Thursday, September 3, 2015

Class Struggles: The Halfling Classes

Welcome back to Class Struggles.  Today I wanted to do something a little different. Instead of focusing on one class or product I wanted to focus on a general theme of classes.
The theme this time is halflings.

Look up "every-man hero" and Martin Freeman stares back.
I often find that halflings don't get a lot of respect. Maybe it is the size or the fact that they are all universally depicted as home-bodies.  In any case a lot of us owe our gaming career to halflings, or at least one in particular; Bilbo.

If you were like me you discovered Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit around the same time as D&D and RPGs. I think we owe the humble halfling a little better.  Thankfully I am not the only one.

To start with lets look over to +Richard LeBlanc at Save Vs. Dragon and a product that is not even out yet.   The Halfling Warslinger is a D&D Basic/Expert class that will appear in his CX1 Character Class Codex.  The Warslinger is an alteration of the basic halfling class.  This one focuses more on the halfling weapon of choice, the sling.   Now while there are some very obvious David-and-Goliath imagery going on here there is also plenty of flavor text to really make this class it's own thing.  Not only that but it also makes sense with a community of halflings.  The sling taking the place of the yew bow and arrow of Medieval England. The art that accompanies the write up makes it very easy to imagine an army of halflings all armed with slings.  It makes for a compelling picture.

I have also spent a lot of time with Fantastic Heroes & Witchery.  This book includes a couple of different halfling classes.  The Folk-Champion and the Scout.   The Folk-Champion is described as something akin to the halfling knight in shinning armor.  Like the Warslinger, this class gets benefits from using slings, but this class is also more than that.  They also can boost the morale (and some rolls) of their allies and have a bit of luck on their sides.   Folk Hero would be another good way to describe them.   The Scout is the halfling ranger and thief mixed into one.  Though more ranger than thief.   They also have some proficiencies with the sling, but they are also adept to hiding in shadows.
These characters, like all the characters in FH&W can advanced to 14th level.  The scout also has a Legend Lore ability as well, which I thought was very cool.  It makes it difficult not to imagine the Shire being patrolled by scouts but the villages protected by Folk-Champions and Warslingers.

Next we have not only the archetype treasure finder but also from a guy that I think might be a hobbit himself.  The Burglar from +James Spahn's Barrel Rider Games should invoke images of halflings stealing treasure from dragons.  Personally, James is my go to guy when it comes to hobbits/halflings.  Not only does he have this but he is doing some work with Cubicle 7 on the One Ring game.  That is pretty close to being an expert in this field as you can get.  So it goes without saying that his burglar class (more so than any of his other classes) really captures the feel of a new class. Yes..yes you can argue it is nothing more than a reskinned thief, but there is more here than that. I refered to this class as BRG's signature class.  I still stand behind that.  Plus you have to like a class where the artwork looks like John Belushi with mutton-chops.
There are few more in his Class Compendium book as well, but this one is my favorite.

There have been others books of course, the old 2nd Ed The Complete Book of Gnomes & Halflings had the kits.  In that my favorite was easily the Halfling Whistler, a Bard  kit that could be reskinned as a Basic/LL class.

I also presented rules/guidelines for the Halfling Herb Woman, their version of the Witch class.

It is great to see so many choices for halflings.  I think someone now needs to come up with a magic system that is unique to them.  Maybe something associated with singing or music.

Halfling wizard in training


James Spahn said...

The Burglar is probably my favorite class that I ever wrote. I just freakin' love it. Thanks for the love, Tim.

Timothy Brannan said...

The love comes through in the text. Like I said, it is BRG's signature class.

JB said...

RE: "I often find that halflings don't get a lot of respect."

Not around MY neck of the woods! At one point I felt I had to nerf 'em for being TOO powerful (at least, according to their hobbit inspirations).

But, hey, for power play classes, you forgot my Halfling Juggernaut:

Timothy Brannan said...

I think I want to run an entire halfling party now.

Rachel Ghoul said...

Halflings are far and away my race of choice. They've got spunk... in a humble, quiet way, of course.

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