Goods things come in small packages
Genetics and Reproduction
Smallfolk reproduce sexually, with a nine month typical gestation period. They most commonly have a single offspring, though occasionally multiple offspring will show up, though rarely more than two. Notably, smallfolk have a rapid post-natal healing period thanks to a relatively easy birthing process, and most are capable of becoming pregnant again within one to two weeks after giving birth. This typically leads to quite large family units.
Growth Rate & Stages
Smallfolk mature at the same rate as humans, but are generally considered young until they reach 40 years old. Smallfolk maximum life expectancy is around 350 years.
Ecology and Habitats
Smallfolk have a tendency to prefer higher elevations, as they most often craft homes or whole cities within the earth. The style and degree to which this occurs depends on the sub-species. Mountainfolk, for example, often build complex, grandiose cities deep beneath the mountains of their homelands, while hillfolk and valleyfolk create simple burrows just beneath the surface of the rise and fall of the landscape. Forestfolk, on the other hand, tend to build inside the root structure of, and in some cases the trunks of, trees within their forest homelands.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Smallfolk are omnivorous, and have varied individual preferences. Broadly speaking, mountainfolk eat more meat and mushrooms, hillfolk and valleyfolk prefer vegetables and tubers, while forestfolk tend to like fruits and nuts.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
Smallfolk are all adept at seeing in dim and dark conditions. They can see in dim light within 60 feet of them as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. They can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Civilization and Culture
Among many others across the globe, the smallfolk have several important kingdoms in the Black Sail Coast, including the mountainfolk strongholds of Mirabar and Gauntlgrym, and the valleyfolk settlement Goldenfields.
The scions of the noble Denisova Tribe from the Ice Age, smallfolk have passed through a period of having fallen from grace in the eyes of other hominids. After the events of the Godswar, the Denisova Tribe returned to their roots: the roots of the earth. Not as deeply hidden as other species that have taken shelter beneath Gaia's protective bosom, the Denisovans mostly preferred to stay within a few dozen feet of the surface. The cataclysms of the era and the following ice age forced them further and further inland on the lands they fled Meara to. Once the ice receded and the Denisovans emerged in the aftermath, they found a world sparesely populated. Meanwhile their underground societies were flourishing, and so a few simply stayed, though with more frequent sojourns to the surface. Most however moved back to the surface of the world. During the following centuries they were rediscovered by the taller tribes and the two tribes, now strangers once again, reintegrated. The word 'denizen' in the Common tongue actually comes from the human mispronunciation of Denisovan, and the word 'den' originally referred to the subterranian homes the Denisovans would live in. They began to be referred to differently by what tools these toolmasters specialized in, with the colloquial terms 'dwarf', 'gnome', 'hobbit', and 'fairy' referring to crafting stone and metal, tinkering, farming and cooking, and herbalism in Old Common, respectively. Some humans and other taller species grew jealous of the secrets the Denisovans guarded, such as advanced metalcraft, and began to persecute them, using their height as an easy identifier. This became a kind of widespread prejudice against them, and the beginning of using the term 'smallfolk'. Over time however, and after even more catastrophes, this prejudice faded and the Denisovans adopted the term smallfolk, owning it and robbing it of power over them. Most smallfolk are respected and treated equally nowadays, and their worth is determined by their personal merits rather than their height.