I just re-watched the Lord of the Rings movies, and I came to the conclusion… Hobbits are pretty bad-ass. J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic is a fantasy staple, but while you can play elves, dwarves, and humans in D&D, you’re left with the knock-off Halflings. Don’t get me wrong, Halflings are a great D&D race: they’re quick and crafty, like gnomes crossed with elves.
Halflings make great skirmishers of just about every type, especially Rogues. I think this is in part due to the regular referral of Bilbo as party’s thief in The Hobbit. However, as sneaky as Bilbo was, he was certainly more about being clever and enjoying the good life than disabling traps and stabbing monsters in the back. After watching LotR, I wanted to roll up a 6-meal-a-day, singing, dancing, brave-when-he-needs-to-be Hobbit. While as a race they seem to be resistant to adventuring, I could see them in roles like Cleric, Bard, Sorcerer, Ranger, Druid, Warden, Seeker, etc as well as the stereotypical Rogue. I think that Their attunement to the Earth would work well with the Primal power source.
I think it used to be easier to play a Hobbit in D&D. Here’s the first paragraph of the Second Edition entry Halflings: “Halflings are short, generally plump people, very much like small Humans. Their faces are round and broad and often quite florid. Their hair is typically curly and the tops of their feet are covered with coarse hair. They prefer to not wear shoes whenever possible….” The chapter goes on to describe in 2e fashion about how they make their homes and the different sub-genres of Halflings that one could play, and then a complicated mess of situational bonuses for playing a Halfling. These characters were pretty Hobbit-like but already starting to diverge from the novels.
Here’s the similar paragraph from 4e: “Halflings stand about 4 feet tall and weigh about 80 pounds. They resemble small humans are proportioned like human adults. Halflings have the same range of complexions as humans, but most halflings have dark hair and eyes….” Gone from halfling is the plumpness and hairiness in favor of a sleeker, craftier race. This is fine in terms of power balance, but I still want to make my own version of Sam or Pippin.
Anyway, I think I can get away with it leaving the Halfling race itself unchanged, and just literally re-skin it, since the stats themselves seem reasonable for Hobbits. Have people tried making Hobbit-like characters in 4e? Was the regular Halfling enough or did you make any mechanical changes?