The Halfling Burglar provides the backbone for any adventuring party. As a support role, halflings make an adventurer's life easier, and experienced players appreciate a burglar in the mix.

New players often overlook the halfling. However, if played well, the burglar is one of the most versatile classes in the game.


Gerald is everyone's favorite tabor-beating, jig-swinging iconic sample burglar (Torchbearer, page 173). Born of Per and Lara in a busy crossroads town, Gerald is quick-witted and can even speak the kobold tongue because of his kobold-wise. So, keep that in mind if you try to engage kobolds in their weakness: a Trick or Convince conflict. The unlikely Gerald might (i.e., most certainly will) save the day!

For level benefits in our Balanced Party Build, we chose:

  • Abstemious
  • Skirmisher
  • Plucky
  • Helpful

During advanced character creation for higher level characters, we burned a nature point to pick up the Laborer skill to provide help and also to carry even more sacks of loot out of the dungeon.

As far as gear goes, he is pretty well-equipped except for needing to purchase a helmet at 3rd level. At 5th level, Gerald finds a pair of Burglar's Gloves which punctuates his skill focus while simultaneously accessorizing his fashionable attire.

Cooking and Cook Supplies

Because the burglar is an excellent cook, you have the option to travel lighter with fewer rations. One fresh ration can make a meal that feeds an entire party. Or, the halfling can extend that fresh ration and turn it into a bunch of preserved rations to store in a secure camp for use later.

A cook's skill supplies might also aid roleplaying. Skill supplies are not written down in the inventory slots on your sheet, but if the characters have a skill, they have the necessary equipment. That means the halfling carries around a pot, a spoon, and various seasonings you can incorporate into your narrative descriptions. Although these items don't provide any mechanical bonus like actual gear, they could lead to a Good Idea or trigger a wise from another character in your group. More so, skill supplies are tools to help you paint a picture in the scene and make the game more fun. Rather than someone saying, "I help the Cook with my Laborer skill" (which a GM should not allow and ask for more description), the laborer might work in a skill supply such as, "I'll borrow the halfling's spoon and take over stirring the stew…"

You're Gonna Want Some Cheese

The Torchbearer blog post It's Dangerous to Go Alone! Take This. introduces a new item: the Wheel of Cheese. Cheese wheels offer flexibility because they can be served as rations or as cooking supplies. The first time the wheel is used as food, roll 2d6 to determine the number of rations it yields. It could pay off big.


Hidden Depths is a racial trait that allows halflings to bear up against pain, fatigue, or despair. It enables halflings to tap into reserves that other races cannot often attain. Given the life of the adventurer, this trait almost always comes into play.

For level benefits, consider taking abstemious and later plucky. You can create a combo where abstemious replaces Hungry for Angry (to save some food), but then Plucky allows you to keep using your Hidden Depths trait despite your condition. Also, if you run out of food, abstemious can buy you a few more turns on the grind to avoid getting the exhausted condition.

If you plan on going this route, try to level up Hidden Depths so you can use it twice per session. To achieve a 2nd level trait, the other players get to pick your trait during Winter phase (Winter Tales, page 101), but their decision is based off how you played during the last three adventures. They need to agree that you have been pushing the limits of what you can bear. Increase your chances the other players might pick up on this by using hidden depths a lot and roleplaying it well.


The Needs a Little Salt-Wise is one of those very strong but often misused wises. To use a wise, the subject of the character's experience must already be in play. That means there needs to be something previously mentioned regarding salt. This wise can often be used to make meals (toss some salt into the stew) or preserve rations (salt-cured meat), and, if the character has some persona points to spend, practically guarantees a successful Cook test.

Players often overuse wises and try to beg the GM for re-rolls, and Needs a Little Salt has undoubtedly been abused. However, a GM may allow a wise in rare, unconventional situations. For example, say a halfling was engaged in a conversation the GM described as "salty" and failed a persuader test. The halfling could now make a cooking metaphor, spend a persona point to use Of Course!, and then point out his mistakes to correct the Persuader test. "Oh, of course, perhaps I was a little too salty..."

There is a very fine line for the appropriateness of a wise. The rulebook prohibits overreaching or trying to force a reference into the situation.

Secret Nature

Another incredible facet of the halfling is the merrymaking ability (Secret Nature, page 119). It is possible, through a great, exuberant celebration, that the halfling can cheer up the group and alleviate hungry, angry, or afraid. The factors are up to the GM, but as a guideline, take the normal recovery obstacle and add one factor for a few characters or maybe two factors for a large party. For example, to remove Angry from three characters, the halfling would test Nature Ob 3 (Will Ob 2 plus one for a small group of characters). Now, the significant requirement is that there needs to be a PAR-TAY! There needs to be food, or dancing, or jokes, or drinking, or perhaps some elven songs (but not the dour, bummer, melancholy kind they are so fond of!).


Sneaking is a topic unto itself, needless to say, halflings are great at sneaking around. If burglars can find an Elven Cloak (Torchbearer, page 146), they get a +1D on top of their already incredible sneaking nature. Save those persona points to add your nature to your sneak rolls.

Character Sheet Repo

Gerald is a part of our balanced party build in the character sheet repository we are building out. You can now download sample sheets for Gerald levels 1 - 5.

Some people believe Torchbearer is all darkness and misery. The burglar is here to show you otherwise. So, light a candle, sing a song, and drum the tabor!

Grind on,


Further Reading


Topics: Mordite Mondays, Iconics, Torchbearer, TB Insights