|Halflings of Andurin
Behind humans, halflings are the second most populous race on Andurin. There are four sub-races of halfling on Andurin. Each shares the same general tendencies and outlooks with some minor differences. The three sub-races are Shirefolk, Tallfolk, Hoarfeet and Greenwood (wild) halflings.
Hoarfeet are considered by sages and scholars to be the "mother" stock of halfling. While all halflings are noted by their seemingly disproportionate hairy feet and legs, Hoarfeet have the thickest and curliest hair and are the shortest of the four sub-races. They tend to have the roundest and ruddiest faces.
Shirefolk are said to be of mixed dwarven heritage somewhere along the line and some of them even have limited low-light vision. They are slightly taller and broader than hoarfeet and have the most human-like faces of the four types. The shirefolk have the closest connection to the earth and tend to exhibit an intense dislike of the sea.
Tallfolk are said to be of mixed elven heritage and some are giants among halflings, reaching heights of almost four feet and sometimes even taller. They are thinner and have an almost elven look to their face. Some tallkin even have slender ears that give the illusion of coming to a point.
Greenwood, or wild halflings are said to be descended from green elves and tallfolk halfling stock. Greenwood halflings share similar physical characteristics to their forest elven brethren. In many circumstances, it is almost impossible to distinguish between a forest elf and a wild halfling, as some view greenwood halflings as quite short versions of forest elves.
Halflings are almost as widely spread a race as humans and are nearly as adaptable. They can be found in small towns populated by only halflings from as far east as the Jade Isles to as far west as the Cinder Lands on the easternmost shores of Naranduil, as far north as the Salt Wastes of north-central Silmataurea and even in the Sunless Lands (although rarely). There is a saying amongst humanfolk, that whereever a human can live, chances are that a halfling might have a better stab at making it more liveable and homely.
A typical halfling settlement consists of a village of burrows built partially into the ground, often among the roots of huge trees or within hillsides. All four sub-races can be found in homes and constructions like this. Sometimes tallfolk build actual houses or are found living in houses constructed in and among the bower or boughs of trees, but this is rare and other halffolk find it strange.
Human culture and society has had a great impact on many halfling communities and in some major cities, like Tolmara, Whytecoin, Mel Nethra, Verith and others, there can be found halfling ghettoes. These halflings live in poverty, unable to make a decent living in a human dominated society, but far removed from their traditional halfling way of life. These halflings do not have the strength and resources to compete with humans and so have fallen back on their natural stealth to pilfer a living or if more honest, than they subsist on odd jobs. Often, halffolk can be found as cheap labor in large cities.
Occasionally, halflings are found living among dwarves or elves (shirefolk and tallfolk respectively). In these situations, they are treated as equals.
Halfling Culture and Society
The basis of halfling culture is comfort. Halflings go to great trouble to build and maintain their homes in order to meet their desires of everyday comfort. No matter what his economic position, every halfling will make sure he owns the best bed he can and a good chair, and probably a pipe for smoking.
Smoking is said to have been invented by halfkin and they are some of the best pipeweed growers in Andurin. They take great pride in the quality of their weed and in the pipes they carve and collect and often pass down through the generations.
Food is a very important part of this ideal of comfort. Halfkin love to eat. They love food of all kinds (though shirefolk tend to disdain fish) and often have at least six meals a day and sometimes ten on holidays. Each of these meals has a minimum of three courses and is followed by either wine or tea, two great loves among halffolk.
Perhaps the most important part of halfling culture is their great emphasis on geneaology and even the most studied sage has dozed off in the face of the hours long discussion of who is cousins with who (based on a ten or twelve generation family tree) that halflings like to entertain themselves with. This emphasis on family history leads to a great love of story-telling. No recounting of a family tree is complete without at least three or four (if not five or six) deviations into tales that can be as mundane as how Uncle Bertal grew the best crop of strawberries in the four hundred and thirty-second year of the Fourth Age, to the fantastic story of how a party of wandering star elves enchanted a shorttusk sword for the village and entrusted it to Misty Merrowbean in order that she might use it to defeat the ravaging wereboar of Tranthwood.
One of the best known and least understood practices of halflings is the giving of gifts to friends and family on their own birthdays. It is considered a celebration of life to give gifts to commemorate your birth and give thanks for the privilege to exist and make life better for those around you. Gifts are typically small and inexpensive, but wealthy halfkin have been known to throw parties for their entire town or village and give each citizen a gift. It is considered rude by halfkin to invite someone to your birthday party and not have a gift for them.
Traditionally, halfkin live outside the influence of the rest of the world. They keep to their own business and try to avoid the interference of any outsiders, even other halfkin (though a visiting halfling is often brought to the hall of records to see if he is related to anyone in town). Often a relation is invented if none can be found.
