Custom Halfling stock

Hello fellow adventurers!

I’ll get straight to the point: many people feel there’s something missing in Burning Wheel’s flavour - the Halflings. I’ve already seen some attempts to build the mechanics for this stock, but decided to give it a try myself. You can view the outcome on my Google Drive!

I realize that this is not the only way to portrait Halflings. That’s just my vision of how they could be presented. I’ve tried to capture much of the Tolkien’s Hobbits, but also including a bit of Warhammer or Dragonlance or some other flavours, resulting in a pretty weird but satisfying (one hopes so) mixture. Feel free to modify that, or use it as it stands if you like it. Any kind of feedback is also welcome.


1 Like


I’ve been waiting for something like this, but wasn’t sure if it fit.

Good work overall; you’ve done well portraying a lot of the Halfling tropes and facets, but I think some of the lifepaths need some balancing. Like religious bigot, for example. It give a lot of skills and even a general point, and I’m not sure that is appropriate for a religious bigot. That doesn’t seem like a lifepath that should teach a lot. If anything, they would be confused/ignorant.

Is there a reason why you gave every lifepath general skill points? According to the Monster Burner:

Lifepaths that provide wealth, travel, or great opportunity grant a general skill point or two. Master Craftsman, Elven and Dwarven Princes, Orc Great Ones are all good examples.

Are you saying that literally every halfling lifepath offers opportunity for advancement and personal growth on par with an Elven Prince? If so, then where do I sign up to be a halfling?

Also, the Fellowship common trait would be by far the most powerful trait in the game. As written, I’m not sure why Halflings haven’t take over the world by now. (Halfling General: I have my army attack their capital. GM: Okay, roll Strategy. Halfling General: My halfling soldiers give me helping dice. All ten thousand of them.)

Wow, That’s an amazing piece of work!
Thank you!

I have one question concerning the I’m Bored! rules. It says:

“Whenever a Halfling needs to make a test that prevents him from reaching, getting or witnessing something cool and exciting, he becomes restless. Because of that, he may spend one fate point to help on that test as per help rules - exponents 1-4 help with one die, exponents 5-9 help with 2 dice.”

I don’t get it, the way it’s written it seems like the halfling is able to help himself…???

Hello, thank you for your interest! I’ll try to answer your questions as best as possible.


This is phrased pretty much exactly like Corruption from Magic Burner and is intended to work this way - help the user himself. The reasoning is, he really focuses and does his best to get his job done, so he can drop it already and pursue his newfound interest. I realize this may be a bit too much to some people - first and foremost, you don’t have all those nasty downsides that Corruption brings, but I tend to keep artha pretty low in my games so I don’t think that’s something too easily abused. Feel free to restrict that in your game if it doesn’t agree with you.


Those general skills are halflings’ unique selling point! See, humans have their magic and the most versatile range of lifepaths. Dwarves have quite powerful lifepaths, their craft, their equipment. Elves are OP, plus they wield their song-magic. Halflings don’t have anything like that aside from being very flexible due to those general points. And what’s the narrative explanation? They are spread thin, you can meet a halfling anywhere, thanks to both their travels and the diaspora. And because of their strong social identity, they learn a lot from their non-halfling neighbours, resulting in a wide variety of skills. This may be against the rules in Monster Burner, but my rules say it’s totally fine :slight_smile:

Now onto the Fellowship. I realize this could be abused from time to time, but definitely not in the way you described it. First of all, you still need to come up with a plausible description of how you help, can’t just declare “just so”. Second of all, apply some common sense! Imagine that ten thousand halfling soldiers, knowing nothing of the art of strategy, are being summoned to counsel the general. It would be worse than internet forums! The quarrels, the fights, because everyone knows better! And the time it would take, too! Now consider social ramifications as well - would the general be willing to ask simple footmen to help? Would they be willing to assist him?

But then it is totally cool to help your wizard friend with a research on some mystical matters. Just say you’re looking for some adventure stories in the library and maybe you accidentally bump into something useful to him. Done and done.


Well of course, the edges are quite rough. Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to use my halflings in game, since my group is very reluctant to play Burning Wheel, and I’d rather stick to D&D or something while having a full table than drop a player or two in order to play BW. I may do a second run through those lifepaths one day to rebalance a few things, but unless there’s something really glaring, it should be not too disturbing. Burning Wheel is full of imbalance itself.

Sorry Norandil, I didn’t want to sound to critical there. If anything, I’m saying that this is great, and that I sincerely hope you take the time to work out the few rough edges.

Oh that’s alright, I didn’t mind your comment. On the contrary, I’m grateful you pointed that out!

Two years have passed and I return with a question - has anyone tried to use my Halflings in game? How did it go? To be honest, I never had a chance to do that myself! :frowning:

Just a thought, common trait instead of Fellowship. Lucky Fellowship, call-on trait for one single die if you are helped/helping by someone.

1 Like