Last updated: April 25, 2022
Halflings have been perhaps the most iconic small race in Dungeons and Dragons since its inception. Its mechanics have changed as much as any race, but it's always been a staple choice for players who enjoy playing as thieves, rogues, or other stealthy characters.
Although halflings have few subraces, they have enough variety to easily thrive in a variety of classes, even without custom origin rules. While their main Dexterity boost may limit them to Dexterity based builds, Dexterity is a strong attribute score, and almost any class can be built with Dexterity or a Mental Ability score for combat.
Custom origin roles do a lot to expand the halfling's horizons, but the light-footed halfling is still classified primarily as rogue and other cunning classes.
Fun fact: The Halfling was originally called "Hobbit" from Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Edition 2 until Tolkien Manor sent them a cease and desist letter. TSR was forced to quickly rename many iconic creatures bred in Middle-earth, including Hobbits (Halflings), Balrogs (Balor), and Ents (Treants), and these creatures have retained their alternate names ever since.
RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme from the Pathfinder Common Building Instructions, which is easy to understand and quick to read.
- Putrefaction: bad and useless options or extremely situational options. Almost never useful.
- Orange: OK options or useful options that only apply in rare cases. Sometimes useful.
- Verde: Good options. Often useful.
- blue: fantastic options, often essential for the role of your character. Very often useful.
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Halfling classes (custom origins)
This section assumes that you are using the Customize Your Origin option in Tasha's Melting Pot. If you are not using these rules, please scroll down to the next section.
Halfling brings very little to the builder other than skill and luck stats. None of the halfling sub-races add any significant new abilities, including Mark of Healing. Stout is probably the best choice for frontline builds, and Ghostwise or Lightfoot can be attractive for stealthy armored builds.
Being small means not using big axes, but if you ever planned to use a shield or go the way of the beast, it doesn't matter. Stout is your best bet unless you plan on going Bear Totem, in which case damage resistance is redundant.
Bards do surprisingly few checks compared to other characters, so Lucky is less useful than you might expect. The halfling subraces don't offer anything particularly useful to the bard, so overall there isn't much here that would make a halfling bard effective.
Lotusden offers some wisdom-based druid spells that work well for the cleric. Other halfling subraces offer nothing particularly useful to the cleric.
Lotusden offers some additional spells. Ghostwise gives you telepathy, which works when you use Wild Shape. Otherwise, there isn't much here.
With up to four attacks (before considering TWF or Action Surge), Lucky is a huge win for the fighter. Tough is your most likely sub-race of choice for poison resistance.
With up to four attacks with Flurry of Blows, Lucky is very useful. If you're creating a Cunning Monk, Spirit Sage can be useful, but keep in mind that halflings don't have darkvision, so you might want to go for the Path of Shadow to be able to cast darkvision.
Lucky can be useful in addition to the protection aura, and the Stout Halfling's poison resistance is another great addition to the Paladin's already impressive resistance. Unfortunately, the halfling subraces offer little to help the paladin do anything actively.
Without Rogue's cunning action, Lightfoot Halflings NaturallyStealthy is significantly less effective. If you want a stealthy build, Ghostiwse is probably the right choice.
The Fleetfoot Halfling is designed to work in conjunction with the rogue's cunning action, allowing you to hide behind an ally as a bonus action without worrying about real cover or decent hiding. That utility alone is hard to come by, but if you want to go the other way, the Ghostly Wise Halfling's telepathy is great for sneaking around.
The halfling's traits offer essentially nothing to add to the caster's abilities.
The combination of Lucky and Eldritch Blast makes Warlock a good choice to cast, but other than that, Halfling Warlock isn't particularly effective.
The halfling's traits offer essentially nothing to add to the mage's abilities.
When using Dragonmark, a Healing Mark Mage is an exceptionally powerful combo, as it has the list of extremely powerful mage spells, plus key healing options normally reserved for clerics and druids.
Halfling classes (default rules)
This section assumes that you areNOUse the Customize Your Origin rules option found in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything or the updated version of the race posted in Mordenkainen's Monsters of the Multiverse. If you are using these rules, please scroll down to the previous section.
No increase in intelligence.
No strength gain. If Rage wasn't limited to force-based weapon attacks, it might be possible, but it's not an option right now.
A light-footed halfling is a fantastic bard that adds Dexterity and Charisma, as well as other traits like Lucky and Naturally Stealthy. With the right experience, you can pick up skills to replace a rogue, easily serving as a face, scout, and support caster with a very simple build.