In order to keep this isolationist attitude, but still be able to protect themselves from the dangers of the world (such as worgs, goblins, orcs and the like), halflings practice often with their short bows and make great contest of archery. They also excel at thrown weapons such as slings and darts. It is said that halfkin invented the game of horseshoes after a shipment of the things arrived in a halfling village, which of course had no use for them, for halffolk do not ride horses (usually).
Halfling Government and Politics
Various halfling communities have different ways of ruling themselves. They are a democratic people, who tend not to like inherited positions of power, despite their love of genealogy. Often a halfling community has a Mayor or High Sheriff who leads the people in name. He is often nothing more than an arbiter or disputes and an organizer in times of peril in defense of the community. These positions are often determined by a general vote or by appointment by village elders. Some halfling communities are led by priestesses of Yondalla.
Of the "major" races of Andurin, halflings are the rarest adventurers. The halting ideal of comfort and ease does not go well with the adventuring lifestyle of danger and hardship. Halflings that do become adventurers are looked upon by other halflings with mix of awe and disgust. There is a contradiction in the fact that many of the most popular stories among halflings include those about halffolk travelers and adventurers of old, but at any given point modern adventurers are considered misguided renegades.
In urban areas, most halfling adventurers are thieves that ply their trade on the streets of human cities or cities with mixed races. The size and dexterity of halflings is very useful in the thieving arts. In more traditional halfkin environments, they tend to be warriors who act as guides and scouts for the big folk. The halfling penchant for archery and thrown weapons makes them very dangerous in long-range combat and for that reason they are often hold well-respected places in the ranks of other warriors. In times of war, halfling archery units have been known to volunteer or be sought out by local human or elven lords.
There is only one halfling god, a goddess actually, who while has many guises and facets, is accepted by all the halfling people to be the only halfling divine being. Some halflings may give prayers or even follow the gods of other races, but they know there is one halfling goddess who serves all purposes for the halfling race. A common halfling response who generally enjoy all other things in abundance to the question of their number of gods is, "what do you need more than one god for?" Non-halflings often believe that there is more than one halfling god, because tales of this goddess often refer to her as different aspects with different names and traits - though halfkin recognize all those to be the same god.
Yondalla ("The Great Mother")
LG hoarfoot halfling Aspect of Solnor
Yondalla's ideas of law and good are very strong, but not strong enough to ever make her despise any halfling that follows an evil path. Rather will she try to urge such a soul back to return to the true path of law. She appears as a female shirefolk halfling wearing a shield with the symbol of a "horn of plenty". There is no known place where Yondalla is not revered among halflings, but there seems to be no place outside halfling society where people follow her path.
Yondalla is said to be the arch-mother of all halflings. She protects them with virtue and gives the halflings very fruitful crops. She does not ward against other races, but urges halflings to steer clear of the pitfall of taking over the culture of other races. Yondalla's temples never stand out, as they are typically are semi burrows and more then half will be found below ground level. The upper half has of course some round windows, but otherwise is covered in grass. Often these temples have at least one grand hall, but they also feature a kitchen. This is because often the grand hall is used to host a feast in the honor of Yondalla. As anyone knows, parties in halfling lands need to include lavish meals.
Clerics of Yondalla lead ceremonies that have to do with everyday life, but also services in the honor of Yondalla. They are strongly opposed to thievery as they see this as a too-liberal interpretation of the fact that Yondalla teaches everybody to grab every opportunity. Besides that, clerics are often involved in setting up security for the community and planning expeditions to other regions. However these expeditions are rather rare. Clerics have a responsibility to lead a ceremony in the honor of Yondalla at least every month, as of the time they reach third level.
Clerics of Yondalla have access to their choice of three of the following domains: Good, Healing, Law, Protection and Warding.
Halflings do not have a unified idea of racial history, like dwarves or elves do. The closest thing to this idea are the stories of their gods. Otherwise, each halfling community keeps track of its own individual history, each family looking at it from the point of view of what their part in it was. Some communities can trace their history all the way back to the founding of their village, to others this information is lost. Halflings that live in urban settings tend to identify with the history of the nation they now live in. The origin of halflings as a race is a much disputed topic among sages, though it is agreed that they came to be sometime in the First Age. The disputes regard where they were first located and when they first made contact with other races.
