The halfling rogue- or Thief, if you like it old school- is certainly one of Dungeons and Dragons’ perfectly quintessential pairings. Sure, it could be less ionic than the eleven rangers or even the dwarven cleric, but remember, there is a reason why the pre-generated Rogue in DnD’s Starter Set happens to be a lightfoot halfling, and that’s because they are an indisputable classic.
So, if you really want to play the timeless race-class combo of D&D halfling rogue, this is our comprehensive guide to help you build the ultimate 5e halfling rogue.
What is a Halfling & What are Its Traits?
Most of the halfling’s lives aim to revert back to the comforts of their home, a place to settle down in quietness and peace, far from the madding crowd of marauding monsters and armies coming face to face. A few others belonging to nomadic bands constantly travel, lured in by the open road and the wide horizon that lets them discover the wonders of newer lands and peoples.
The halflings can work easily with others and are loyal as friends. They display impressive ferocity when in the vicinity of friends, families, and threatened communities.
A halfling sets foot into adulthood at 20 years old and goes on to live for about another 230 years. That’s a lot of time to learn tricks for the burglary trade. They tend to be about 3 feet tall on average. Their size is relatively small, all the better for hiding behind things, wielding knives, and being generally sneaky. They are slower than most, but hey, that’s okay!
When you roll a 1 on your d20 for an ability check, attack roll, or saving throw, you will be able to reroll the dice. A great ability that cements the halfling rogue as a character that can get in and out of much of any dangerous situation in one piece; this sets them apart as lucky.
You will also be incredibly brave with the advantage of a saving throw against being frightened. This can be quite useful in your line of work.
You also possess the customary halfling nimbleness, where you can move through the space around any creature bigger than yourself. This is best to get behind an enemy or put an ally between you and a nastier thing. Moreover, this pairs perfectly when juxtaposed with the Rogue’s cunning action.
1. Lightfoot Halfling
Along with excelling at staying out of sight, you will also get a nice +1 for your Charisma. Your Naturally Stealthy ability essentially means you can attempt to take hide action if you are obscured by only a creature at least one size larger than you.
The concept of ducking out of view right behind the party’s tank screams rogue. If you wish to play as the sneak thief rogue who can move unseen through shadows and make off with the enemy’s shiniest loot, the lightfoot halfling is the choice for you!
2. Stout Halfling
The halflings are greatly resilient creatures. Be it resisting the effects of One Ring or simply a big old rip of a Longbottom leaf, the Stout halfling will embody that to a tee.
Note that you will only get a +1 constitution bonus, though you gain an advantage on a saving throw against poison. You also have resistance against poison damage which is perfect for a machiavellian poisoner or an assassin.
Want to focus on the Rogue’s role as a nimble and lethal damage dealer? Play a Stout halfling.
What is a Rogue & What are Its Traits?
A rogue’s most important concern while assigning ability scores ought to be Dexterity since it will define your weapon attacks, contribute to your Armor Class and your initiative rolls (which is essential if you favor stabbing over sneaking and stealing), and is the driving force behind a few of the most roguish skills, such as sleight of hand, Stealth, and acrobatics. At the end of the day, it depends on the kind of Rogue you wish to play.
Rogues happened to be among the earliest classes introduced in D&D back in November of 1979 as a part of the tabletop game’s first supplement: Greyhawk. In the early days, rogues could draw a lot of inspiration from a specific halfling whose guile and talent when it comes to burglary are surely the story of legends.
Hence, as it used to be termed back then, the thief class happened to be much more geared towards exploration, emptying bad guys’ treasure vaults, and disarming traps while the rest of the party fought. There are plenty rogue characters you can choose from assassin rogue, tabaxi rogue to halfling rogue. Depending upon what adventure you want to embark on, you can pick from any of these above characters.
Gradually rogues found themselves more and more geared towards combat. Sneak Attack became their defining ability, and their high proficiency with Thieves’ Tools and their ability to pickpocket targets or even evade detection became an afterthought. Peaking in 4e pushes rogue towards a more healthy blend of stabbing and sneaking.
Regardless of whether you wish to be a halfling rogue that emphasizes sneakier or stabbier components, you can influence where you assign your secondary emphasis in your AC. Want to be a very charming scoundrel with a penchant for smooth-talking your way past city guards and dragons? Buff up your Charisma.
Want to devote yourself to striking down enemies? The constitution might be the way to go! Arguments are to be made for Wisdom and Intelligence as well, with none made for Strength. You can leave it alone.
How to Make a Halfling Rogue?
Here’s a tidbit: halfling is not really the race’s original name. In fact, it is Hin. ‘Halfling’ as a term came up since they are half the size of human beings. They are famous for their well-known race that sports good humor, great support, and are not easily agitated by insults. Usually juxtaposed with Gnomes, they live a great, simple life and are not quite hostile towards diverse races.
