Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Die, Frodo Die...

I hate halflings in D&D. Hobbits, too. Whatever. Kender, I freaking loved them when I was twelve but a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. I read Tolkien and it was fine. I watched the films and it was fine (barring the stupid, clunky love triangle in the last one, although not halfling related.) In my first ever game of D&D, my mate Ste played a halfling (who had a dire wolf as a pet, George RR Martin is basically fanfic of my 1988 Karameikos campaign) and it was fine. Now however I'm just not okay with it. Little, fat people with hairy feet who like staying at home and eating pies fourteen times a day should do exactly that. Don't bring your short swords and your pipe weed to the Grim North because you will die.

Essentially, and it's been discussed everywhere, halfling are a literary device or they represent the common man or Tolkien's experience of WW1 squaddies or whatever but essentially they're his. Unless you're running The One Ring or something similar should you be using them? I mean comedy value, yes...The Hobbit's Armpit was the name of a tavern I shamelessly stole from a Thrud the Barbarian strip at the back of the only issue of White Dwarf I ever owned. The bar staff were all interchangeable stereotypical halflings with rhyming names: Bob, Hob, Nob, Job etc. My player's loved it and wouldn't drink anywhere else.

Playing a halfling straight though is just too limiting. Of all fantasy tropes they're too specific and trying to mess with them, such as the cannibal halflings of Dark Sun, just ends up being ridiculous and causes a failure in suspension of disbelief.

GM: The halflings grimace at you and draw their tiny yet artfully named blades...
Player1: I sprinkle bacon the ground to distract them and then use my torch to ignite their thick, luscious foot hair.
Player2: Then I effortlessly murder them all because they are tiny, fat and weak.
GM: So... Trolls...

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