Well however one feels about the art of late, one thing it continues to illustrate pretty clearly (and which you also stressed in opening pages) is that Larian's Halflings are way too tall.

Thumbing through the old tomes, I just wanted to show what was probably one of the smaller depictions from the AD&D era. From Easley's "Dungeon Horde" a slightly desaturated version of which was used as the cover for "The Dungeoneer's Survival Guide" in 1986. It was a clutch text at the time, especially for introducing several non-weapons proficiencies and skills to the game and for providing details on how to map cavernous dungeons in 3 dimensions, among other things. But I just wanted to show the cover...

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

There among all the mini-minions, who look like they'd be giving Stephen Dorff nightmares a year later in the hollywood film "The Gate" hehe, is that little guy brandishing the dagger and hanging on for dear life at knee height. I mean he's small!

Even with some allowances for foreshortening, he's not even waist high. That dude could definitely run between the legs of a medium sized Human standing at 2 meters. Sure he's got the squat proportions and the somewhat larger skull, but there's no confusion about who has the bigger head between him and the Human. He's also stacked! I mean he's practically sporting Halsin guns there. Look at that definition in the shoulders. Not that this is the Apex of Halfling images per se, but I think it gives a really cool sense of scale, and shows how a Halfling has a much smaller read than say a Dwarf. I mean the difference between 1 meter tall (or shorter) and 1.5 meters tall is pretty considerable.

Landing a cool Halfling image was always a challenge, and I still find most of the newer official artwork kind of disappointing to be honest, but I'm a little harsh. The first generation of digital painting which formed the basis for post 3e artwork always grated a bit when presented next to work done in traditional media at the time. A lot of things made it into the books and even onto covers which felt more like WIPs to me. They used to do the same sort of stuff in first and second edition AD&D, but generally for the smaller inserts they'd go with a pen and ink 2 tone style that was more graphic and bold. In the post 3e materials they started including drafts in color for the insets, like the equivalent of digital pencil sketches, or the same thing but with a color wash overlaid, or done in vignette. I think much of that artwork was pretty weak from like 2000-2010. Probably because the tools were still in their infancy, and it takes some time for the work to catch up. In the intervening decade digital painting has taken off, and now its often hard to tell whether someone is using oils or playing with pixels. We now have digital masters to choose from these days, but they're probably hoping to get paid by TOR or Magic the Gathering, rather than doing the D&D grunt work sadly. I think D&D has become the place where people cut their teeth now, but that's a digression. Main point being, they need to at least make the Halflings look like they are standing at 3 ft tall 1 meter, and right now that's not the case.

Even if they just ended up shrinking the current Halfling models by 1:2 I'd be happier with them. I don't think they'd look as cool as some of the Lidda depictions or 3e Halfling figurines, but it would be better than what we have in game currently. Just as an aside, I think some of the illustrators in the 3e period sexualized Lidda a bit overmuch. Like I recall that one illustration making the rounds, where she seemed to be taking her pants off in front of the ancient monument. That was done in rather poor taste I think, but she looked pretty badass in many of the other "action" shot illustrations. I think I'd be pretty satisfied with a compromise, where they allowed that phenotype to still exist as a Halfling subrace. Since it seems to be somewhat contentious, at least that would give a place for both renditions to coexist.

Last edited by Black_Elk; 08/10/21 04:13 AM.