Halfling Ghostwise and Halfling Lotusden gain increased wisdom that allows clerics. For the Halfling Ghostwise, your best bet is a renegade cleric with renegade abilities, but you can do well in other areas as long as you avoid using weapons. For the Lotus halfling, the cleric is a great option, and the innate spells can add some interesting options for druids.
Ghostly halflings make excellent moon druids. Silent Speech allows you to speak telepathically with your allies and doesn't seem to rely on your physical form, so it should work fine if you're using Wild Shape. For other circles of druids, the lotus halfling is usually the best option, as it offers some additional low-level druid spells that work on any druid build.
Any halfling will do well with a crossbow or bow, and a strong halfling is just as good a defender as a dwarf, although you'll want to use swords or whips, as those are the best options available.
Both Ghost and Heavy are excellent options for the Monk. Luck is useful in a class that relies on a lot of low damage attacks.
Lightfoot's charisma boost is tempting for the paladin, but they have little to offer beyond the charisma boost. Stout is the better choice, as he adds extra poison resistance and Constitution to the Paladin's already excellent durability.
Any medium subrace will work for the ranger. Ghostwise, Lotusden, and Stout all make great rangers based on their ability score increases and other traits, and while Footlight's Charisma boost is largely wasted on the ranger, you might like Naturally Stealthy.
The obvious choice for halflings, any halfling subrace works well for a rogue, depending on their build. Lotusden might be the least suitable for the rogue, but even so, the dexterity increase is enough to be functional. Fleetfoot Halfling is an iconic rogue, and his Naturally Stealthy trait works with Stealth to make it easier to hide in combat, even when you don't have normal sources of cover or stealth.
Lightfoot works well, but since you're not as reliant on attack rolls and abilities, Lucky isn't as useful, so you don't get much more than ability stat boosts. Other races like half-elves generally work better.
Lucky is a better option for Lightfoot Halfling and works very well with EldritchBlast. You make as many attacks as a fighter, and luck still counts.
No increase in intelligence.
medium dragon mark
Dragonmarks are detailed in Eberron: Rising from the Last War. Halflingstreat Dragonmarks as a sub-race.
The Mark of Healing spell list adds several critical healing spells to your spell list. Unfortunately, Clerics and Druids are the most likely classes to pair with Mark of Healing due to the increases to Dexterity and Wisdom, and they already have access to the most important spells on the Dragonmark spell list.
With custom house rules, Mark of Healing becomes a terrific choice for all full casters except clerics and druids (they already have most of those spells), providing crucial healing options for classes like wizards and witch wizards without dedicate other important decision points as this subclass. .
Mark of Hospitality is a challenge. Dexterity and Charisma add to the appeal of the job, especially for bards, rogues, wizards, and warlocks, and while Dragonmark's spell list has some interesting options, most of them are only useful in certain situations. Aid is pretty good for a caster, since your spell slots will level up and you'll be able to rest to recharge right after casting Aid, but I don't think there's anything else here that's good enough to limit one of them to justify the magic. Magic. acquaintance. The benefits of not casting spells are definitely not enough compared to ghosts or light feet to attract rogues.
For custom rules of origin, non-Charisma wheels are an option. Crafters, Clerics, Druids, and Wizards will find that parts of Dragonmark's spell list overlap with their normal spell list, but there are a few gems for each of these classes. Crafters will find Leomund's little hut a useful ritual. Clerics will appreciate Goodberry and Sleep at low levels, though the higher level options will mostly overlap with their own character roster. Druids will like sleep and support, especially melee builds like Spores Circle, which suffer from lack of druid durability. Circle of the Moon can also help, but it's unlikely that the spell's effect will apply to both your natural form and any wild forms you may take for the duration of the spell.
The more roles your group does, the better it gets. Having a party that makes a lot of attack rolls (fighters, summoned pets, etc.) doesn't directly benefit you in any way, but sometimes being a hero to the rest of the party is enough.
A fantastic option for just about everyone but Rogue. The rogue already has Uncanny Dodge to mitigate damage from attacks on the rogue, so spending a second chance feat is a poor investment. If you're 19 on a skill stat you want to increase, this is a great option if you don't want to split your points between two skills.
Interesting, but I don't know what kind of build I would put this on. Sounds like a nice theme hack, I just don't know what to make of it. It might be fine if you're at 19 Dexterity, but SecondChance is usually a better option at that point. Rogues can take it as Second Chance isn't very useful for the rogue, but at this point Acrobatics Experience works well if you're worried about getting caught.