(WG: Hobniz)


Hobbits are very much like small humans, thus their name.
<Hobbits are very much like small humans, thus being sometimes referred to as halflings (archaic).>
As PCs, it is assumed that any of the sub-races of the race of halflings
can be considered as that of the halfling character in question.
Complete information on hobbits is found in AD&D, MM.
<trim above.>

Summary of Hobbit Racial Abilities:

  • +1 STR, +1 DEX
  • +1 bonus per 3.5 points of CON to saves vs. magic (both aimed magic itmes and spells) and poison
  • +3 bonus to attacks with a bow or sling

  • - OSRIC

    Q: Both the Monster Manual I and the
    Best of DRAGON Magazine Anthology, vol. III,
    say that hobbits have a + 3 "to hit" with missile weapons.
    Do PC halflings get this bonus in
    addition to any adjustments for

    A: No; the + 3 bonus is given only to NPC
    halflings, who are assumed to spend a lot
    of time practicing with short bows or
    slings (as well as to have high dexterities).
    The + 3 bonus applies only to these two

    Permitted Class Options: A character of the halfling race can be a fighter, a thief, or a fighter/thief.
    As halflings are unable to work beyond 6th level as fighters, it is most probable that the character will be a thief or a multi-classed fighter/thief.

    Hairfoot (F) Stout (F) Tallfellow (F) Thief
    15 4 61 4 5 6 U
    16 4 72 4 5 6 U
    17 5 93 5 6 7 U
    18 6 114 5 6 7 U
    18/50 - - 6 7 8 -
    18/90 - - 7 8 9 -
    19 8 135 8 9 10 U
    20 10 135 8 9 10 U

    1: CHA  15 also required.
    2: CHA  15 also required. If CHA is 16 or greater, the character can attain 8th level.
    3: CHA  16 also required. If CHA is 17 or greater, the character can attain 10th level.
    4: CHA  17 also required. If CHA is 18 or greater, the character can attain 12th level.
    5: CHA  19 also required.

    SA: Halfling clerics && druids who have attained max. level in the cleric class may be able to make some permanent magic items via the cleric class.

    Multi-class Restrictions: In the latter case the character is limited to the armor and weaponry of a
    thief whenever any such functions are to be performed during the course
    of an adventure. Furthermore, earned experience is always divided
    evenly between the two classes, even though the character may no longer
    be able to gain additional levels as a fighter.

    All halfling characters have a high resistance to magic spells, so for every
    31/2 points of constitution ability the character possesses,
    he or she gains a + 1 on saves vs. wands,
    staves, rods, and spells.
    This converts to the following bonuses for constitution:
        4-6 = + 1,
        7-10 = +2,
        11-13 =+3,
        14-17 = +4, and
        18 = +5.

    As halflings also have a similar resistance to poisons of all sorts, they gain
    a constitution bonus identical to that for saving throws versus magical
    attacks when they make saving throws versus poison, i.e. +1 to +5
    depending on constitution score.

    Languages: All halfling characters are able to speak the following languages in
    addition to mankind's "common tongue" and the alignment language:
    dwarven, elven, gnome, goblin, halfling, and orcish.
    Halflings with INT above 16 can learn one additional language for every point of intelligence they possess above the 16 minimum,
    so at 17 INT the character can learn one additional language, and at 18 intelligence two can be learned.

    * Infravision: Certain halfling characters have infravision.
    Those with mixed blood are assumed to have infravision which functions up to 30' distant, while those of pure Stoutish blood are able to see heat radiation variation at up to 60'
    (normal infravision).

    Similarly, halflings of mixed type and those of pure Stoutish blood are able to note if a passage is an up or down grade 75% (d4, 1-3) of the time,
    and they can determine direction 50% of the time.
    Note that these abilities function only when the character is concentrating on the desired information to the exclusion of all other thought && activity.

