Halfling Species in Zheng-Kitar | World Anvil

Halfling

The karmic supersoldiers once bred for a singular bloody purpose, who now carve their own path in the world

Base Racial Traits

 
Ability Score Modifiers: (+2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom) Halflings are both durable as a result of their Supersoldier Physicalities and wise beyond their years as a result of the sins of their forefathers.   Size: Halflings are small-sized creatures, and gain all the appropriate benefits and penalties.   Type: Halflings are humanoid creatures with the Halfling Subtype.   Speed: Halflings have a base land speed of 30ft.   Vision: Halflings have no special visions.   Languages: Halflings begin play speaking The Regional Language(See Languages of Zheng-Kitar) that reflects their place of origins, and Halfling. Halflings with high INT scores can select any non-secret bonus languages they wish, to represent their varied natures and birthplaces.   Supersoldier Physique: Selectively bred over hundreds of generations in the hopes of creating the perfect supersoldiers, Halflings have bodies that stand at the peak of mortality and take no encumbrance penalties until they are overloaded beyond their heavy load. Additionally, they wield all weapons as if they were medium sized and gain a +2 luck bonus to Fortitude Saves. At the start of each day, a halfling may roll a 1d4 - on a 2 or 3, this luck bonus is applied to their Reflex or Will Saves respectively instead of Fortitude. On a 4, the bonus is increased by 1 while on a 1 the bonus is reduced by 1. The save defaults back to Fortitude at the start of each day. Additionally, halflings take no bonuses or penalties from age.   Nimble Scouts: Trained since time immemorial to serve in reconnaissance and guerilla assault operations, Halflings retain this penchant even now - as a result, they gain a +2 racial bonus on both Acrobatics and Stealth Checks, and gain Perception as a class skill if it weren't already.   Exsanguinating Sacrifice: Desperate to make up for the sins of their past, Halflings desperately seek the power to atone for their past and have, in the process, infused a terrible power into their bodies to do so. They gain the spell Blood Money as an at-will SLA with a CL equal to their HD, except they may also use the spell to create any object worth the GP limit the spell can make, not just material components. Objects created this way do not collapse back into blood after 1 round. GM is final arbiter on what special materials or certain items that this ability can create.   Roll the Dice: If a Halfling correctly calls a d20 dice roll of an enemy they can see that is about to attempt something that would require a d20 die roll(Attack, Skill Check, Etc) they may learn one piece of information about them for free(Either mechanical or lore-wise, though GM is arbiter on what is learn-able) and that enemy's roll they successfully called takes a penalty equal to the halfling's HD, while the enemy themselves takes damage equal to the halfling's HD. A halfling may only call one die roll per enemy per turn using this ability, and must name a specific roll to call if an enemy makes more than one during their turn(Such as a Full Attack).   Karmic Manipulation: When rolling any dice roll a halfling may choose to reroll it and take the better result - this must be done after the roll is made but before the results are revealed. However, doing so gives the dungeon master reroll tokens that he may use for any creature attempting any such roll against them or to make the halfling reroll and take the worse result which cannot be rerolled again through any means. This ability may be used any number of times, but the dungeon master's reroll tokens continue to stack up and last between sessions.   The Shackle: Though centuries have passed since the sealing of the Feared Warlord to whom they were once enslaved, Halflings have not fully distanced themselves from their killing instincts - whenever a halfling falls unconscious, they must roll a d100: on a result lower than 10 plus their HD, the halfling's dormant killing instincts awaken and they return to consciousness as a heightened killing machine with no sense of friend or foe under the GM's control. A halfling is allowed a will save to negate this effect, with a DC equal to 15 + their HD. This effect has a chance to trigger even when sleeping, though most halflings utilize straightjacket-esque devices when sleeping to ensure that even if this effect triggers they are hindered from harming their surroundings. Most halflings possess a "trigger phrase" that can activate this state of heightened awareness manually, but these phrases have been lost to time and scattered to the ruins of their long-gone master's empire - meaning most Halflings go their entire lives without knowing or realizing they have one.   Weapon Familiarity: Halflings are proficient with slings and treat any weapon with the word “halfling” in its name as a martial weapon.

