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I mostly play Pathfinder nowadays, where Halfling Bards sing tragic ballads about the thieves and scouts who "coulda been a contender" if only they had dark- (or even low-light) vision.

I was just discussing if Halflings have had this tragic flaw since the dawn of 1st Edition, or if there have been moments in their proud(ish) history when they could more easily sneak in the dark? I seem to remember that perhaps Stout and or Tallfellow Halflings had infravision in AD&D 1e...but my memory is foggy and my books are stored far away.

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From the 1978 Ugly-Demon printing of the 1st edition AD&D Player's Handbook:

Certain halfling characters have infravision. Those with mixed blook are assumed to have infravision which functions up to 30' distant, while those of pure Stoutish blood are able to see heat radiation variation at up to 60' (normal infravision).

I don't have my 2e PHB handy, so I can't verify that this quote I got off of a shady internet source is true for 2e. It matches the 1e text, though, so it seems likely enough.

Depending on their lineage, certain halfling characters have infravision. Any halfling character has a 15% chance to have normal infravision (this means he is pure Stout), out to 60 feet; failing that chance, there is a 25% chance that he has limited infravision (mixed Stout/Tallfellow or Stout/Hairfeets lineage), effective out to 30 feet.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Checked it, the PHB 2e quote is correct. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt May 23 '14 at 5:17
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Indeed, some 1st edition AD&D halflings had infravision, depending on their stock. This is mentioned incompletely in the PHB section on Halflings as a PC race, with a citation to the Monster Manual for complete information. In brief, a Stout had 60' infravision, a mixed-blood Stout had 30' infravision, and the other stocks—Tallfellow and Hairfoot—had no infravision.

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