    * Surprise: If alone (or well in advance - 90' or more - of a party which does not
    consist entirely of halflings or elves not in metal armor) and not in metal
    armor, halfling characters are able to move very silently; thus, if they do
    not have to open some form of door or other screen, they will surprise (q.v.)
    a monster 66 2/3% (d6, 1-4) of the time. If a door must be opened,
    chance for surprise drops to 33 1 /3% (d6, 1-2).

    Halfling characters must accept a penalty of -1 from their initially
    generated strength ability score, and they gain a bonus of + 1 on dexterity.


    Halflings are the smallest of the major races, and to see their communities outside some major (and minor) cities, the most numerous (and growing).
    They tend to resemble small street urchins, wise beyond their years.
    The Halfling of the FR has a light covering of hairy down all over their bodies, which is most noticable on the backs of their hands and tops of their bare feet.
    Often their faces are bare, though there are more than a few full-bearded halflings as well.

    The Halfling people have a saying: "First there were Dragons, then Dwarves, then Elves, then Men.
    Then it's our turn!"
    This attitude that all will turn out to their benefit (and be served up to them on a silver platter) is typical of the Halfling mindset; cocksure, confident, and with more than a streak of larceny.

    A Halfling's appearance, similar to that of a small human child, belies the fact that this is a race with the same basic needs as any other.
    They live in many of the same areas as mankind, and may be considered a competitor.
    Yet as opposed to being hostile, Halflings have a smug, far-sighted attitude that these lumbering giants will eventually leave, destroy themselves, or give themselves up, and that which remains will be theirs.

    This is not to say that halflings as a race or individuals are evil, for they would do nothing to harm another unless harm had been inflicted on them.
    But the tendency to take advantage is strong.
    Many a human thieves'-guild has as its master-thief a small child-like creature who can sneak into and out of areas that larger folk cannot manage.

    Halflings are delighted by the concept of money, which they consider a human invention which redeems the race.
    They enjoy gathering bunches of it, but unlike the dwarves and their ancient hordes, they see no point in keeping it, rather frittering it away on gifts, parties, and purchases.
    Money is a way of keeping score on how well you are doing against the lumbering men.

    Halflings come in all shades and with the same variety of hair and eye color as men.
    They tend to respect their families as groups you do not steal from (though borrowing is permitted), and show a strong loyalty to friends and those who have stood up for them.
    There seem to be no racial sub-groups of Halflings, though to the far south there is said to be a nation of the creatures, called Luiren, whose inhabitants have pointy ears. <>
    Considering the fact that most of the dominant races of the Inner Sea have come originally from the South, the idea of a Halfling nation is disturbing in the least.

    Gary, there are several abilities granted to demi-humans in the OAD&D Monster Manual that are not included in the Players Handbook. Specifically:

          Halflings are +3 to hit with bows and slings.

    Are these editorial oversights in the PHB (akin to the infamous falling damage debacle),
    or did you intend for these abilities to be restricted to NPC demi-humans only?
    Thanks once again for your time!

    I did oindeed intend the advantages to be for NPCs, but there's no reason not to use them for PC's.

    Split-fire and move means half movement, archery, then remaining movement, of course.


    DMPrata wrote:
    Gary, here's a nice, safe, non-initiative, non-alignment question for you.  In the AD&D® Players Handbook, elves and halflings are given increased chances to surprise opponents. It is explicitly stated, however, that they must be in non-metal armor, and either alone, with others of their kind, or well in advance of a mixed group. Do these same strictures apply to other PCs with enhanced surprise chances (e.g., rangers and barbarians), or does a mixed group that includes a ranger, for instance, receive the benefit of his surprise ability in most cases? Simply put, do rangers surprise 3 in 6 when with a party of non-rangers, or only when by themselves?

