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All The Comforts of Home! Tips and Tricks for D&D Halfling Creature Comforts

Kickstarter Korner for April 2018, International Tabletop Day Edition
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The halfling race in Dungeons & Dragons is most often defined by an appreciation for home and a need for the sanctuary of creature comforts. To many other races, even elves, this often lends to halflings being looked upon as soft, needy, or unfit for the world at large. Halflings of course, will tell you this is quite correct and also completely wrong. For this diminutive race home goes well beyond their well appointed under-hill dwellings. A halfling’s home will always be in their heart and no matter where they go the will have a part of it with them. Moreover, these small gregarious folk have the gift of creating a community wherever they may be and, more importantly, with anyone they grow close to. In this regard, an adventuring party can become a surrogate family to a halfling travelling far from home.

D&D halfling creature comforts
To a halfling, the creature comforts of home are essential adventuring gear. [Image courtesy Wizards of the Coast]

Even with a replacement family, halflings are quite good at transporting the physical creature comforts of home with them. A halfling’s a adventuring kit might seem oddly ill-fitted for the rigors of adventure, but the hirsute-footed folks will argue there is never a time or place where one cannot have with them some semblance of civility and domesticity. The race’s natural indulgences have led them to be quite inventive and efficient in the means by which they keep the long hard road ahead of them a comfortable one.

Halfling tricks and items for D&D

Buckleby Tuft’s Balms and Salves

Renowned for his travelling menagerie and curative mixtures, Buckleby Tuft has collected his most successful concoctions into ready made packages which he sells to local merchants to keep in their shops. These mixtures have been proven to relieve the effects of aches, pains, and the effects of many forms of disease and poison. Each kit contains enough for five applications and provides a nonmagical method of neutralizing poison and curing disease. As an action you can expend one of the applications to cure a creature of one disease or neutralize one poison. Each kit also includes a container of Buckleby Tuft’s Famous Foot Salve.

Burglar’s scarf

Named for a common occupation for halflings, these scarves are comfortable, stylish scarves made in the same way as any ordinary scarf save for the inclusion of a set of pockets at either end. These pockets can be used to tuck away any number of small items such as snacks, pipe weed, matches, or as the accessory’s name might imply, thieves’ tools.

Camp stove

D&D halfling
A halfling as seen in the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Basic Rules. I like this depiction a lot, small feet and all! [Image courtesy Wizards of the Coast]
Portable stoves are not unheard of, but they are quite common among the well-equipped (over-equipped some would say) halfling traveler. Taking the form of a kettle-shaped burner with a flat plate on top and a chimney tube made of rolled metal or treated leather, these stoves allow simple and convenient warming and cooking in a much more controlled and confined space than an open campfire. Requiring a good amount of setup (15 minutes) they can burn any fuel but are often better served by coal, charcoal or prepared pellets made of compressed wood shaving bound together with tree sap. They can be operated in the open without a chimney but will require one if used inside a tent. These stoves are very heavy and weight about 50 lbs. [NERDITOR’S NOTE: Part of an over-equipped halfling traveler’s must-haves includes strong companions to haul this and other reminders of home.]

Cook pot helmet

What is often thought of as a joke among other races, the halflings have actually perfected a proper cooking pot that serves as a sturdy helmet. Not much different than a regular helmet, the main difference is in the arrangement of the attachments for the chin straps, which are able to be removed so a simple chain, often worn as adornment, can be attached so the pot can be suspended over a cooking fire. Other improvements include the use of a liner that not only provides creature comforts but also keeps the interior of the pot clean. The short length of chain include with the helmet also has many secondary, utilitarian uses.

Dry soap

Cleanliness is next to homeliness. To be clean is to be comfortable but it is not always wise or possible to expend water to clean oneself with a proper bath. To this end, halflings have invented a number of dry bathing powders, often sold in tins with colorful characters and mascots on the boxes. Favorite brands include Uncle Nobbin’s, Dizzy Badger and the ever-popular Maiden Fair. In fact there is quite the hobby in collecting dry soap tins. Dry soaps require no water to make the halfling clean. Simply apply the powder to the area and then pat and scrape it off (scraper usually included). These soaps, intended for use in the wilderness, are usually odorless but there are some brands like Jinny Blossom with very distinct floral scents and sometimes musk.

Fillable bedrolls

While some may be content with sleeping upon a simple blanket, these bedrolls are designed to be filled with available materials such as leaves, pine branches, even grass or moss, creating a more comfortable and contained sleeping area. A draw string at one end can be tied to make sure the stuffing is secure and will shift minimally while the halfling sleeps. It is not uncommon for these bedrolls to be made of finer cloth than the average bedroll and while they maintain their ruggedness, they are often pleasantly patterned like the upholstery of a nice bed or sitting room. The stuffing can easily be shaken out in a hurry.