In reality, Gnomes are more childish than Hins. You can think of halflings as the old folks who have seen the world and now choose to lead simple good lives even if they are capable of more. They mostly happen to be more traditional and choose to live with close ties with their own family.
As for the halfling rogue gameplay, here’s all you need to know to make a halfling rogue:
When it comes to ability scores, it is essential to prioritize Dexterity, and depending on your Roguish archetype, and it pays off to focus on Intelligence (Arcane Trickster), Charisma (Thief), or Wisdom/Constitution (Assassin).
As for armor and weapons, 2 light melee finesse weapons for melee combat (Daggers and Short Swords are recommended) and one ranged weapon of your choice, and you should be good to go!
As for offensive actions, ensure you have an advantage on attacks or hit the enemy within 5 feet of allies to maximize Sneak Attack damage. And as for defensive actions, you can use cunning action to disengage and hide as a bonus action. This lets you avoid spending too much time being close to dangerous enemies. Your Evasion feature also offers great opportunities for bringing down damage taken from higher-level spells.
As for subclass decisions, it is best to choose Assassin Roguish archetypes if you wish to focus on damage. If you prefer a more “classic” halfling rogue style, go for the Thief. Want to add a dash of magic? Arcane Trickster is the way to go!
How to Play as a Halfling Rogue?
Here’s how to play as a halfling rogue:
1. Don’t Go First
Remember, your halfling’s ability to meander through a bigger creature’s space and the lightfoot halfling’s ability to stay hidden behind a different creature essentially means that you should always be lurking in someone’s shadow.
2. Prioritize your Sneak Attack
This happens to be one of your best sources of damage when you level up, as the Rogue doesn’t have access to extra attacks, unlike the fighter or paladin. If you have an advantage on your attack roll while attacking when hidden, for instance, or if an ally happens to be within 5ft of your target, you can add one or more d6 to the damage roll.
Whether you are playing as a stabby assassin or a sneaky burglar, engineering situations where you can apply the Sneak Attack damage is quite critical in playing any form of Rogue. As halflings, the small size and the ability to conceal yourself right behind allies is a great part of this.
3. Choose the Right Expertise
Rogues are good at many things, but the addition of Expertise makes them better. Beginning at the 1st level, you get to pick two skills (prioritize Stealth for effectively hiding to gain advantage and, in turn, more reliable Sneak Attack damage) and then double your proficiency bonus while making checks with those skills.
Later, your proficiency bonus shoots up, and you are free to apply your Expertise to diverse skills. Pick the ones suited to the type of halfling rogue you are playing. If you are a fraudster, a charlatan, and an all-around social weasel, you can put Expertise into either Deception or Persuasion. Are you a burglar who is all about passing unseen? Acrobatics and Stealth are the way to go.
4. Use Your Cunning Action
Cunning Action is the strongest rogue ability in the game, and it synergizes well with the halfling’s natural sneakiness. It allows you to make use of your bonus action to take the Hide, Dash, or Disengage action. Dashing can compensate for the halfling’s mediocre speed.
At the same time, Disengage helps you get back behind your party’s tank right after you deal some nasty sneak attack damage, and lastly, Hide lets you melt right back into the shadows to have an advantage on your next hit.
How to Roleplay as a Halfling Rogue 5e Character?
Quite like Gnomes, Halflings or Hins are not always the happy-go-lucky beings that most races think they are. They value clan and family and insist that most of their subrace not mingle with other races barring certain exceptions or quests.
Being a Rogue is not always the customary edgy and mysterious figure that everyone expects. Most supposed, being a rogue is about being a cool assassin waiting for the opportunity to strike or one with a tragic backstory who wants to avenge the death of his parents or dog.
You can be carefree and in it solely for the money or the thrill. If you are going for a more sociable Halfling subrace, you are the kind that is the life of the party or simply in it for the thrill.
Even if you did not choose the most pleasant of Hins, they diligently do what they must. You could have been sent on an important quest for the people’s sake. Among similar occupations, you will have good alibis as carpenters, artisans, and entertainers. You will be notorious for your ability to steal and run easily.
Despite being mostly uninvolved in other societies, you will be capable of writing, reading, and speaking in common, barring the Halfling language. If you pick a Strongheart/Stout Halfling, you will also be fluent in the Dwarven language. As for Lotusden, the druidic language will come naturally to you.
That’s all there is to know about the halfling rogue. Make sure you know all the skills, traits, races, and subraces before subscribing to any community. Learn about their people and respect their kindness, and you will have a great campaign with friends!
The halfling rogue is an easy but effective concoction, and you will benefit from their stealth and stabbing abilities on the battlefield. We hope this guide helped you understand the nitty gritty of halfling rogue. Happy questing!