    I'd treat a mixed group with the stealth ability implied in the rule as homogenous--all the same in that regard;)


    Movement Rate:

    Originally posted by Cias the Noble
    2. The Monster Manual seems to indicate that dwarves, gnomes, and halflings have a lower base movement rate than their human counterparts (even after armor considerations) but the PHB and DMG say nothing of this. Was this the original intent?

    Base movement rate for demi-humans is that shown for the race in the MM, and it was always used for such PCs in all the game material I did--my own campaign and in modules printed.

    Gary, one more if I may, and then I promise to leave you be for a few days.  In an earlier discussion of movement rates, you mentioned that you felt 9" was a good base movement rate for an unarmored dwarf, gnome, or halfling (and someone recently brought to my attention that this was done with a pre-generated dwarven PC in S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth). Human PCs have their movement cut in 3" increments as their encumbrance increases -- 12", 9", 6", 3-4" (per Players Handbook). How would you suggest reducing the dwarf's movement rate? A few ideas that I've seen bounced around:

    9", 6", 3", 1"


    9", 6", 4", 2"


    9", 7", 5", 3"


    9", 9", 6", 3"

    How have you handled this?

    The movement rate deduction is in 25% streps, so for a dtyrdy dward I'd
    say the steps are as follows (one of the options you suggest):

    9", 7", 5" 3"


    Llaurenela wrote:
    Hi Gary,

    I have a few OD&D questions for you. From the 1st printing through the 6th printing, I know that the 5th printing still has hobbits, ents and balrogs and the 6th printing does not. I also know that the errata sheet applies to the 1st thru 4th printings and that the errata corrections were made starting in the 5th printing.

    My questions are these: were there any text changes made between the 1st printing and the 2nd, 3rd or 4th printings? Were there any text changes made between the 4th printing and the 5th printing other than the errata being corrected? Is the 6th printing the first printing where changes were made due to copyright issues?

    Just wondering if you had this information or not.


    The answers to your specific questions are quite beyond me.
    That sort of thing was managed by the editing people without consultation with me.

    As to the removal of hobbit, ent, and balrog, that I can speak to.
    One morning a marshall delivered a summons to me as an officer of TSR.
    It was from the Saul Zaents division of ELan Merchandising, the sum named was $500,000,
    and the filing claimed proprietarial rights to the above names as well as to dwarf, elf, goblin, orc, and some others too.
    It also demanded a cease and desist on the publication of the Battle of Five Armies game.

    Of corsue the litigant was over-reaching, so in the end TSR did drop only the game (the author had assured us he was grandfathered in, but he and his attorney too were wrong) and the use of the names hobbit, balrog, and ent--even though hobbit was not created by JRRT, and ent was the Anglo-Saxon name for giant.

    Mike Carr is the chap most likely to be able to answer your technical questions.


    To halflings most weapons they can wield are two-handed.

    Originally posted by Archade
    So, O Great Sage, you are telling me basically the art of a good DM is "wing that mother"? Good to know I've been doing it right all along...

    Here's a question for you. Obviously the current state of the halfling is a long running issue, as is indicated from early dragon magazines til today. Can you (legally) discuss the evolution from the hobbit to the halfling of at least AD&D, and your speculation of the current status of the hobbit?

    Personally, I think the halflings of today more resemble the Kender from the Dragonlance fiction, or those wacky little guys from the movie Willow, far more than anyone living at Bag End. Anything you can share here?


    When I included "hobbits" in the D&D game it was tp attract the many JRRT fans, of course.
    Note I couldn't resist punning when I dias something like"
    While this race has small place in the game...

    Anyway, when the Saul Zaents Division of Elan Merchandizing came down on TSR about it, the only difference was the name change, "halfling" replacing the old English "hobbit."
    To get even, I then divided hobbits into separate sub-species that somehow resembled creatures known as "hobbits" as described by another author.
    Whatever changes have occurred since are not of my doing, and it is best that those who made them comment further

    BTW, I have played a couple of halfling PCs, althougn not for any considerable period to time.
    The one I would most enjoy playing (OAD&D) currently is the gnome illusionist thief I created some few years back but have had precious little opportunity to play...

