Most folks are aware of the lightfoot and stout variations of the halfling race. Both of these types of halflings can be found in adventuring parties and have icons across fantasy media.
However, a lesser-known third variation of halfling came out early in D&D 5e that many players don’t know: the ghostwise halfling.
Let’s take a look at what this mysterious subrace has available to them as well as their culture, capabilities, and other fun roleplay info.
Ghostwise Halfling: What We Know
What is a ghostwise halfling?
Ghostwise halflings are a rare variation of halflings from the Forgotten Realms that can speak directly into someone’s mind. These halflings defend forests from encroaching dangers. Their telepathy allows them to plan while hidden, keep their quarry unaware until the last possible second.
This halfling variant comes from the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide. In that book, it mentions that these halflings are a rare sight period, let alone as adventurers.
Many of these halflings live in closely knit communities tasked with defending critical forests around Chondalwood.
They work alongside wood elves, treants, and other forest dwellers to keep the lustful eyes of other humanoids away from the bounties their natural homes provide.
The book doesn’t offer much else in helping to establish why a ghostwise halfling would want to leave their clans and adventure.
Many players could have fun playing an outcast exile or perhaps a prized warrior tasked with meeting other clans to learn how their battles fare.
Regardless of their reason, a compelling backstory for a ghostwise halfling involves a call to action that removes them from their forest, whether for good or ill.
Ghostwise Halfling Abilities and Traits
Like other kinds of halflings, the ghostwise halflings of D&D 5e share many of the same traits as the other variations of the race.
Halfling heroes are defined, in part, by a set of shared qualities, noted in the list of halfling racial features in the Player’s Handbook:
Ability Score Increase.Your Dexterity scores increases by 2.
Age. A halfling reaches adulthood at the age of 20 and generally lives into the middle of his or her second century.
Alignment. Most halflings are lawful good. As a rule, they are good-hearted and kind, hate to see others in pain, and have no tolerance for oppression.
They are also very orderly and traditional, leaning heavily on the support of their community and the comfort of their old ways.
Size. Halflings average about 3 feet tall and weigh about 40 pounds. Your size is Small.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet.
Lucky. When you roll a 1 on an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll.
Brave. You have advantage on saving throws against being frightened.
Halfling Nimbleness. You can move through the space of any creature that is of a size larger than yours.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Halfling. The Halfling language isn’t secret, but halflings are loath to share it with others.
They write very little, so they don’t have a rich body of literature. Their oral tradition, however, is very strong. Almost all halflings speak Common to converse with the people in whose lands they dwell or through which they are traveling.
The features that set ghostwise halfling apart can be found in the Sword Coast Adventures Guide, the first sourcebook to be released after the initial printing of D&D 5e’s core books.
In that book, the ghostwise halfling can be found on page 110 in a small textbox up in the corner, where these features are listed as additions to the above base race:
Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.
Silent Speech. You can speak telepathically to any creature within 30 feet of you. The creature understands you only if the two of you share a language. You can speak telepathically in this way to one creature at a time.
In summary, halflings are plucky little folk who use their small stature and willpower to power through the dangers of the world.
Those that venture out into the world want to improve the lot of those they come across and build community and relationships.
The Lucky feature of the halfling is probably the feature most players get excited about.
Rolling a natural one on any check always feels rough. Getting a free reroll allows the halfling’s player to manipulate odds in their favor, making it highly unlikely that a natural one sticks with this free reroll.
Speaking of rerolls, the Brave feature is something that will come up with some regularity at most tables. Many monsters have effects or spells that can cause the frightened condition.
Having advantage to overcome those effects, especially when combined with a decent saving throw modifier, means your halfling character can overcome their fear better than their peers.
Finally, the Halfling Nimbleness feature for the base halfling race won’t come up much, but it’s a useful tool to have. Normally, a creature can’t move through the space of a hostile creature in combat.
Halflings can overcome this rule with their small stature, giving them mobility other races can’t get. For groups that play on a battle map or who use the flanking optional rule will love this mobility.
As for the ghostwise halfling subrace, Silent Speech is a great ability for any character looking to communicate subtly.
Whether trying to frighten a creature with a voice in their head or talk out plans with nearby allies, telepathy can take a lot of the table chatter between players into the game.
Better communication methods can only improve your adventuring party’s chances, making this feature an obvious boon!
Ghostwise Halfling Classes
With the publishing of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, the Ability Score Increases that a race receives don’t have to be set to what you see printed on the page.