Folding frame packs

Designed with a number of uses in mind, these packs are very similar to an ordinary frame pack except that the pack frame has been equipped with swivels and pivots that, while locked in place when being used as a pack, may be unlocked and adjusted so the frame takes on other shapes. Uses for these packs include cooking racks, a stool, even a convenient carrying basket for foraging. Some even include additional frame rails that can slide along one another, extending the overall length of the frame so it can be made into a cot frame or emergency stretcher. Reconfiguring the frame takes 10 minutes.

Framed wall tent, two-person

Not exclusive to halflings but essential to the comfort of a halfling in the wilderness. These tents take longer to set up, are heavier and more difficult to transport, but they provide a space more like a home than a tent. Tall enough for a halfling to stand in and with walls at a 90 degree angle from the ground, they allow plenty of space for setting up one’s creature comforts. Some more advanced versions even have framing for swinging doors and window cut-outs. These tents are equipped with built in, weatherproofed flaps to accommodate field stoves. Framed walled tents weight about 150 lbs and cost 20 gp, generally requiring a cart, pony or mule to carry them.

Grain chafe warmers 

Simple pouches made from fine flannels, they are filled with the hulls of the various grains grown by halflings. When set next to the fire, the filling inside the pouches absorbs and retains the heat for a good amount of time. While the heat is not enough to protect one from the cold, it can aid in comfort or be placed in pockets, jackets and boots to keep from freezing entirely. They are often used to warm bedding or to sooth feet after a long day’s walk.

Grimblegood’s Guide to The Luxurious Wild

Grimblegood Marrysole is renowned for two things. The first is for being devoured by a manticore while out on a spring hike and the second is the publication of his masterpiece on the creature comforts to be found while travelling. Considered an almost sacred text for halflings with a wanderlust, the book is a combination of naturalist’s guide, cook book and crafting manual all with the intent of making a halfling’s travels into the word a bit safer, more comfortable, and livable.

The book details many common wilderness dangers for a temperate region, discussing everything from harmful animals and plants to monstrous threats. Most of these entries also include notes on which of these dangers are edible and the best way to prepare them, though the text is quite civilized and does not discuss such things in regard to intelligent creatures. Subsequent chapters go into detail on less threatening wilderness folk and fauna. One notable chapter includes extensive lists for foraging including all manner of wild game, vegetables, fruits, fungi and even such odd things as mosses, lichens, sea weeds and the like. There is also a chapter on treating wilderness ailments and what medicines can be found in the wild. The last chapter of the book is a section on how to craft the creature comforts of home from the wilderness around you. Entries on bedding, shelter, and even wilderness decor are included, all intended to make the travelling halfling all the more at home in whatever hole they may be sheltered in. The end of every copy of this guide is a dozen or so blank pages marked “notes” where the halfling can personalize it or add his own findings. There is also an address to which such discoveries, findings, and even updates or corrections to the text can be sent so that those maintaining the guide can update future printings.

Any who possesses a copy of Grimblegood’s Guide will make all Intelligence (Nature) and Wisdom (Medicine) checks at advantage. In addition, the book can be used to gain advantage to rolls made with other tool kits (at the Dungeon Master’s discretion). Copies of this book are rare outside of halfling settlements and uncommon even there. They are often prized heirlooms among the families that do keep them.

Hooded pipe

There are times when the weather or even dangers of the road might make the enjoyment of a pipe a difficult or unwise indulgence. There are times, however, when one can use a good smoke. The hooded pipe is like a normal pipe in every way except it has a hinged hood of lacquered wood or metal that shields the bowl. The hood can be opened for the loading and cleaning of the pipe but once closed it hides the glow from burning pipe weed and vents smoke in such a way that it is less obviously that of a pipe and more easily taken as mist. The pipe does nothing to hide the scent of pipe weed but at a distance it can allow a nervous halfling to enjoy a calming pipe while remaining undetected by sight.

Programmable music box

Nothing warms the heart like the family songs of home and while many halflings are more than happy to belt out their favorite tavern songs and party hymns, there are times when a softer, more subtle tone is desired. Using punched strips of thick parchment or paper, halflings have learned to record simple but endearing tunes in such a way that a simple crank mechanism and some tuned metal tines can produce music. Contained within a charming lacquered wooden box with a crank handle attached, a halfling need only load one of these music scrolls into the spools within and begin cranking out a dulcet little melody. Changing the scroll takes 5 minutes. Individual music scrolls are easily stored in waterproof tubes about the size of a vial, allowing a halfling to carry a number of tunes from home with them wherever they may go.