    (Rathe, if you're reading this post, when you coming up to Lake Geneva and DMing for us again?!)


    Originally posted by cimerians
    Hello Gary,

    Long time no post from me but I'm glad I've found a part IV thread here in ENWorld.

    Just wanted to ask:

    - What were the circumstances on the hobbit race being removed from the original game? Was a letter from Tolkien properties sent to TSR threatening legal action? or was it a more friendly phone call to remove the buggers from the game?

    Howdy Cimerians 

    Looks as if this new section of the never-ending thread is going to keep me here for a while...

    TSR was served with papers threatening damages to the tune of half a mil by the Saul Zantes (sp?) division of Elan Merchandising on behalf of the tolkien Estate.
    The main objection was to the boardgame we were publishing, The Battle of Five Armies.
    The author of that game had given us a letter from his attorney claiming the work was grandfathered because it was published after the copyrights for JRRT's works had lapsed and before any renewals were made. The action also demanded we remove balrog, dragon, dwarf, elf, ent, goblin, hobbit, orc, and warg from the D&D game.
    Although only balrog and warg were unique names we agreed to hobbit as well, kept the rest, of course.
    The boardgame was dumped, and thus the suit was settled out of court at that.

    Originally Posted by Gentlegamer

    Despite his view on Tolkien, our Dear Gary exhibits hobbit qualities to an astonishing degree! 
    Ah, those hair-footed pygmies are too staid and set in routnes for me <stick out tongue>


    Originally Posted by Barak
    Heh. While still dumb, she would have been better off asking why halflings were so close to hobbits.

    Ain't that the truth 

    Of course I purposely made them that was so as to annoy the Elan Merchandising folks--Hairfoots, Stouts, and Tallfellows... <paranoid>


    Originally Posted by SuStel

    Don't be silly! The offspring of a human and a halfling would obviously be a three-quarterling.


    A half-halfling should be a quartling as surely as all female dwarves have luxuriant beards!


    I wonder which sex among halflings has the hairiest feet.
    That's the ticket!
    Aha! At last. Now I will mark this place forever... or at least long enough for me to find it.
    +18 now

        STRENGTH: 6/17
        INTELLIGENCE: 6/18
        WISDOM: 3/17
        DEXTERITY: 8/19
        CONSTITUTION: 10/18
        CHARISMA: 3/18
    RACISM, Hairfoot (HH): Neutral (duergar, svirfneblin, half-orcs), Tolerant (AG: -5%: hill dwarves, mountain dwarves, gray elves, high elves, valley elves, wild elves, wood elves, surface gnomes, half-elves, humans), Antipathy (L: -5%, AG: -10%: drow), Preferred (L: +20%, AG: +15%: all halflings).
    RACISM, Stout (HS):
    RACISM, Tallfellow (HT):
    STARTING AGE: Druid (40+3d4), Fighter (20+3d4), Thief (40+2d4)
    AGE CATEGORIES: Young adult (23-33), Mature (34-68), Middle-aged (69-101), Old (102-144), Venerable (145-199)
    HEIGHT, M: 36. 01-10 (-d3), 11-90 (d100, 01-30 = -d3(/2), 31-70 = 0, 71-00 = +d3(/2)), 91-00 (+d6).
    HEIGHT, F: 33. 01-10 (-d3), 11-90 (d100, 01-30 = -d3(/2), 31-70 = 0, 71-00 = +d3(/2)), 91-00 (+d3).
    WEIGHT, M: 60. 01-10 (-2d4), 11-50 (d100, 01-30 = -d4, 31-70 = 0, 71-00 = +d4), 51-00 (+2d6).
    WEIGHT, F: 50. 01-10 (-2d4), 11-50 (d100, 01-30 = -d4, 31-70 = 0, 71-00 = +d4), 51-00 (+2d4).