Basic Information

Anatomy

Though they are short in stature, Halflings have incredibly resilient bodies - their anatomy, while it once was Human many thousands of years ago, was long ago changed irrevocably by hundreds of generations of selective breeding and other eugenics programs implemented to breed the Human family or group once blessed by a long-dead Saint of Luck to create the ultimate supersoldiers.   As a result, their physique is small but incredibly resilient: their bones and musculature are far denser and more resilient than they otherwise should be for a creature of their stature, with their nervous systems far more responsive and quick than even the most twitchy and reactive of Goblins - their perceptions are distinctly 'keener' than the average being in a way more resembling the fey, and their bodies are capable of shrugging off wounds most others of their size and stature would crumple from.   However, rather uniquely, this is not seemingly because they are naturally "hardy" - instead, as a unique manifestation of their luck and karmic abilities, their bodies simply "luck out" in the best ways when they are subject to physical or morphological stress or harm; bones fracture instead of break, otherwise lethal wounds just 'barely' become flesh wounds, and so on.

Genetics and Reproduction

Because of their origins as beings who were "born" from hundreds of generations of selecting breeding in various twisted eugenics programs, Halflings can sexually reproduce like many other species, but are forced to by their own very natures be extremely selecting with who they couple and mate with; though this leads many to think of them as snobby elitists who think lesser of the bloodlines of others, the truth is far more simple and insidious with clear examples of the consequences of laxity in their reproductive partners littering their own history for those who think to relax their standards to attain true happiness.   As such, the ultimate fate of halfling families who relax their stringent reproductive bloodline inspections and geneaology standards spiral towards one inevitable fate: complete genetic collapse. In truth, halfling genetics are both incredibly sturdy and resilient while simultaneously being incredibly prone to alteration or degredation if the purity of their genes is not maintained - their bodies will ultimately begin to break down into component materials within a handful of generations, resulting in mass extinctions brought on by genetic impurities that lead to terrible mutations and malformed bodies until ultimately, their bodies completely collapse and break down.   In either case, assuming a halfling finds a proper partner to mate with(Typically of their own species, but not always), a halfling female comes down with child quite similarly to any other sexually reproductive creature - carrying the child for 4-7 months before giving birth in a notably traumatic experience even by the standards of most sexually reproductive races.

Growth Rate & Stages

Once born, a halfling child matures quite rapidly and at an ultimately unnerving pace - those who are not well versed in halfling genetics or biology often find halfling younglings strange or downright unnerving due to the strange biological process known as the melding each halfling child and their parent undergoes shortly before the child is born: during this process, the mother and her child's minds briefly unify as the child is instilled with the knowledge and memories of their mother.   Because of this strange process, halfling "children" do not possess a "childhood" in the same way as children of other species - they are voracious learners and have minds more akin to adults than children, and are almost universally much more mature than other children of other species.   Halfling Children reach adolescence around the age of 7 and become full adults around the age of 10. Later on, they reach middle age around the age of 25, become old around age 40, and become venerable around the age of 50.

Ecology and Habitats

Halflings, much like the Humans they originally descended from, can adapt to nearly any climate or ecology in relatively short order.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Halflings are omnivores, though most are herbivores by culture rather than biology. They tend to hunt and forage alone on expansive homesteads, storing their food in underground homesteads to endure harsh winters or climates.

Biological Cycle

Halflings have an incredibly foreign biological cycle - they do not seem to show any clear signs of aging at all, but seem to for lack of a better understanding simply "collapse" of spontaneous organ failure around the age of 50, as their bodies suddenly begin to rapidly degrade over the span of a few short years until they simply "die". They experience no clear signs of aging aside from hair growth - their hair does not grey, their skin does not wrinkle, and by all metrics they show no signs of wear and tear until their bodies simply "give out" due to reasons that elude even the finest minds across Zheng-Kitar.   The most prevailing theory holds that this sudden bodily failure is a drawback of their innate ability to manipulate karma and luck - that the universe perhaps views them as "abnormal" and the weight of the karma or bad luck arrayed against them simply builds up over time until their mortal forms can no longer sustain it.

Behaviour

Halflings are perhaps best summarized by the maxim "Fear the rage of the quiet soul" - halflings tend to lean towards homeliness and security more than most, and while they enjoy wandering and exploring the world, they tend to prefer to avoid open and clear confrontation if at all possible. However, rather than out of any desire of peace or serenity, it mostly done out of fear of their own abilities - halflings have long since mostly abandoned their killing instincts in favor of living normal lives, but they know full well that those very instincts could resurface at a moment's notice.   As such, they tend to prefer avoiding combat altogether - though the ones who participate in it are some of the deadliest fighters in all the world.

