5 Tips On Playing As A Halfling In D&D

Our small, lucky friends have been a staple in Dungeons & Dragons for a very long time. They’re not only powerful, but they are so in a quite unique way. Their size and abilities allow for a different type of gameplay that not every character can excel at, being less of a brute force and more of the stealthy kind — although it does depend on how you build your character at the end of the day. Their official lore also gives most of them a carefree spirit, ideal for those who seek adventure.

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Though these tips will talk about both the mechanical side of creating the character and the lore, remember that all lore mentioned here will be official D&D canon, and may not apply to a homebrew setting.


5/5 Your Size Matters

A halfling bard strums a lute and entertains a cheerful tavern
Tavern Bard by Rob Rey

This is one of the few default races that are small rather than medium, with an average height of three feet (one meter) and an average weight of 40 pounds (18kg). Because of that, some parts of the game can function very differently for you.

Squeezing your way through places is a lot easier, as well as having to hide. One of the subraces, Lightfoot, can even successfully hide behind a creature larger than you — most are medium, so that’s nearly everybody. There’s a reason why one of the most common combinations is the Halfling Rogue, after all.

Your weight can also make you “throwable”. If your party has a strong character in it as well, they can help you reach high places and, depending on your class, you can use Acrobatics or something similar to finish the job. Just be careful not to hurt yourself in this process.

One of the biggest problems with your size is that you also have less movement compared to others, moving only 25ft (7.5m) rather than the average 30ft (9m). Still, this can be easily solved depending on what class you’ve got, or with a feat that increases movement.

4/5 You Can Be Very Lucky

Halfling paladin with bow looks into distance among nature
Mazzy, Truesword Paladin by Justyna Gil

Luck can be your most powerful weapon if you let it. One of your most interesting racial features is Lucky, which allows you to re-roll any attack roll, ability check, and saving throw in case you rolled a natural one. That means it will be extra hard for you to roll an actual one, and this re-roll can even turn out to be a great value, perhaps even a critical hit. And that’s not all.

In a different book called Xanathar’s Guide To Everything, you have a Halfling exclusive feat called Bountiful Luck. With it, you can use your reaction to give the effect of your Lucky feature to anyone you can see or hear within 30ft of you. You won’t be able to use Lucky on yourself until the end of your next turn though, but still. Being able to share your luck can be very helpful in denying failures in crucial moments.

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Add the main Lucky feat just for kicks, and you’ll an unstoppable force of pure luck. You’ll get three lucky points that allow you to re-roll any of the aforementioned rolls, and this time you can choose when to do so, instead of only rolling if you get a natural one. You can also use them to roll for an enemy, which is almost like giving them a disadvantage.

3/5 Carefree Nature

Halfling art via Wizards of the Coast.
Halfling art via Wizards of the Coast.

Per D&D lore, Halflings are known for their contact with nature, and most of them are from small and simple communities they create. Their usual reasons for adventure are the sheer pleasure of it, or to help out either their community or their friends. Still, not every Halfling needs to be like that.

A common-ish trend that happens to them is sometimes the edgy character, though not to a great extent. Not because Halflings are known for this sort of story, but because Rogues are, and this is a good race for a Rogue character. You can also mix both of these to create a more fleshed-out character; someone who used to be carefree and outgoing until something happened to make them more serious. After all, combining what are seemingly contradictory ideas can actually make a good character.

2/5 What Classes Fit Them Well?

goldmeadow stalwart halfling rogue art
Goldmeadow Stalwart by Wayne Reynolds

Aside from the aforementioned Rogue, Halfling can fit a large number of classes, even front-liners despite they usually don’t take such roles. However, a Dexterity-based Fighter, with long-range and finesse weapons, can turn them into a powerful force. All your luck combined here will also greatly prevent critical failures too since fighters are the most likely to roll a natural one. After all, they’re the ones who attack the most.

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Even a strong Barbarian could work here; You’ll have a disadvantage with heavy weapons due to your size, but you could dual wield instead, or wield a shield, and still be powerful in the frontline. You even have resistance against being frightened, so it’s also a good perk to have for these types of characters, and the second subrace, Stout, makes you resistant to poison as well.

Bountiful Luck also makes them good for support roles, so you can take that to its full extent and use a class that further makes you into a powerful support character. Clerics can be an option, as well as Druids, Wizards, and Bards, though let’s face it, you can cause quite the pain with these characters. Still, outside of sharing your luck, Halflings don’t naturally get any other support abilities, nor anything that will make you better at casting spells.

1/5 Your Subraces

halfling rogue rope swings from ship to ship
Ghosts of Saltmarsh by Sidharth Chaturvedi

Briefly mentioned in the entries above, you have two main subraces to choose from in the Player’s Handbook; Lightfoot, which allows you to use larger characters as cover, and Stout, which gives you resistance to poison as well as an advantage on saving throws related to poison damage. However, for those who enjoy playing with multiple books, you have more options to mess around with.

Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide offers you the Ghostwise subrace, which lets you speak with someone through telepathy. Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount gives you the Lotusden subrace, which starts with a few spells, is harder to track, and can move in non-magical difficult terrain. That is, as long as it’s plants or similar, making it perfect for forests and jungle settings.

Lastly, you also have the Mark of Hospitality and the Mark of Healing subraces, both from Eberron – Rising from the Last War. They also give you spells, an extra d4 to add when rolling certain skills, and even more spells in case your class has access to magic through either spellcasting or pacts — so you wouldn’t get these extra spells if you were a Barbarian, for instance. Each of these subraces will increase one of your ability scores too, by the way.

NEXT: Dungeons & Dragons: Tips On Playing As A Tiefling

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