The ghostwise halflings are different from the others. They are raised further away from common halfling communities, in rougher and less fertile parts of the west, scattered across Malkor. Cursed since time immemorial, the descendants of the trickster Caidan the Free reap the terrible crop of his misdeeds. They live in a state of half-undeath, partially incorporeal and see-through, forever stuck in an eeriee limbo. Their lifespan is no longer than arpund 60 years on average, due to their constant dissipation as life goes on.
Though the Ghostwise are by no means hostile to strangers, their peculiar condition has caused their communities to be estranged by the rest of the halfling population, relegating them to the northwestern lands known these days as Vaettrheim. Many strange and twisted stories are told of this peaceful and secluded people, and trade is a very rare and scarce happenstance in their lands. Overall, they are starved
A few centuries back a small town called Ghosthaven discovered a kind of mushroom they call the Luridum Boletus, a mushroom with properties not at all unlike the Ghostwise own, a source of food much more nutritious and functional for them. The constant consumption of the mushrooms even extends their lives; Should a Ghostwise consume a Luridum daily, they can reach a point of looking identical to normal halflings. Unfortunately, Luridum struggles greatly to grow on Malkor's surface, and as a result is a food that is extremely expensive and coveted by the Ghostwise.
The names of Ghostwise halflings are older, not names that have been heard throughout the Hills for many years.
Major language groups and dialects
Ghostwise speak an ancient dialect of halfling.
Common Customs, traditions and rituals
Ghostwise hold their own Festival of the Dead annually, and is often the only time that many Ghostwise tribes celebrate something together. Even the ancestors get a share of the festivities, and often Ghostly Theatrics is a very coveted source of entertainment.
Birth & Baptismal Rites
The Ghostwise rite of birth involves entering a specially constructed burrow, which is an extremely simple, small cave, lit up only by one candle.
Here, a couple of priests will pray to the ancestors while the mother gives birth, in the hopes that the ancestors will bless the coming child. Not being born through the rite is considered equivalent of a curse, and the Ghostwise pity other races for this.
Coming of Age Rites
When a halfling reaches adulthood in these communities, they must undergo a rite and attempt to communicate with the ancestors. The point isn't necessarily to succesfully summon a ghost, but rather to feel that you have been blessed by the ancestors to be admitted into adulthood. If the individual cannot perform magic, a priest will often assist.
Funerary and Memorial customs
The spirits of deceased Ghostwise will inhabit Ancestor Stones, and each clan, family, or village have their own troves of Ancestor Stones. Ghostwise bind themselves to an Ancestor Stone so that their spirit becomes encapsulated within that stone when they die, and they carry the stone with them until their last breath.
Often, Ghostwise consider things to be more beautiful the older they are.
The halflings that call themselves Ghostwise, often consider giving something ancestral or heavily tied to one's own family an ultimate gift to someone one loves. It's a tradition to exchange special trinkets upon a marriage between two Ghostwise.