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Halfling is another name for J. R. R. Tolkien's Hobbit, a fictional race found in some fantasy novels and games. They are often depicted as similar to humans except about half as tall. Dungeons & Dragons began using the name halfling as an alternative to hobbit for legal reasons.[citation needed]

Originally, "halfling" comes from the Scots word hauflin, meaning an awkward rustic teenager, who is neither man nor boy, and so half of both. Another word for halfling is "hobbledehoy" or "hobby".[citation needed] This usage of the word pre-dates both The Hobbit and Dungeons & Dragons.

Some fantasy stories use the term halfling to describe a person born of a human parent and a parent of another race, often a human female and an elf. Terry Brooks describes characters such as Shea Ohmsford from his Shannara series as a halfling of elf–human parentage. This kind of character is elsewhere called a half-elf and is distinct from the fantasy race known as halflings. In Jack Vance's Lyonesse series of novels, "halfling" is a generic term for beings such as fairies, trolls and ogres, who are composed of both magical and earthly substances.[1]

In popular culture[edit]

  • Halflings have long been one of the playable humanoid races in Dungeons & Dragons.
  • Kithkin is the self-applied name of the halflings in the Magic: The Gathering collectible card game. They are found on both the primary world of Dominaria and the ever-shifting world of Lorwyn/Shadowmoor, where they share an empathic bond with each other.
  • Halflings are playable races in both Everquest and Everquest II. They are small, well rounded beings which generally resemble humans. They are a fun people and have many sneaky ways. They have high dexterity and agility and love to travel always on their hairy feet.
  • In the computer game series The Magic Candle, halflings are portrayed as friendly, peaceful people, who are skilled in crafts (particularly sewing in the second and third games), as well as negotiation due to their high charisma. They also possess lockpicking skills, and are agile and quick in battle, but tend to have low close combat skills, although they are second only to the elves in archery.
  • Halflings also appear in the Warhammer Fantasy. They are distant relatives of the ogres, and live in a part of the Empire called the Moot, which is located next to the province of Stirland. Halflings are known for their thievery and love for food. The Elder of the Moot has a vote in determining the next emperor.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, halflings are called ratlings and are a type of abhuman. They serve as snipers in the Imperial Guard and share the Warhammer Fantasy halflings' hearty appetites and light fingers.
  • In Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, halflings are a Thestran race based in Rindol Field, with the ability to become many classes, from warrior to druid. They are about 60% of a human's height (the second-shortest race in the game).
  • In Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, halflings are intermediate in height between humans and dwarves, and possess a bonus in all thievery skills, including backstabbing.
  • In Heroes of Might and Magic II: The Succession Wars, halflings are the weakest creature in the wizard town. They can sling stones.
  • Halflings are a playable race in the Age of Wonders series. Halflings live in forests and have human-like physical features, but they are shorter in comparison. The race's alignment is good.
  • In Legend of the Ghost Lion, the "spirit of the halfling" can be summoned to protect the main character.
  • In Overlord, halflings and their obese leader Melvin Underbelly live at the expense of the humans, and they use goblin-like creatures as slaves.


Inline citations[edit]

  1. ^ Vance, Jack (1983). Lyonesse: Book I: Suldrun's Garden. London UK: Grafton Books. p. Glossary II: The Fairies. ISBN 0-586-06027-8. 


Vance, Jack (1983). Lyonesse: Book I: Suldrun's Garden. London UK: Grafton Books. p. Glossary II: The Fairies. ISBN 0-586-06027-8.