Even more so now, any race can work with any class if the player wants to put in the effort to make the character.
Still, with a bonus to Dexterity and Wisdom, two of the most useful abilities in the game, it’s hard to want to swap those around.
Because of that fact and their other racial features, the ghostwise halfling has some classes that stick out as solid picks for adventurers:
- Cleric: Wisdom for spells, Dexterity to fill out medium armor, and multiple ways to reroll failed saving throws mean that ghostwise halflings can make amazing clerics of almost any kind.
- Druid: In the same vein as Clerics, ghostwise halfling druids can have the same benefits, including using spells and their Silent Speech feature to communicate with found and summoned beasts.
- Fighter: Halfling fighters are renowned across the D&D multiverse for their power with the sling, but any finesse or ranged weapon will suit a halfling looking to defend their home and kin.
- Monk: As a class that relies on Dexterity to attack and Wisdom for its saves and defenses, ghostwise halfling monks make for an interesting matchup despite the traditional lack of monasteries in ghostwise halfling communities.
- Ranger: A ghostwise halfling ranger benefits from its racial features in the same way as a fighter but also gets to add in a boost to Wisdom-based ability checks like Animal Handling and Survival.
- Rogue: While no rogue subclass relies on Wisdom, ghostwise halflings can use their innate Dexterity and Silent Speech to sneak undetected and communicate everything they see to their allies without making a sound.
Still, the halfling is a tempting race for any player who wants to escape the dreaded natural one on their d20 rolls.
If your DM lets you swap around Ability Score Increases using the rules from Tasha’s, then feel free to use a halfling for any class you desire.
Ghostwise Halfling Appearance: General Looks Found Among Them
Despite their forest habitat and disconnect from many other races, ghostwise halflings bear many of the same physical features as other halflings.
On average, these halflings stand around 3 feet tall, placing them at about hip or waist height with other humanoid races like humans and elves. At this height, many halflings weigh between 40 and 45 pounds.
Their skin tone can range across the spectrum of tans, pales, and other ruddy hues. Most halflings bear brown, wavy hair, with men sculpting long, busy sideburns in the place of the beards or mustaches other races will cultivate.
As a practical people, ghostwise halflings don’t have ostentatious clothes or displays of wealth in their fashion. Cloth and leather garments, practical shoes, and simple colors are the standard fare for most halflings.
So long as the clothes are comfortable and stave off the elements, a halfling is more than happy with their outfit.
Ghostwise Halfling Names: Male, Female, Gender Neutral, and Other
Like the other variations of halflings, community and clan matter immensely to ghostwise halflings.
Many ghostwise halflings receive their zeal and mission from their relatives and clan, working together with them their whole lives to defend their homes.
Ghostwise halfling communities are strong because of their ability to fight together – not just to eat or survive together.
Despite their secluded nature, ghostwise halflings follow most, if not all, of the same naming conventions as other halflings in the Forgotten Realms.
Most halflings have a given name, a family or clan name, and an individualized nickname.
The Player’s Handbook offers this list of names for players to get inspiration for their halfling characters:
- Male Names: Alton, Ander, Cade, Corrin, Eldon, Errich, Finnan, Garret, Lindal, Lyle, Merric, Milo, Osborn, Perrin, Reed, Roscoe, Wellby
- Female Names: Andry, Bree, Callie, Cora, Euphemia, Jillian, Kithri, Lavinia, Lidda, Merla, Nedda, Paela, Portia, Seraphina, Shaena, Trym, Vani, Verna
- Family Names: Brushgather, Goodbarrel, Greenbottle, High-hill, Hilltopple, Leagallow, Tealeaf, Thorngage, Tosscobble, Underbough
In most cases, a family name is simply a nickname that has stuck over the generations. Halflings view giving names as a way to build relationships and communities.
Sometimes, this means that one halfling might have a dozen or more nicknames, each one relating to a different halfling clan or place!
When making your ghostwise halfling, coming up with some nicknames their friends and family created back home will give your character some extra personality.
Each nickname can be a story for your character to indulge in, assuming they can overcome their displeasure of leaving the forest.
Despite their overlap with other halfling variants, the ghostwise halfling offers a unique ability and interesting roleplay opportunities for a player.
Coming up with a reason for this reclused race to send a representative out into the world offers a world of backstory potential for the player to explore.
When combined with the race’s solid Ability Score Increases and useful racial features, the ghostwise halfling is a racial option that’s hard to pass up for almost any class in the game.