Halflings

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creases
Joined: 2012-02-13 01:55
Halflings

I know halflings really aren't the Autarchs' cup of tea. But I have a fondness for them, and I think I'm not alone. So I decided to try my hand at developing halfling classes. I used the BX halfling as my model (well, technically, the Rules Cyclopedia halfling, since that's the book I have available to me), and worked as well as I was able within the PC draft's custom class framework. I hope this is something others find worthwhile.
I wanted to offer a fresh take on halflings. Instead of focusing on what halflings should or should not be based on Tolkien's putative source material, I focused on how halflings work as a class in BX. I say "putative" because I'm not sure D&D halflings really owe much to Tolkien that isn't purely cosmetic --- the chubby cheeks, the curly hair, the furry toes, who live in underground dens in lands they call shires. So I let the class speak for what halflings are supposed to be, rather than the source material.
When I look at the BX class, I sure don't see Bagginses. Nor do I see rangers, as I've seen some suggest we should see (at least not Tolkien's rangers, who function as light cavalry.) What I see are little guerrillas. They're clearly warriors. Vicious artillerists and tough as hell little buggers. I used the BX reference to halfling "sheriffs" as another reference point. A BX halfling is not only a commando, but also, at least at higher levels, some kind of recognized officer of the law. The overall impression I arrived at was that halfling warriors receive their training as part of some sort of paramilitary gendarmerie or home guard, one that combines defense and police functions. Since there are no halfling lords or royalty, and "sheriff" seems to be their highest title, I'm assuming there fighting force is divided into (the equivalent of) NCOs at the low ranks, and then elected leaders and their appointed deputies at the top (instead of COs). I settled on the word "partisan" as the nearest fit, because it suggests an irregular military or paramilitary force that operates largely by stealth, but also has a political role. I envision the typical career of a halfling leader to begin as a recruit to the militia reserve, then advance as a sergeant, then moving on to become an appointed deputy, before finally being elected town marshal or sheriff, naming his own deputies and commanding his own soldiers. I used this model as my guide for naming the levels.
The racial values I settled on are kind of an anomaly. They're based on reverse engineering the BX halfling class, in light of the custom class mechanics in the PC. Since BX halflings have a level limit of 8, I took that to suggest, in ACKS terms, that they should have a racial value of 4. In fact, halflings in ACKS should never get to have a level higher than 8, if we're going to preserve the idea that halflings are not conquerors and empire builders. They should probably never get their own strongholds or followers as default class powers. On the other hand, the BX halfling's experience point chart tracks the fighter's, which means they must not be paying a huge experience cost. The solution I settled on was to say that halfling custom classes MUST have a racial value of 4, but the experience point cost of that value is not very great.
Obviously, with only one sample, it can be an open question how many of a BX halfling's abilities come from a "racial value" and how many from class values. I made a judgment call based on what I think other halfling classes might also need in order to feel appropriately halflingy.

