Gygax Hated Hobbits

This entry is part 6 of 18 in the series New Schooler Reads OD&D

From Men and Magic:

Dwarves: Dwarves may opt only for the fighting class, and they may never progress beyond the 6th level (Myrmidon)…

Elves: Elves can begin as either Fighting-Men or Magic-Users and freely switch class whenever they choose…

Hobbits: Should any player wish to be one, he will be limited to the Fighting-Man class as a hobbit.


From Men and Magic, page 33:

Raise Dead: The Cleric simply points his finger, utters the incantation, and the dead person is raised. This spell works with men, elves, and dwarves only.


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9 Responses to “Gygax Hated Hobbits”

  1. Jan says:

    Lol, great quote.

  2. Gilmoure says:

    Who doesn’t?

    Seriously though, who hasn’t had fun playing a backstabbing boggie with a penchant for knives and pears with string?

  3. Jack Colby says:

    I’ve thought about rewriting the rules so it says “should any player wish to be one” about wizards, then screw them over too. I like them as villains/npcs. :)

  4. Mystic Scholar says:

    Well, I always thought Frodo was LUCKY, not heroic.

    I’ve never minded NPC Hobbits, thought the thought of ever playing one has never even crossed my mind.

  5. 1d30 says:

    Gandalf basically said we’d rather have a Hero or Warrior, or really anything but a Hobbit, but a Hobbit is what I chose so deal with it.

    Despite the latest movie, I always envisioned the 13 Dwarves as all 1st level. Bilbo reaches 4th or so, or perhaps he’s just the one to reach level 2 during the book, reflected in the Dwarves’ growing appreciation of him and the shift from Gandalf solving all their problems to Bilbo doing it, starting at the edge of Mirkwood.

    As far as I can tell, Bilbo was 1st level too until he got the Ring, and the treasure XP from it shot him up a level or three. That plus invisibility let him do all his Mirkwood and beyond deeds.

    Here’s my take on D&D’s level limits though: you don’t miss out on so much as you think if you stop at F6 as a Dwarf. The Hobbit limit is harsh though. And Gygax probably set the limits based on how high level his players were getting at first. As editions rolled on, and people were assumed to reach higher level during play, level limits were expanded and eventually removed because they weren’t effective penalties using those level numbers.

  6. Michael (Gronan) Mornard says:

    …is there anybody who DIDN’T know Gary hated Hobbits?

    “Hey, Gary, have you read Lord of the Rings?”


    Direct quote.

  7. paul says:

    I thought that leaving them out of Raise Dead was particularly funny.

  8. […] are in a weird position in D&D: they're one of the original four races (although Gygax didn't like them very much). Therefore, they're much more common in most D&D worlds than hobbits are in Middle Earth. […]

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