Saturday, 15 October 2016

Halfling [Race-as-class] for 5e (RedNext B/-5e hack)

Halfling - Racial Class 5e (PDF)

First of all, let me start by saying - 5e may be simple and balanced, but class design is NOT. 

Class design is really where the designers put in the highest level of complexity into the system. Lots of unique sub systems (battemaster, warlock), maneuvers that break the action economy in unique ways, implied strategic build paths, etc. All stuff I want to simplify away with RedNext - take away the excess of moving parts. 

But even besides that, there is lots to consider - Every level gets a bennie of some sort (in three tiers), some hardcore class defining ones, others thematic. And impact of bennies is asymmetrical from class to class (except 5th and 11th). And all of them have frontloaded abilities that are on the surface overpowered. 

Weighing all these up and when to put the big ones is a lot to consider - Making the Halfling took time! Dwarf and elf might be easier purely because I now have a better grasp of the ideas behind class design, but they wont be up overnight.

Designer Notes on the 5e Halfling

For the Halfling, I lined up Fighter, Rogue and Ranger abilities on each level in a spreadsheet (assymetrical power curve per level makes it difficult to assess the weight of each bennie on each level), made another list of abilities (mainly feats and sub-race abilities) that would be nice to insert, filtered out the bennies that didn't fit a halfling build and started looking according to the following criteria from Menzer's basic:
  • -2 AC against large.
  • Best Saves
  • +1 missile weapons & initiative
  • Hiding (90% outdoors, 33 in dungeon).
Besides this, my own gamist analysis of what that makes the Halfling and what it ought to be:
  • A mix of fighter and rogue - In many ways a civilised, slightly less martial, ranger. But also a build that, while reminiscent in style of these two, is suitably distinct from both and Based on a different 'rules theme' (re-rolls, avoiding damage). ie, Halfling may thematically be a rangery fighter/rogue, but they should have a different 'rules feel' and benny niche to them than just smashing those two together (ie, less of the 'my rogue got a new bennie!' - 'neat. my halfling got the same'). 
  • High survivability and luck
  • less outstanding (tier 1) abilities, but more tier 2 ones to make a more rounded and bit broader class than the others. Less of the flashy 'nova' abilities (Sneak Attack, Action Surge) which is rather un-hobitty, but someone who can hold their own in most any situation. Outstanding feature is as a scout.

Douwe Dabbert
Fictional inspirations are mostly: 

  • Tolkien (of course) - Basically my imaginary lens of "how would previous hobbits Gandalf took adventuring turn out? (which comes down to the unrealised archetype of Trotter)"
  • Douwe Dabbert - Not sure if American readers will know him, but it's a classic here in Denmark. Douwe is to me the archetype of a drifter halfling who made it to old age
  • A dash of Kender (sorry grognards, but take out the silliness and they are a great adventuring spin on Halflings).
Without further ado, here is the first draft of the 5e Halfling-as-Class (note the intentional lack of build options). Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated.

Halfling - Racial Class 5e (PDF)

Halfling - Racial Class for 5th Edition

You are a Halfling – While most of your kin are content with a rural life, rarely venturing even as far as the neighboring village, that is not you. You are struck by a well known but rare impulse among the little folk – Wanderlust. You are rootless, a drifter, drawn to see what lies beyond the next hill.
Your travels take you into the world of men and dangerous lands, demanding that you make the most of the virtues of your people to survive. While the big folk may be stronger, more cunning and even wield magic, you are nimble, sturdy, brave and lucky – Other races may make bigger waves, but halflings unassumingly survive in the face of many threats larger people would not.

Class Features

As a Halfling, you gain the following class features:

Hit Dice: 1d8 per level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per level after 1st
Armor: All armor, shields - These must be fitted to size.
Weapons: Simple Weapons, Martial Finesse Weapons, Blowguns, Hand Crossbows, Nets.
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Constitution, Wisdom
Ability Score Increase: Your Dexterity score increases by 2 and your Constitution by 1.
Size: Halflings average about 3 feet tall and weigh about 40 pounds. Your size is Small.
Speed: Your base walking speed is 25 feet.

Proficiency Bonus
Halfling Veteran
Lucky, Brave, Nimble, Stealthy,
Durable, Wanderlust
Halfling Warrior
Eye for Distance, Halfling’s Knack, Botanist
Halfling Swordmaster
Halfling Hero
Ability Score Improvement
Halfling Swashbuckler
Stalker’s Dodge
Halfling Myrmidon
Extra Attack
Halfling Champion
Escape the horde , Herbalist
Halfling Sheriff
Ability Score Improvement
Indomitable (one use)

Halfling Fortitude


Ability Score Improvement

Indomitable II


Magic Resilience, Slippery

Ability Score Improvement



Ability Score Improvement

Stroke of Luck

1st Level Abilities
Lucky: When you roll a 1 on the d20 for an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, you can re-roll the die and must use the new roll.
Brave: You have advantage on saving throws against being frightened.
Nimble: You can move through the space of any creature that is of a size larger than yours.
Naturally Stealthy: You can attempt to hide even when you are lightly obscured or obscured only by a creature that is at least one size larger than you.
Furthermore, you can move stealthily at a normal pace.
Wanderlust: You are a master of navigating the outdoors and react with swift and decisive action when attacked. This grants you the following benefits:
• You ignore difficult terrain.
• You have advantage on initiative rolls.
• On your first turn during combat, you have advantage on attack rolls against creatures that have not yet acted.
You gain the following benefits when traveling for an hour or more:
• Difficult terrain doesn’t slow your group’s travel.
• Your group can’t become lost except by magical means.
• Even when you are engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), you remain alert to danger.
• When you forage, you find twice as much food as you normally would.

