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Halflings

The Small Folk

If dwarfs are the carvers of stone and steel, and elves are the weavers of magic, and men are the builders of kingdoms, then halflings are the guardians of goodness in the world. Despite their short stature and mild natures, the soul of a halfling can never be corrupted, and there is enormous kindness in their little hearts. Yet, the Small Folk are prone to bouts of disillusionment. Many a halfling can grow wary or defensive after seeing their kindness taken advantage of one too many times, and they have a reputation of being melancholic. Most just yearn for a simpler life, of pleasant gardens and good food. While they are quiet and homey sorts now, many a halfling is captured by legends of ‘The Olden Days’ before the Age of Alphos, when the Small Folk bounded across hill and dale, staving off the forces of evil and undertaking grand adventures. And although they are normally meek, they have a gift for courage.

Civilization and Culture

Naming Traditions

  • Examples of male names include: Ander, Bobbert, Corrin, Dannad, Errich, Garret, Garth, Harrol, Jasper, Lindal, Merric, Milo, Nebbin, Oswalt, Perrin, Roscoe, Ulmo, and Wenner.
  • Examples of female names include: Andry, Bree, Callie, Chenna, Della, Erin, Gynnie, Lidda, Maegan, Merla, Nedda, Paela, Portia, Sara, Thea, Vanni, and Wella.

Major Organizations

Halflings live in rural communities throughout the Heartlands. Instead of lords, each halfling settlement is run by a council of matriarchs, the wisest, wealthiest, or most-storied of which is usually the leader. They are farmers and fishermen, with little grander ambition. The only halfling town of any political import is the Barony of Flusk. It is pleasant and prosperous, but in honesty, pales to the cities of humans, dwarfs, and elves.

Gender Ideals

  • Halfling society is agrarian and matriarchal; while the men went off to hunt and gather, the women stayed behind to lead the clan. But with no need to hunt and gather, the women have assumed the leadership role in halfling society.
  • The Barony of Flusk is overseen by a Council of Matriarchs, in addition to the Warden.

Major Language Groups and Dialects

  • Halflings speak Halfling, which before the Age of Man, was a totally spoken language. It is rarely written now, and uses the Common alphabet.

Culture and Cultural Heritage

  • Rather than the homeland, the most important place in halfling society is the home itself. Calm and comfort are the great halfling passions. The immediate family (spouse, parents, and children) is more important to halfling society than the extended family or clan. To an outsider, however, this makes little difference -- their families are notoriously enormous.
  • One cannot speak about the Small Folk culture without speaking of Small Folk cuisine. Each halfling family tends to specialize in making a certain food, or a certain ingredient. Halflings of high-status might be bakers, beekeepers, or vintners, instead of nobles, priests, or warriors.
  • Tribulation is an important idea within halfling-culture, owing to an unfortunate distinction: halflings are made of stronger moral stuff than other races, but are unable to physically stand up to them. They’re kinder and harder-working than the tall-folks, but are never as respected, and sometimes victimized by those who can dominate them. All halflings must contend with this sense of injustice, and most of them experience what their people call “Troubled-Years”, periods of disillusionment and cynicism during part of their adult life. Most halflings strengthen their resolve, and find themselves returning to their old beliefs soon enough. Others don’t. They become halfling society's few criminals and villains, and are referred to as "in their Tribulations" by other Small Folk. Acceptance and determination in the face of unfairness are important cultural virtues for the halflings, and the greatest among them find a way to retain the goodness inherent to their people, while taking on the toughness and cunning of the bigger races.

Common Taboos

  • The Small Folk are notoriously incorruptible; the worst crimes in their eyes are tactics of coercion, like bribery, intimidation, or manipulation. They view them as violations of their very humanity, and it may very well be the only way to a make a halfling enemy.

History

The Small Folk do not build kingdoms, make trade, or cast spells, and as a result, have little need for written language. Their history is entirely oral, and mostly composed of myths and symbolic stories. As a result, little is known of halflings before the Age of Man. Halfling elders speak of the Olden Days, which most scholars assume was during the Times of Strife. They seem to be the only race that can speak fondly of this period, but it stands to reason that their inherent goodness would have protected them from the unstable influence of the gods of evil. During that time, they were reportedly hunters and gatherers, but gained knowledge of agriculture, and now, live pleasant and pastoral lives throughout the Heartlands.

Historical Figures

  • Targas Proudfoot is the most famous halfling by far. Master ranger, Warden of Flusk, and champion of the Elveswar are all titles he holds. Targas was touched by the spirit of the Olden Days, and led the Small Folk against the Alphosian Empire for a time, using their stealth and skill to confound the elves with guerrilla tactics. It is said that his exploits and fame were so great that he fathered the ancestors of dozens of halfling-clans around the Free Kingdoms. Almost every halfling out there claims Targas as their forefather or far-flung relative.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

Halflings are friendly, and try to see the best in all races. Still, it is impossible for halflings to note the differences between themselves and others. They are impressed with the dwarfs' loyalty, diligence, and history, but find them stubborn and gruff. Likewise, they seem enamored with the wisdom of elves, but repelled by their aloof and joyless demeanor. They seem to get on best with men, although halflings wish they would just slow down and check their ambition before someone gets hurt. Halflings are sometimes wary of the larger, more intimidating orcs, but are quick to look beyond their prejudices.

Lifespan
Halflings have lifespans comparable to humans.
Average Height
Halflings stand between 3' and 4' tall.
Average Weight
Halflings have rather rotund builds and are fairly heavy for their small size, weighing between 30 and 50 pounds.

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