Quick load pipe sachets

Travelling can make it difficult to load a proper pipe. Whether it is the jostling of a pony, the bobbing of a raft as it goes down the river, or merely the inconvenience of fumbling with one’s pouch and pipe while managing the rest of one’s travelling gear, these handy premeasured packets of pipe weed are the answer. Wrapped in a special paper that burns clean, the smoker need only to place a sachet in their pipe and light the paper. The sachets, similar to those one might put aromatic spices and herbs into, also make lighting the pipe easier while on the go. In a pinch, these sachets also make fine fire-starters though at the expense of some tears for the loss of such fine smokables.

Sack pillows

Similar in nature to the fillable bedroll, the halflings have managed to turn the utility of a travel sack into an opportunity for additional creature comforts. Sacks used for carrying camp supplies are made with rugged, homespun material that can be stuffed with available materials to be used as comfortable pillows for one’s head. The stuffing can easily be shaken out in a hurry.

Soup starters

While such a simple thing seems to have been completely taken for granted by other folk, halflings have not been willing to ignore the ease and benefit of keeping with them a few portable but essential components for turning any road meal into something to be savored. Simple pouches of dried fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, these can be added to more rustic fair to brighten the flavor and enhance the meal. Some halflings have been known to include bits of dried meat and stock as well. The use of soup starters has the added benefit of making rests more pleasant. A short rest including a meal enhanced by these special family secrets will heal 2 additional hit points per party member, lifting the spirit and helping to sooth away the weariness of the road.

Tabletop shield

The addition of special brackets on the back of the shield allow it to be turned into a handy table either with premade legs stored in a pack, a folding pack frame, or even collected sticks. The shield works as a normal shield but can be set up as a table with 5 minutes of preparation (with available legs).

Traveler’s friend

Designed to keep all the essential implements at hand, the traveler’s friend is a spoon, knife, fork, pipe pick, tooth pick, comb, and sewing kit all on a neat leather ring that loops around a strap or belt, or can be placed in a satchel, pack, or large pocket. It is fastened with a catch designed to not easily undo itself through the movements of the road. When an implement is needed, it may either be used while on the ring or taken often to be used in sets (such as cutlery). The implements on the ring are leather-bound or even set in shrunken hide sheaths to minimize metallic clatter. Implements that can be made of wood usually are, though there are hide covers that an be fitted over the useful ends of metal implements. Beside the common items found on a traveler’s friend, other items such as fire starters, keys, lock picks, looking glasses, fishing lures, spools of twine, and even backup pipes can be found on a halfling’s personalized arrangement. Many of these kits have been handed down through the generations with each subsequent owner adding his own bits of kit to them. Knowing one is using the same traveler’s friend as their great grandparent provides a certain soothing to a homesick halfling.

Traveler’s tea set

A long hike is no reason to miss out on afternoon tea. Usually found in sets with matching decoration, a traveler’s tea set includes a rugged stoneware kettle just big enough for a few cups of tea, two lacquered wood cups, a small box for sugar or other dried sweeteners, a compartmentalized tin for several types of tea, and a small wooden vial for honey. Milk may be included in the form of dry powdered milk, often kept tucked into the tin with the tea leaves. The set also includes two small boxes for keeping the halfling’s personalized touches such as a favored biscuit or after tea pipe weed.

Upholstered leather armor

Any halfling worth their old gammer’s secret recipe will tell you there is no need to look like the road while one is on it. With the number of halflings venturing beyond the creature comforts of their homes, the tailors of their kind have taken to working with local leather workers to make suits of leather armor that keep a halfling looking as comfortable as home while still maintaining some protection. Not as effective as more utilitarian leather armor, these suits of armor have a layer of fine fabric stitched over all the major surfaces and often have added artistry put into the lacing and binding of the leather pieces. Added pockets where a jacket might normally have them add to the utility and comfort of the armor. The result is a suit of armor that looks more like picnic or recreational hiking garb than armor. Due to the increased emphasis on style and comfort, upholstered leather armor provides the same benefits as leather armor, but costs twice as much. A DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check is required to see that it is armor and not a heavy traveller’s jacket.

Conclusion

There is certainly no end to the lengths a halfling will go to help maintain their standard of living while away from home. For some it is simply as easy as a cameo of loved ones and a sturdy pouch full of their favorite pipe weed. For others only a warm cloak and a full belly is all that is needed, but when it comes to the pursuit of true comfort, the items above and many more like them are available to the halfling with coin, and strong friends to haul these creature comforts.

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Follow Eli Arndt:
RPGs , DM for decades, miniatures sculptor and enthusiast, father to gaming children, husband to a gaming wife. The name Elf Bait comes from a running gag carried on since high school where my friends and I joked that our creative ideas were being stolen by tiny little elves that took our ideas to the powers that be. Over the decades this has become something of a badge of pride, knowing that we had ideas that were not only cool to us but deemed cool enough by professionals (not that we think they really took our ideas) for commercial use.

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