Halfling 5e Guide

Published on November 30, 2020, Last modified on September 27th, 2021

What is this guide?

This guide is meant to give you an idea of whether or not the Halfling will be right for your character build.

The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good that option will be for your Halfling. This color coding isn’t a hard and fast rule; there are plenty of sub-optimized options out there that will be viable to your party and will be fun to play.

  • Black is a trait shared by many races and or will not impact the effectiveness of your character build
  • Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
  • Orange is an OK option
  • Green is a good option
  • Blue is a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
  • Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything Update

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything has added the "Customizing Your Origin" option that may affect the ability score increases, languages, and proficiencies in this guide. To read more about this, visit our D&D Race Guide.

What are halflings?

Halflings are short, stout creatures that tend to find a balance in stature between the bulky dwarves and the thin, wiry gnomes.

Halflings are a well-natured bunch and enjoy the simple pleasures in life. They love to spend their time in the quiet land of their shires or the community among their band of adventurers. Most halflings strive for nothing more than a cozy fire and well-cooked meal shared with friends and family, then finishing off the night with a glass (or 6) of fine wine.

Because of their kind and cheerful nature, halflings take life as it is given to them and rarely strive for wealth or power. A halfling brought into the world of adventure usually does so to protect the ones they love or out of sheer curiosity.

Ability Score Increase: +2 DEX is an extremely common ASI array but is also a great choice for Rogues, Monks, and other classes that rely on light armor or ranged attacks.

Age: Halflings mature by 20 and live to around 150

Alignment: The Halflings’ kind nature makes most of the race lean towards lawful good.

Size: Halflings are small creatures, averaging out at 3 feet tall. Being a small creature certainly has its ups and downs. Upside you get to use medium creatures as mounts and can move through the space of creatures that are Large size or bigger. The downside is you have disadvantage grappling/shoving and using heavy weapons. Small creatures also more often than not have a reduced speed.

Speed: 25ft walking is subpar when compared to most medium creatures. This may not cause a massive fuss in most situations, but when in chases or retreats the extra 10ft per dash is certainly missed.

Lucky: Rerolling 1’s on attack rolls, ability checks, or saving throws is amazing. Now there is only a 0.25% chance of crit failing (but you will still manage it somehow).

Brave: Advantage on saving throws against Frightened is another solid racial trait. Frightened conditions are fairly common, especially if your campaign is heavy on dragons.

Halfling Nimbleness: Hafling Nimbleness allows you to move through an enemy’s space, even if they’re only a size larger than you. Seeing as this equates to medium creatures and larger, it should apply to 80-90% of the creatures you face. This skill is particularly useful if you’re a Rogue, Monk, or other melee class.

Languages: Common and Halfling.

Halfling Subraces

Ghostwise Halfing

Ability Score Increase: +1 WIS is a nice boost for Druids, Monks, Rangers, or light armor Clerics that are picking the class up for the +2 DEX and the racial traits.

Languages: Replacing your known languages for less useful languages won’t be much help.

Silent Speech: Being able to telepathically communicate with friends and foes is a solid ability and will help you get out of plenty of jams.

Lightfoot Halfing

Ability Score Increase: +1 CHA makes this a reasonable choice for CHA based casters, especially if they will be using the +2 DEX for more than light armor.

Naturally Stealthy: Using your party or other creatures for cover opens up amazing opportunities for bonus action hiders like Rogues.

Lotusden Halfing

Ability Score Increase: +1 WIS is a nice boost for Druids, Monks, Rangers, or light armor Clerics that are picking the class up for the +2 DEX and the racial traits.

Child of the Wood: 3 solid bonus spells that provide a nice utility boost to any class, even a Druid who will gain access to all of these spells but can use the extra prepared slots for more situational spells.

Timberwalk: Being harder to track and ignoring difficult terrain made of plants might be useful once or twice in an average campaign.