creases
Joined: 2012-02-13 01:55

HALFLING PARTISAN
Prime Requisite: STR and DEX
Requirements: CON 9
Hit Dice: 1d6
Maximum Level: 8
Hit Dice 1d6 (1bp, +500xp)
Fights as fighter (2bp, +1000xp)
Thievery 1 (1bp, +200xp: accuracy with missile weapons, initiative, wilderness evasion)
Halfling 4 (4bp, +300xp: weapon value, avoid getting lost, clan support, difficult to spot, hardy people, +2 AC vs large creatures)
Halfling partisans are the home guard and police of halfling shires. They are consummate guerilla fighters, and many halfling leaders start their careers as partisans. Halfling partisans may also act as guards and escorts for travelling halfling merchant caravans.
At first level, halfling partisans hit an unarmored foe (AC 0) with an attack throw of 10+. They advance in attack throws and saving throws as fighters, by two points every /three/ levels of experience. Halfling partisans increase their base damage roll from successful missile and melee attacks by +1 at 1st level and by an additional +1 at 3rd and 6th level. They may cleave as fighters.
Halfling partisans may use any one-handed melee weapon. Weapons designed for larger folk are harder for halflings to wield properly. A halfling partisan may not use melee weapons that are designed for humans to use exclusively in a two-handed style. They also cannot use arbalests or longbows. Weapons that larger folk may wield one- or two-handed, such as battle axes, flails, maces, war hammers, spears, and swords, are two-handed weapons for halfling partisans. A halfling partisan receives the full benefit of wielding such a weapon in two hands, but cannot wield it in only one hand. Halfling partisans may fight two-handed with the above listed weapons, and may also fight with a weapon in each hand, or with a shield. Halfling partisans are cunning fighters, and receive a +1 bonus to initiative rolls, as well as a +1 accuracy bonus to all attack throws with missile weapons.
Halfling partisans may wear any kind of armor. As small creatures with keen evasive instincts, they also receive a +2 bonus to AC to defend against attacks from creatures that are larger than man-sized.
Halfling partisans are difficult to spot, having the ability to seemingly disappear into woods and underbrush with a proficiency throw of 3+ on 1d20. In dungeons, if the halfling partisan is motionless and quiet in cover, he can escape detection with a proficiency throw of 14+ on 1d20. In addition, in any terrain except clear and grassland terrain, the halfling partisan's party receives a +5 bonus to proficiency throws to evade. A party guided by the halfling partisan can evade wilderness encounters even when surprised on a skill roll of 19+. They are also excellent pathfinders. Parties guided by a halfling partisan through country familiar to him or her get a +4 bonus on proficiency throws to avoid getting lost.
Halfling partisans usually retain close ties to their clans, and may become elected leaders within their communities. A halfling partisan who is in good standing with his or her clan and chooses to build a stronghold pays only half the cost for its construction; the rest of the cost is either borne by the clan, or else saved thanks to free labor and supplies offered by the clan. Clan elders will expect a halfling partisan who owns a stronghold to participate actively in the shire's defense.
The halfling partisan's attack and saving throws table is the same as that of a dwarven vaultguard, except it only goes up to 8th level.
Halfling Partisan Level Progression
1 1d6 0 Recruit
2 2d6 2,000 Corporal
3 3d6 4,000 Sergeant
4 4d6 8,000 Sergeant-Major
5 5d6 16,000 Deputy
6 6d6 32,000 Superintendent
7 7d6 65,000 Marshal
8 8d6 130,000 Sheriff
Proficiencies (36): Acrobatics, Alertness, Animal Husbandry, Animal Training, Ambushing, Beast Friendship, Caving, Climbing, Combat Trickery (disarm, force back, knock down), Contortionism, Dwarven Brewing, Eavesdropping, Endurance, Fighting Style, Goblin-Slaying, Healing, Illusion Resistance, Land Surveying, Mimicry, Naturalism, Passing Without Trace, Performance, Precise Shooting, Profession, Running, Skirmishing, Skulking, Sniping, Survival, Swashbuckling, Tracking, Trap Finding, Trapping, Wakefulness, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus

creases
Joined: 2012-02-13 01:55

HALFLING CUSTOM CLASSES
Requirements
All halfling classes require a minimum Dexterity and Constitution scores of 9 or better.
Class Category Values
Fighting: Weapons designed for larger folk are harder for halflings to wield properly. Regardless of their fighting value, a halfling may not use melee weapons that are designed for humans to use exclusively in a two-handed style. They also cannot use arbalests or longbows. Weapons that larger folk may wield one- or two-handed, such as battle axes, flails, maces, war hammers, spears, and swords, are two-handed weapons for halflings. A halfling receives the full benefit of wielding such a weapon in two hands, but cannot wield it in only one hand.
Halfling Value
Halflings are a set upon race, and mere survival and defence of their communities requires an intensity of focus that is not demanded of larger, more powerful creatures. All halflings must invest 4 build points in base class categories, and must then invest an additional 4 to get Halfling 4, for a total of 8 build points, and a level limit of 8. (Obviously this is a purely ad hoc decision, and the sole reason for it is to ensure that halfling partisans have a level limit of 8.)
Halfling 4 adds +300 to the class's experience point cost, and confers the following powers:
Avoid Getting Lost: Parties guided by a halfling gain significant advantages on wilderness adventures. Any time the halfling's party is in country familiar to the halfling, they get a +4 bonus on proficiency throws to avoid getting lost.
Clan Support: A halfling who builds a stronghold only pays half the cost for its construction.
Difficult to Spot: The character has the ability to seemingly disappear into woods and underbrush with a proficiency throw of 3+ on 1d20. In dungeons, if the character is motionless and quiet in cover, he can escape detection with a proficiency throw of 14+ on 1d20.
Hardy People: The character gains a +3 bonus on saving throws versus Blast and Breath and a +4 bonus on all other saving throws.
Underfoot: A halfling gets a +2 bonus to AC to defend against attacks from creatures that are larger than man-sized.
(Halflings never advance beyond 8th level, so we don't have to worry about xp increments or strongholds.)

creases
Joined: 2012-02-13 01:55

One thing my halflings lost in the transition to ACKS is the ability to take half or quarter damage from spells and breath weapons. I couldn't find a precedent for that in ACKS, so I didn't use it.
On the other hand, I did have some room to give halflings some wilderness exploring benefits they don't get in BX.

jedavis
Joined: 2012-03-08 01:21

Hmm... the Hardy People rules text isn't in the description in the first post. However, I think this is an excellent take on the halfling for ACKS; when I read the monster listing for 'em, sheriff stuck out to me too.