2nd Level Abilities
Eye for Distance: You gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls you make with ranged and thrown weapons.
Halfling’s Knack: You can take a bonus action on each of your turns in combat. This action can be used only to take the Help, Hide or Use an Object action.
Botanist: You are a master of herbs, both for their taste and medicinal value. You have mastered a variety of special recipes, allowing you to prepare special dishes with useful effects. You gain the following benefits:
• You gain proficiency with cook’s utensils. If you are already proficient with them, you add double your proficiency bonus to checks you make with them.
• During a long rest, you can spend an hour to prepare and serve an especially nutrient meal that helps you and your allies recover from the rigors of adventuring, provided you have suitable food, cook’s utensils, and special herbs and spice on hand. Such herbs can be gathered beforehand with an hour of foraging.
The meal serves up to six people, and each person who eats it regains and may spend an additional Hit Die at the end of the long rest.

3rd Level Abilities
Poultices: Your herbal mastery allows you to create especially potent poultices to combine with a healer’s kit to mend wounds and get your allies back on their feet. You gain the following benefits:
• When you use a healer's kit with your poultices to stabilize a dying creature, that creature also regains 1 hit point.
• As an action. you can spend one use of a healer's kit and poultice to tend to a creature and restore 1d6 + plus additional hit points equal to the twice the creature's maximum Hit Dice.

You may prepare a number of poultices equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum 1) in similar fashion to meals, as described under Botanist.

You can prepare both meal and poultice during a long rest, but recipients can benefit only from one of poultice or meal per long rest (ie, a recipient who healed from a meal during a long rest and then received a poultice would gain no benefit from either on the next long rest),
The poultices you create cannot be applied by anyone but you. After 24 hours, any poultices that you have not used lose their potency.

4th Level Abilities
Ability Score Improvement: Increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

5th Level Abilities
Stalker’s Dodge: Whenever a creature you can see attacks you and does not have advantage, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on the creature’s attack roll against you. You can use this feature before or after the attack roll is made, but it must be used before the outcome of the roll is determined.

6th Level Abilities
Extra Attack: You can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

7th Level Abilities
Escape the Horde: Opportunity attacks against you are made with disadvantage.
Herbalist: Your culinary skills extend to detecting and curing poisons.
As an action, you can inspect a drink or plate of food within 5 feet of you and determine whether it is poisoned, provided that you can see and smell it.
Moreover, You can spend an hour preparing a fresh concoction to cure one poison effect on the creature you are applying it to. It only works when consumed immediately.

8th Level Abilities
Ability Score Improvement: Increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

9th Level Abilities
Indomitable: You can re-roll a saving throw that you fail. If you do so, you must use the new roll, and you can't use this feature again until you finish a long rest.

10th Level Abilities
Halfling Fortitude: You have Proficiency with all saves.
Furthermore, you have advantage on saves against poison, and resistance to poison damage.

11th Level Abilities
Volley: You can use your action to make a ranged attack against any number of creatures within 10 feet of a point you can see within your weapon’s range. You must have ammunition for each target, as normal, and you make a separate attack roll for each target.

12th Level Abilities
Ability Score Improvement: Increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

13th Level Abilities
Indomitable II: You can use this feature twice between long rests.

14th Level Abilities
Cunning Stalker: You gain the following benefits:
When you are hidden from a creature and miss it with a ranged weapon attack, making the attack doesn't reveal your position.
Dim light doesn't impose disadvantage on your Wisdom (Perception) checks relying on sight.

15th Level Abilities
Magic Sturdiness: You have advantage on all saves against magic.
Additionally, you may take the  Use an Object action to activate magic items.
Slippery: You gain +2 to AC against melee attacks made by Medium-sized creatures or larger.

16th Level Abilities
Ability Score Improvement: Increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

17th Level Abilities
Indomitable III: You can use this feature thrice between long rests

18th Level Abilities
Elusive: You are so evasive that attackers rarely gain the upper hand against you. No attack roll has advantage against you while you aren't incapacitated.

19th Level Abilities
Ability Score Improvement: Increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

20th Level Abilities
Stroke of Luck: You have an uncanny knack for succeeding when you need to. If your attack misses a target within range, you can turn the miss into a hit. Alternatively, if you fail an ability check, you can treat the d20 roll as a 20. Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a short or long rest.