Halflings & Other Races
Halflings get along splendidly with gnomes. They are the only other good race that matches them in height and since halflings have a natural distrust of the big folk, gnomes are welcomed. On the other hand, halfkin can sometimes get annoyed at the constant tricks and jokes of gnomes and do not drink as much as their big-nosed cousins. Halflings can get along well with dwarves, too. Different groups of halffolk tend to categorize dwarves differently; Some consider dwarves part of the big folk and others do not. Halflings can admire the dwarven work ethic, but cannot understand why dwarves would work for the sake of working when working is an obvious tool by which to bring yourself more comfort and luxury in the long run. The constant dour and serious nature of dwarves can also depress halflings, especially the hoarfoots.
Historically, elves have protected and watched over halflings more than any other race and the halfling settlements in Naranduil are considered by many to be the oldest in all of Andurin. But elves are still big folk and have a tendency to look at halflings as children who need guidance and protection and halfkin resent that greatly. They appreciate help from friends, but do not like to be condescended to, or to be told that they cannot take care of themselves. In addition, elves are often considered flighty by halflings. They cannot be relied upon to understand the importance of having plenty to eat and saving up to buy the finest set of porcelain cups and saucers for tea.
Halflings’ relationships with humans are as varied as humans themselves. Halflings are wary of humans because while some are kind, others take the size of a halfling as an excuse to treat them with excessive cruelty. Some humans just view halflings as little humans and this angers halflings who take pride in their deserved distinction from other races. Halflings have been able to avoid the racial hatreds that other demi-humans have for the humanoid races by their peaceful nature. Halfling communities have remained so well-hidden (and sometimes secretly protected by neighboring dwarves or elves) that races like ores and goblins have not had a chance to often raze halfling village, and thus raise the anger of the entire race, as kobolds have done to gnomes or goblins to dwarves.
Halflings most often speak common even among themselves. In places where they live among other races they often speak that language as well. There is a halfkin spoken language, but its use has become so rare, even few halflings speak it. As far as anyone knows there has never been a halfling written language, as halffolk have a very oral tradition for stories and history. Halflings always write in common using the letters derived from elvish script as most humans do. On occasion one might find shirefolk using a variation of the dwarven runic script.
There are four sub-races of this reclusive and diminutive race, but they see themselves as all one race no matter what branch an individual is from. The four branches are hoarfoot, tallfolk, wildfolk and shirefolk. All halflings have large hairy feet, with thick soles which they prefer to walk on than wear shoes. They have child-like round faces. Hoarfeet are often considered the original race of halflings. Ranging in height from 3 to 3½ feet, they are noted by their pot-bellies.
Tallfolk and wildfolk are thought to have been mixed with elven blood. Sometimes reaching towering heights of four feet, they are also notably thinner than hoarfeet , and some even have slightly pointed ears. Shirefolk are thought to have been mixed with dwarven blood. They have the same range of height as hoarfeet, but are, well, stouter and broader, and their faces are little less childlike, to the extent of even be able to grow a beard. All the halfling sub-races are extremely reclusive, preferring comfort and safety to adventure or riches. They are very rarely encountered as adventurers and if so usually due to circumstances beyond their control. Halflings love a big meal and a warm hearth.
Halfling Racial Traits:
- +2 Dexterity, -2 Strength. (for shirefolk, +2 Constitution, -2 Strength). Halflings are agile, but small and weak. Shirefolk are legendarily rugged, but still do not have physical power.
- Halfling base speed is 20 feet (4 boxes).
- Small: All sub-races of halfling are small-sized. They gain a +1 size bonus to armor class and attack rolls. They also gain +4 size bonus to all Hide checks. However, they only have three-quarters the carrying and lifting capacities of medium-sized characters, and must use smaller weapons.
- Shirefolk halflings have Low-Light Vision. They can see twice as far as humans in moonlight, torchlight, starlight and similar conditions of poor visibility.
- All halflings gain a +2 racial bonus to Move Silently checks.
- All halflings have a +2 racial bonus to all saving throws against poison.
- All halflings have a +2 racial bonus to all saving throws against spells and spell-like effects.
- Halflings are restricted from becoming wizards, sorcerers and channelers. They may, under special circumstances, become members of such a class but the instances of such an occasion are rare to say the least.
- Tallfolk halflings begin with proficiency in shortbow no matter what their class.
- Hoarfoot halflings gain a +1 racial bonus with thrown weapons and slings.
- Halflings do not have a commonly used spoken language, but begin with two free ranks in the common tongue.
- Favored Class: Rogue
- Allowed Classes: Barbarian, Bard, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Priest, Psionicist, Rogue.
- Starting Age: 22 + 2d6 years
- Height: 2’ 8" + 2d4 inches (average 3’ 1") Note: For Tallfellows is should be 3’ 1" + 2d6 inches.
- Weight: 30 lbs. + what was rolled on the 2d4 (or 2d6 for tallfellows) above for height multiplied by 1d3 (average: 42 lbs.).