Charlatan
Joined: 2011-08-08 15:20

Cool. I put a Halfling package together as well, for a friend of mine (there's a draft here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5fr8SnXBqmbZGR0c1Vtd3VUai1kZklSN3dlc05M...). But I was trying to model Tooks (Troublemakers) and Brandybucks (Patrollers) more than the B/X Halfling, who is a tiny ninja buttkicker.
EDIT: Level titles, if you're interested: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BPqFvm6tK8y28JHBp9_2ryjJQuDhNwb89753...

peelseel2
Joined: 2012-02-19 14:21

Yay! Halfling love! Maybe we should make a kickstarter for a Halfling supplement!

Beastman
Joined: 2011-11-11 08:23

>>But I was trying to model Tooks (Troublemakers) and Brandybucks (Patrollers)<<
-> Hobblings...

creases
Joined: 2012-02-13 01:55

jedavis: "the Hardy People rules text isn't in the description in the first post"
It is, but implicitly. "The halfling partisan's attack and saving throws table is the same as that of a dwarven vaultguard, except it only goes up to 8th level." The dwarven vaultguard, of course, is a fighter save table plus Hardy People.
I also had an idea for a moon-worshiping, flying halfling priest, inspired by the strange remarks on halfling Keepers of the Relic in the Rules Cyclopedia, if anyone is interested.

Alex
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Were I emotionally capable of approving of halflings, I would approve of these halflings.
If you put this into a PDF or formatted word document, we can put it into the community downloads section of the site.

jedavis
Joined: 2012-03-08 01:21

"It is, but implicitly. "The halfling partisan's attack and saving throws table is the same as that of a dwarven vaultguard, except it only goes up to 8th level." The dwarven vaultguard, of course, is a fighter save table plus Hardy People."
So it is. My mistake.

creases
Joined: 2012-02-13 01:55

Oh man, I would be glad to give you a PDF. Just give me a couple of days.

Bailywolf
Joined: 2012-03-07 23:01

Fantastic stuff. I love this take on the Halfling. The irregular citizen-soldier, skirmisher, and guerrilla fighter is good stuff.
ACK needs something standing in the 'wee folk' design space. I was playing with the idea that halflings, gnomes, goblins, kobolds, and other small races were all sub-species, cousins, or clans. Perhaps closer kin than any would like to admit. One class with a sub-table to pick which little folk clan you belong to, and to roll on to see which of the others you're consequently feuding with.
edit - and having just read the release of draft 4 including gnomish tricksters, I withdraw my comment that ACK is lacking something in the little folk space.
-B

wilmer
Joined: 2011-10-19 17:02

A problem with halflings is that the AC bonus vs giants coupled with DEX being a prime requisite and their ability to wear plate they often have fanstastic AC making them more "tanks" than skirmishers. My suspension of disbelief is ruined when tiny characters make worthwhile frontlike fighters so -if- I wanted halflings I'd give them the ranged damage bonus and stealth abilities and such but only D4 hitpoints per level. Also no required CON because that also ups their hitpoints. Hell, to give them a niche I'd probably say their prime requisite should be negative STR (so their max strength is 12 and they gain bonus XP for being weaker) so that they become even more of a ranged fighter.

creases
Joined: 2012-02-13 01:55

Hi all. Here are the racial template, the halfling partisan, and a halfling arbiter class, along with my design notes (largely as presented in this thread, with additional notes for the arbiter). The arbiter is a priestly legal officer who worships Mityara. Alex, if you still want to feature this on the site, I would be very pleased. I don't have Microsoft Office, so this document was made in OpenOffice; let me know if there's anything wrong with it!
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/632724/ack/halfling.doc

ivowiblo
Joined: 2013-11-26 09:23

Hi!
This looks really good but I don't understand how to translate it to the game. I mean, how is the xp table, what is gained by each level, etc.

Could you give me some light?

Thanks!

ivowiblo
Joined: 2013-11-26 09:23

I put my foot in my mouth here. This was an answer for another question and now I've seen your Halfling it has everything I need. Thanks!!

Orion
Joined: 2012-02-04 20:54

I think the reason that dwarves get a +3 on saves versus blast and breath is because they are seen as bulky and less maneuverable. I would suggest giving the halfling a +4 on all saves, since they are considered very maneuverable (especially in post 3.0 era) and hardy