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A pair of supplements supporting heroic and pulp fantasy gaming with new classes, magic types, spells, monsters, and more!
A pair of supplements supporting heroic and pulp fantasy gaming with new classes, magic types, spells, monsters, and more!
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Independence Day at the Shire!


Hello, everyone. It's Independence Day here, and I've been sending my holiday time-off with the friendly local halfling community as part of my research into their race for ACKS. Rumors that I have been captured and subjected to ruthless torture including force-feeding, alcohol poisoning, and outdoor activities are entirely false, I assure you. 

In fact, I've come to realize how much I deeply misunderstood my wonderful, charming captors, whose eminently gracious hosting has provided me with more food and drink than I could have ever imagined I could tolerate. That's why I'm excited to share the new Halfling Racial Class Category with you!

You can find this delightful new racial class category here, at the Autarch Dropbox:

To give you a sense of why I built the racial category this way, it will be helpful to keep a few design goals in mind:

  • Halfling Bounders should have 1d6 hit points, fighter attack progressions, 8th level caps, and a bundle of powers similar to those found in the Halfling class in B/X.
  • Halfling Burglars should have 1d4 hit points, thief attack progressions, 10th or 11th level caps, and a bundle of powers comparable to those of the Thief. 
  • Halfling classes should be incentivized to take several points in Halfling, but Halfling should not be overpowered.
  • Halfling classes should not require more XP to advance than comparable human classes.

I think I've achieved those goals - but I look forward to hearing your comments. (Note that I've only included abbreviated notes on the class builds for Halfling Burglar and Halfling Bounder, but it should be sufficient to see how the math works.)

The halflings are "having some people for dinner" tonight. Please send a rescue party. 

Tim Baker, Rob Kalbach, and 9 more people like this update.


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    1. Fabio Milito Pagliara on

      I think that you got it right. This feels very halfling to me. Well done!

    2. Autarch 8-time creator on

      I must respectfully disagree about your HD suggestion. I don't think halflings should get increased hit points or HD under *any* circumstances. They are tiniest and weakest of the demihuman races. It would be absurd for their racial class power to make a halfling tougher, level for level and HD for HD, than a dwarf, orc, or man.

      In writing HFH I spent a lot of time re-reading the source material. In this case, halflings were created by Tolkien, and there is nothing in Tolkien to suggest that halflings are tougher warriors than elves, dwarves, or humans--and loads of evidence to the contrary. Halflings are resistant to spiritual corruption, which made them capable of enduring the horrors of the Ring and Mordor, but that doesn't make them better at surviving combat. The entire point of Bilbo, Frodo, and so on is that they were the unlikeliest heroes imaginable and that the destruction of the Ring was an act of spiritual bravery, not physical. Yes, the Hard to Kill power is an homage to Frodo surviving the cave-troll's attack, but even then, in the source material, it is because he had mithril armor, not because hobbits have super-dodge or super-toughness.

      As far as Heroic Breakfast, there is an optional rule in the Hit Point section to allow for everyone to benefit from Heroic Breakfast once per day. If that optional rule is in play, then halflings get second breakfast. If it's not, they get just one. I.e. they get one more Heroic Breakfast than any other race, either 0:1 or 1:2. That's already in the rules, though perhaps I need to make it more explicit in the Halfling racial class value since the optional rule is explained in a different section.

      In general, the Halfling class under these rules ends up as nearly-identical in Hit Die, combat ability, XP curve, and level cap, and gets more special abilities, compared to what appeared in BX, so I don't think the design is punitive.

    3. CharlesDM

      I need to more closely examine the XP costs, but beyond that, I don't like Weak as is. I would split off the Hit Die impact of Weak, possibly combining/re-working with Hard to Kill. Size often plays a role in non-ACKS damage systems, and I have wondered if the Mortal Wounds table is the place to model that in ACKS, i.e. sprites go splat! So, has a Small race, when that Mortal Wound roll comes, it's likely to be bad. But Halflings are perhaps both Lucky and Hard to Kill, so they get increased hp per Hit Die and two (negatively modified by Small Size) rolls. And, a minor point, how about changing Heroic Breakfast to Second Breakfast for Halflings, and allowing this benefit more than once a day? I will try to follow-up on the Autarch forums by this week-end.