Arcane Game Lore

Never split the party!

Halfling Barbarians Need To Be Banned

Flail_snail-5eThis public service announcement has been brought to you by the letters W, T, F and the number nine!

So you may be asking yourself, what’s wrong with a halfling barbarian? And if you are, it’s probably because you are playing one and have the character depth of a garden slug all the while thinking you’re playing a Flail Snail. Seriously, your character is not cool. We laugh cause your character concept is so painful it’s the only way we can still enjoy the game without murdering your character while s/he sleeps. Sure your character take take enough damage to put an Elder God down while you crack jokes about drinking beer, but fun-loving halflings changing to murderous rage monsters (while still having a penchant to crack jokes) are about as interesting as said garden slugs.

You are not some plucky hero from a Tolkien novel that summons the rage of his entire tribe at the drop of a hat. Seriously, you just yelling rage and making exaggerated fake weapon swinging motions does not convince us that your character is anything more that a cheap grab at a humorous dichotomy because your concept of humor revolves around getting drunk and making farting noises. Yes, we understand that halflings are small and weak, and the idea of them being this combat monster can be humorous, but if you’re only raging after the game master has asked for initiative then you’re really only using the character to gain the a munchkin benefits in combat. Try raging in town once and murdering an entire tavern and see how well that goes over, or try not raging in combat because you don’t want to be viewed as a halfling who can’t control his anger, now that would be funny.

Honestly, Barbarians are not stupid people that just drink beer, grab wenches, and rage in combat. They are clever, considerate, and have their own way of life. Pairing that with stereotypcal halfling can work, but only if you role-play the fact that there is more to your character than insatiable curiosity that allows you to investigate whatever you want without checking with the rest of the party, because whatever havoc you stir up, you can just rage to survive the encounter. And if you take the Bear totem, we know it is just so the Game Master cannot craft an encounter with the purpose of putting your character check. Let us not go into psionics as that is an entirely different rage rant.


Let’s talk about that half damage rule for a second. It is a personal belief that you should never have a rule in the system that says ‘take half of this’, or ‘double that’. Players will almost always find a way to abuse that rule and turn that number into an insane total, creating characters that run at Mach 2 and completely break the game. In the case of barbarians, they already get the highest Hit Point of all the classes, adding the ability to shrug off half the damage, just makes it so the Game Master has have a difficult time creating an encounter that doesn’t one-shot the other party members. Adding the one totem that allows them to ignore any damage type that would come out of your average encounter, just seems like you want to make sure your character survives any encounter shy of bringing an actual god, like Tiamat, into the game.

If you do decide to play this unlikely hero, for the sake of your companions, put some more thought into this than bi-polar child with a napoleon complex that has the statistical mechanics to back up being a jerk.

Final note; this post is made in jest to poke fun at a couple of characters in our games that are nearly identical in execution. It has become somewhat of a joke to suggest playing a halfling barbarian. As long as your group is having fun, then whatever you play is acceptable. I would never tell a player not to play something if that is what they find fun to play. Someone who loves halflings and decides to roll with a barbarian character concept is completely acceptable especially if they believe in the afterlife of Barhalla.

Categorised as: Humor

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