Translate

2014-04-27

An Irrational Hatred of Halflings

I hate halflings! Ever since I stared gaming, I think I hated them. Back then, there was something about halflings that was just too... Tolkin. Elves, Dwarves, Goblins, etc., I could accept these as "generic fantasy." But not Halflings. They were too ingrained into my head as something unique to the Middle Earth setting. They didn't "feel" right anywhere else.

For what it is worth, I felt the same about Orcs for a long time. But enough video games had orcs in them that the uniqueness I felt about them faded over time.

Then a few years ago, it just stopped bothering me that halflings were rooted in Tolkin. If I could get over orcs, then halflings should be fine too... but they weren't.

I realized that there was another reason that I hated halflings: they made no sense. In almost any setting that has halflings, the flavor text will undoubtedly tell you how they are little friendly homebodies that everyone likes. They just stick to home, eat too much, and ... are master thieves of the highest skill!

Wait, what!?

That is the way it is. If you are an adventure, and have ever been in a group wit a halfling, that halfling would probably be a skilled thief or even assassin. Do you really think that the reputation of halflings would remain "good natured homebodies" if every halfling you met was this way? And since most ARE homebodies then the only one you SHOULD be meeting are the acceptations.

Prefer simple comforts... riiiiight.

It is like the vikings (stick with me here). You ask just about anyone about what the vikings were like, and you'll get the same answer. Pillaging warriors how would raid and burn down villages. But Viking culture could not have just been a bunch of roaming raiders. But since people were far more likely to meet a raiding viking rather than the one who stayed home and kept sheep, then the word spread.

And that is my real problem with them. Sure, you can say that adventuring halflings are rare, but that has never really come through in any game I've played. And if you are going to play a game about people that are capable of going on adventures, and halflings are on that list, then I have to assume that they are capable as a race.

For my DF game, I just didn't allow them. I had planned on writing up a "rat-folk" race, that not only filled the same role as halflings, but also had the the reputation that you would expect from a race that is skilled at sneaking about and stealing.

But during play, I came up with a something even better than rat-folk: raccoon-people. This race, "Arakun", fills the roll, though they are not just "halflings that look like raccoons." In a future post I'll post the the template.

Eats a lot, seems lazy at times, and makes you want to lock up your valuables.

I know that this is a pretty odd thing to get worked up over and I should just "get over it," but I can't help it. I just don't like halflings in my games (unless the racial template, character rolls, and outsider opinions all match up). And at least I got a new race out of this.