Mark of Healing Halfing

Ability Score Increase: +1 WIS is a nice boost for Druids, Monks, Rangers, or light armor Clerics that are picking the class up for the +2 DEX and the racial traits.

Medical Intuition: Due to the abundance of low-level healing magic and healing potions, medicine checks are very rare in D&D 5e.

Healing Touch: Cure Wound and Lesser Restoration are both spells that will reasonably cast every short rest. Clerics or healing based Druids may scoff at these paltry extra spell slots but classes with fewer spell slots or no access to healing magic may be interested.

Spells of the Mark: Most of the time, Spells of the Mark are great added utility and this case is no different. The list focuses mainly on healing spells, so this would be a solid pick for a non-healer Druid that wants to help support their party a bit more.

Mark of Hospitality Halfing

Ability Score Increase: +1 CHA makes this a reasonable choice for CHA based casters, especially if they will be using the +2 DEX for more than light armor.

Ever Hospitable: I love the flavor of adding a d4 to Persuasion checks that involve brewing or cooking supplies. This could be a great foundational piece of RP for a character while remaining useful enough to use through most of the campaign.

Innkeeper’s Magic: Nice bit of extra flavor, but none of these spells will come up a whole lot (unless you actually intend to run an Inn).

Spells of the Mark: These spells, much like the Innkeerp’s Magic spells focus on flavor over substance.

Stout Halfling

Ability Score Increase: +1 CON is a decent bonus. Every class needs a bit of CON, so picking it up as part of your race will allow you to buff your core ability modifiers more when point buying.

Stout Resilience: Advantage on saving throws against poison and resistance to poison will certainly come up during a game a couple of times.

Which classes are best for halflings?

Artificer: Nothing here for an Artificer.

Barbarian: The +2 to DEX and +1 to CON provided by the Stout Halfling may make enough of a case to use it for a Barbarian build. Lucky doesn’t hurt either.

Bard: +1 to CHA and +2 to DEX is an attractive array for Bards. The rest of the racial abilities, whether you choose MoH or Lightfoot are icing on the cake.

Cleric: +2 DEX and +1 WIS is a solid start for light armor Clerics.

Druid: +2 DEX and +1 WIS is a solid start for Druids. 

Fighter: +2 DEX and +1 CON, is a great start for a DEX based Fighter build. Lucky is particularly helpful because of all the attack rolls you will be making.

Monk: +2 DEX and +1 WIS is the ideal starting array for Monks. Lucky will help you as much as Fighters because of all the melee attacks you’ll be making and Halfling Nimbless will allow you to move freely around the battlefield.

Paladin: Paladins really want to be focusing more on STR, CON, and CHA more than the Halflings ASIs provide.

Ranger: +2 DEX and +1 WIS is the ideal starting array for Rangers. Lucky will help you with your attacks and you can ride your beast master companion into battle as long as it’s a medium creature or larger. Rogues also LOVE the Light

Rogue: +2 DEX is exactly what Rogues are looking for. Halfling nimbleness will help you move around the battlefield and Lucky will help make sure you don’t crit fail on your Sneak Attacks. +2 DEX and +1 WIS is the ideal starting array for Monks. Lucky will help you as much as Fighters because of all the melee attacks you’ll be making.

Sorcerer: Only a +1 to CHA will make Halflings a tough choice for Sorcerers.

Warlock: Only a +1 to CHA will make Halflings a tough choice for Warlocks.

Wizard: No INT for Wizards.

Mike Bernier

Mike Bernier is the lead content writer and founder of Arcane Eye. Outside of writing for Arcane Eye, Mike spends most of his time playing games, hiking with his girlfriend, and tending the veritable jungle of houseplants that have invaded his house. He is the author of Escape from Mt. Balefor and The Heroes of Karatheon. Mike specializes in character creation guides for players, homebrewed mechanics and tips for DMs, and one-shots with unique settings and scenarios. Follow Mike on Twitter.