D&D 5e: Halfling Fighter Guide
Seldom did a battlefield know the pitter-patter of a halfling’s gait. Perhaps just as seldom did an enemy fall to a halfling’s blade. This, however, was no such battlefield, and no such enemy. Falemin’s expedient trot clattered his shining armor about his diminutive frame as he ascended the hillside, the halfling’s sword tearing through the flesh and bones of soldiers thrice his stature. Often would he be the target of their aggression, but nobody expects so much might to come from such a small package. The reason a halfling soldier such as Falemin did so well on a battlefield is… nobody can ever seem to hit such a small target.
Traditionally, when we think of a Fighter we tend to think of a brawny strongman with a sword and shield clad in heavy armor. We think of knights and guardsmen with halberds and combat prowess. Not often is it that we see such a short person display so much power, but when we do, it is a sight to behold.
How to Make a Halfling Fighter
The role of the fighter is a versatile one. Many revere them as the definitive tank class, but they can be so much more given the right rolls and player aptitude. For our purposes, we will assume the standard array method of stats will be used. You can substitute these with rolls, however, should your DM decide to have you generate your stats.
Table: Ability Scores
Now we have our base stats. Let’s also assume we’re starting Level 1; Fighters begin play with 10+CON mod hit points, so we’ll have 12hp total. Every time you level, you’ll roll 1d10 and add your CON mod to the total, then add that number to your current hit points. For example, if you roll a 7 at level 2 you’ll be at 21 hit points total.
Remember now, that as a halfling you have you’ll also gain 2 points to your DEX Ability Score. This makes the 13 we placed in our DEX slot become a 15 — which leaves it in a tie for our highest Ability Score with a +2 modifier. This is important because it is our way of quantifying a halfling’s small stature, making them harder to hit than most as DEX increases your Armor Class.
Once our base stats and HP are out of the way, we can look at proficiencies. We get to use All armor and shields, as well as any simple and martial weapons we like. Bear in mind that some of these weapons will have special properties on them, such as Finesse which will allow us to use our DEX mod for damage instead — since our STR is higher, we’d rather use it. A good option is to select a weapon with the Versatile attribute, so you can easily switch between wielding the weapon with two hands for a damage bonus, or wielding a shield for an AC boost depending on the situation.
Unfortunately, a fighter will not have expertise with any tools, such as artisan or thieves toolkits, but that’s because most everything they want to get into can just be bashed open. A fighter takes his problems and beats them senseless.
Your saving throws will be STR and CON, which is why we selected those attributes for our highest values.
Finally, you may choose two skills from Acrobatics, Animal Handling, Athletics, History, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, and Survival.
How to Play a Halfling Fighter
Mechanically, the Halfling Fighter has all of the good bad-guy-beating bits of any other fighter, with the added benefit of not being left behind when your party has to crawl through a small hole to get out of a cave-in or when following the rogue as they sneak through the crack in the castle wall.
It is wise to remember that a fighter is only as good as their blade. You won’t have access to the spells and magical mayhem a wizard or sorcerer can conjure. You use sharpened steel to drive your point home.
Just because you’re a Fighter does not mean you cannot use a ranged weapon. Often taken too literally is the dichotomy between Fighter and Ranger. Nothing is stopping you from putting your highest roll into DEX (turning that 15 into a whopping 17 with a +3 modifier!) and knocking an arrow into a bow.
Given your shorter stature, you do tend to walk a little slower than your smaller comrades at 25 ft per turn, but this is balanced with the ability to move through squares occupied by another creature that was bigger than you by one step.
How to Roleplay as a Halfling Fighter
Despite your own home’s amenities being designed for someone of your stature, and your gear being shortened and narrowed to fit on your body, you’ll do well to remember one thing: this world is run by giants.
The halfling’s bravery provides an advantage to all saving throws against being frightened. He does not cower. Since everyone is physically bigger than you perhaps you should be verbally and mentally bigger than them. Halflings are not always smart, but they are most often clever. They tend to take on the role of a trickster, pranking their friends and foes alike with their sharp wit and devastating words.
In most cases, devastating words can lead to conflict. Fortunately for the halfling, they are a lucky lot and when you roll a natural 1 you get to reroll it — maybe letting your fumble into something more successful!