Dungeon Situational – Three Halfling Subraces

Halflings – the legally distinct smallfolk that are in no way to be likened to hobbits – are friendly if sedentary people who live in garden-like settlements dotted with allotments and farms that can help sate an appetite that defies their small stature. Occasionally they rove great distances in search of new lands to settle, finding new allies and friends at every turn. In D&D – certainly in 5th ed – they come in two key varieties, lightfoot and stout, but it’s highly unlikely that such a well travelled race would be so limited in diversity.

An important side-note, in my settings halflings are not the cheery big-footed miniature people as in other, more typical campaign settings. Halflings universally come from a distant and unknown continent, about which they never speak except in reference to “home”. They are predisposed to secret-keeping, and when they settle in one place they make their homes impregnable by means of stealth and warding magics. The following halflings come from one such continent, on one such world, but should be suitably balanced for any campaign setting. They also use D&D 5th edition rules.


Ashfolk are born and raised under a singular philosophy, that death is an inevitability. Some take this attitude with solemnity and grace, others embrace life with a fervour that often gets them killed. As they grow to maturity they gain a fragment of death itself, that allows them to hold back the promised end just a little longer. Ashfolk are marked by their grey colouring, skin, hair, and eyes.

Ability Score Increase – Your wisdom score increases by one.

One Foot in the Grave – You may choose to succeed a death saving throw that you have just failed. You recover the use of this ability after a long rest.


Existence on their distant home continent is strange, some perverse quirk of life makes them uniquely disposed to observe other worlds and other planes and to fully comprehend the nature of the veils between them. While they are tight-lipped about exactly how they come by such knowledge, they are able to weave such powers around them for brief periods, becoming very slightly intangible.

Ability Score Increase – Your intelligence score increases by one.

Unreal – As a bonus action you can make yourself insubstantial, giving yourself resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage, and your movement is not hindered by difficult terrain. This effect lasts until the start of your next turn. You recover the use of this ability after a long rest.


Halflings tend to fall beneath notice, some are especially disposed to take advantage of that fact. The shadowfolk are possessed of a shifting outline, their skin changes colour subtly with wisps of darkness, making them naturally stealthy. Shadowfolk tend toward an insular existence, secretive, furtive, and among them are masters of illusion and subterfuge, friendship is proffered slowly, and an betrayal is met with bloodshed.

Ability Score Increase – Your constitution score increases by one.

Barely Perceptable – You gain proficiency in stealth, and you can attempt to hide in areas of dim light.

Next week, more work to be done on some of my existent and upcoming campaign settings, but I’ll try and keep things broad enough that anyone can use it:

The Plague Domain for clerics, I’ll be honest, I’ve found a few but none of them particularly excite me. Something that can create and cure disease in equal measure perhaps…

Special rules for languages that reflect one’s capabilities within a language, and certain languages that work a little differently.

A plane of existence, some corner pocket of the Astral Sea, a creation of a strange magic-caster, or something… else.