrong in 3rd Edition was halfling size. As it turns out, someone who is barely three feet tall is really, really small. A halfling who is three feet tall and thirty-five pounds is only about as big as a typical three-year-old. I have two kids, and I remember when they were that small. I pointed out to my teammates on several occasions that I could not imagine how many preschoolers it would take to beat me (or any good-sized adult) in a tug-of-war. You can assume that adult halflings are two or three times stronger than human children of the same size, and it's still hard to believe that a halfling warrior would really stand a chance against a monstrous savage marauder like a gnoll or orc.

So we decided that we would let halflings get closer to the size of 9- or 10-year-old kids. That means about four feet tall and roughly 65 pounds. That's still not very big, but certainly less of a stretch than before.

Besides, it means that we can make our Small-sized halfling miniatures about two-thirds the height of our human miniatures and give them proportional athletic builds. They'll just look better at that size. We've been quietly filling out and growing our halfling miniatures for a while now anyway.



Continuing to quote the original poster:

So in their efforts to make halflings look more like adventurers and less like children, they ran into the problem that it's rather difficult to identify a halfling as a halfling without some sort of scale.
IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/TtmfS7e.jpg)
IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/4NRXHTg.jpg)

Which ties back into the first halfling article, which followed an article in general about racial variation in body types, which brings up the interesting question of what exactly makes a race that particular race?  The halfling article had the poll results from the race variation article, and it was interesting to see that while the results were overwhelming for "monsters should have lots of variation to provide fodder for the imagination", the results were more mixed, with "nonhumans should have a smaller range of body types than humans" edging out the "nonhumans should have as wide of a range as humans" choice.


I still hate them.  I want halflings that look like the one on the cover of Dragon issue 285.

Dragon 285









That just looks like a hot chick with a fantastic heiny, which, hey,  I'm all for, bit it isn't very evocative of a non-human race, I mean her head's a bit big, but I've met/seen some people with serious melons.

I like the original concept art with the tiny feet, and the Jeff Dee fat-furry-feat dudes from 1st Ed.

Kender and Athasian halflings are their own deal, more like micro-elves. 
Looking at that magazine cover, what about that says "halfling"?  To me, she looks like a rather roguish human.  Tt's like those two pics I linked to, without a sense of scale, we don't know if she's human or halfling.  With the original concept art, we knew that was a halfling.


Just do that, give or take a nose.
I really liked the first artwork for the stoutheart subrace, we need the lightfoot now.
Looking at that magazine cover, what about that says "halfling"?  To me, she looks like a rather roguish human.  Tt's like those two pics I linked to, without a sense of scale, we don't know if she's human or halfling.  With the original concept art, we knew that was a halfling.



 At the time that cover was kind of laughed at. Sexy halfling porn. Paizo did actually say magazine covers with sexy women though sold well. That the drow issue and the one with the spider lady on it IIRC were notorious covers.

This one
IMAGE(http://i1290.photobucket.com/albums/b534/Worldoftanks/TSR82137_180_zps7c1cebdf.jpg) 

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

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