Halflings & Gnomes
The halflings and gnomes were two distinct races nearly 5,000 years ago. However, millennia of intermarriage between the two races have left them indistinguishable from each other and most now simply refer to them as halflings. There are a few old families in each group who have resisted the “dilution” of their blood from this practice, but with each generation these holdouts grow fewer and fewer. Halflings tend toward business enterprises, to the point that between 50% and 60% of the trade guilds are now controlled by halfling families. As adventurers, halflings are rare. However, they can often be found sponsoring adventuring parties as business ventures. They provide them with quality starting equipment in exchange for a percentage of the profits.
Halfling SponsorsA adventuring party that lands a halfling business sponsor will receive funds and/or items up front in exchange for a percentage of all treasure obtained by the party. Given the power and influence that such business sponsors often have in local and national governments, adventuring parties who fail to fulfill their end of the bargains will usually find themselves marked as criminals and hunted by the authorities. A typical bargain for a first level party would mean that first level heroes would start with triple the normal starting gold in exchange for 20% of all the treasure the adventurers up to a certain point. For higher level adventurers, a bargain might mean gifting each hero a magic item of an appropriate power in exchange for treasure worth 10x the magic item's value on return. In addition to financial support, halfling business leaders are often great sources of information for adventurers in need. Their vast business and trade empires afford them many opportunities to gather information that others might not have access to.
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