Additional Information

Facial characteristics

Halflings have small and waifish faces that are often clean shaven(As they have a hard time growing facial hair), typically with long hair atop their head and soft but angular features. Others often see them as 'cute' or 'adorable', as their faces never quite lose their boyish or girlish charm - even when they live incredibly rugged lives. They are, as such, often mistaken for strangely mature-seeming Human children.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Halflings are quite commonly found all across Zheng-Kitar, though with one notable unique quirk - they do not tend to make themselves known often, and while they do not go so far as to "hide" themselves they rarely advertise their homesteads and prefer to dwell outside of densely populated cities and towns(Though they often reside near such places), crafting expansive multi-generational homesteads above and beneath the ground.   The one exception to this is among the Dai-Yukai and Jotun tribes of the far north - halflings can be encountered with some regularity here, though these halflings are perhaps a bit more fearsome than their introverted southern cousins as they are those who have remained in the far north, in the areas which once dwelled within their master's lands, to find a home amongst the Giants carrying out their original purpose as soldiers in exchange for shelter.

Average Intelligence

Halflings are as intelligent as the Human average.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Halflings are not innately more perceptive in the same ways as Forest Elves, but are all more capable of perceiving the world in a fundamentally more advanced way than other beings - their senses are simply 'sharper' and have a higher degree of clarity than other beings which allows them to notice small details others would miss.
Genetic Ancestor(s)
Lifespan
50 Years
Conservation Status
Halflings are not an incredibly populous people, but they are not endangered.
Average Height
2.4ft - 3.7ft (0.73m - 1.13m)
Average Weight
25 - 40lbs (11.34 - 18.14kg)
Average Physique
Despite their small size, Halflings have incredibly powerful physiques born of the selective breeding and eugenics programs that gave rise to them - making them suprisingly hardier than many would otherwise assume.   The only characteristic that gives away a Halfling from a Human child is their slightly oversized hands and feet - as well as the typically long and prodigious hair and/or body hair they tend to have.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Halflings are almost identical to Humans in terms of the body tints they can possess - ranging anywhere from dark obsidian to pale and pasty white.

Children of Twisted Luck

Though their origins now date back to a time thousands of years ago, Halflings were not always as they were in the current day - believed to have originally been a group of Humans blessed by a now-lost Saint of Luck(Long before Adelaide the Bold was crowned), halflings were initially the chosen of this Saint of Luck and blessed with unnatural luck as sign of that Saint's special favor.   It was not until a True Giant Warlord whose name has been eradicated from living memory(likely by the halflings themselves) found this group of Humans and captured them that the Halfling people began to emerge - subjected to decades and centuries of forced, selective breeding programs alongside excruciating eugenics programs designed to magnify, amplify, and empower the blessing of luck originally given to them, these once-Human slaves were subject to torment beyond reasoning during their time enslaved to this Warlord. Their bodies withering over time as the power of their blessing began to demand a greater toll on their bodies and their lifespans shortening with each generation, they slowly began to take the form of Halflings after centuries of selecting breeding as the Warlord who had enslaved them forged them into unbreakable supersoldiers - an invincible army forged with the express purpose of facilitating a continental takeover, with soldiers who not only could manipulate luck, but who could also bend karma itself to their purposes(an ability that arose after extensive selective breeding, mutating from their original luck boon) to kill any foe and win any battle.   And for a time, it worked - but it was not to last, as the halflings would in time rebel against the Warlord who had turned them into monsters; crying out in revolt as the Saint who had empowered them faded from memory, seemingly weakened by the machinations of the Warlord's efforts against their chosen champions, was lost to the annals of history. The Halflings, meanwhile, turned upon their creator and waged a bloody war that was later purposefully erased from living memory - though the war resulted in the defeat of the warlord and their subsequent sealing(As the Halflings had yet to break their final shackle and could not kill their master) in the very bottom of their master's castle whose location has been erased from all knowledge.   Though some stayed behind to guard their master, the halflings, now bereft of purpose, abandoned their brutalistic killing instincts and became their own people - determined to live their lives on their terms, by their own creed.

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