Halflings - David Griffith

Halflings from Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition. Art by David Griffith.

Halfling is a humanoid race in some fantasy settings that resembles humans but are approximately half the size. They are a common race for player characters in traditional fantasy role-playing games, owing to their appearance in every edition of Dungeons & Dragons since original D&D in 1974. They were based on the hobbits of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth novels (most notably The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings), which were occasionally called halflings in the text. Chainmail and the first printings of the 1974 D&D White Box even called them hobbits, before legal issues with the Tolkien estate led to them being renamed to the uncopyrighted halfling in 1977.

Other uses of the termEdit

Although the term halfling is well established in tabletop role-playing because of its appearance in Dungeons & Dragons, it has occasionally had a different definition in fantasy works outside of role-playing. For example, the Shanarra stories of Terry Brooks uses halfling as its term for a half-elf. Jack Vance's Lyonesse series (which spawned its own rpg in 2020) uses the term as a catch-all for creatures like fairies, who in his series are half magical and half earthly.

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