The War for Thamatra
Concerning Halflings in Thamatra
Halflings in Thamatra are considered to be related to humans, although they have many characteristics that suggest that they evolved under conditions similar to the gnomes and wild elves during the Years of Darkness. Their physical features of small stature (under 4ft), stocky builds (up to 100lbs+), and roundish headshapes almost suggest a gnomish influence, whereas their facial features of arched eyebrows and pointed ears are almost elvish. Halflings have body hair, but facial hair is usually limited to the sideburn growths amongst the male population. All halflings have a thick pelt of hair on the tops of their feet. Like gnomes, halflings float, barely, and tend to be poor swimmers (except for Tallfellows).
Halflings also share common habitats, common skillsets, and common interests with the gnomes and wild elves. Halflings dwell in meadows, hill country, and other areas where there are open fields associated with woodlands and hills, and can usually be found in proximity to gnomish colonies or wild elf territories. They usually shun city life. Halflings love parties, bright color clothing, and general merriment, traits which are common with both gnome and wild elf species. They also have common enemies; goblins, kobolds and their allied ilk are hated by halfling, gnome and wild elf alike.
Halflings are agrarian in nature. In the regions where they have settled, their entire society is based on a pastoral lifestyle, and halflings are often engaged in gardening, crop farming, and breeding livestock appropriate to the halflings stature. Small breeds of pig and cattle have been developed by the halflings, although they have yet to do so with poultry and waterfowl. Goats and ponies, which are already proportioned correctly for halflings, are the preferred beasts for light draft work. Halflings are also partial to canines, typically keeping dogs for pets and security. Halflings do eat meat, but tend to be kind to the animals they raise for that purpose. Wild game such as rabbit and quail are also welcome table fare.
Halflings are a hardy, hardworking race, able to do hard physical labor in various farming and construction endeavors. They are also talented with their fingers, being able to craft almost anything they need. However, halflings are not as work-driven as the gnomes; they prefer to do a days work at a leisurely pace, with lots of breaks. Halflings make reasonable jewelers, armorers and weaponsmiths, and can be ingenious designers, although not necessarily to the level of the gnomes. Halflings are naturals at making snares and traps, and they are notoriously accurate with missile weapons, especially stones.
Halflings usually dress in clothing fitting to their lifestyle and social status. Most males wear knee-length woolen trousers of browns and other dark tones, and linen shirts of lighter colors. Most females wear dresses, ranging from functional to elegant. Usually the halfling will have a cloak. Hardly ever do you see a halfling wearing footwear; they don’t usually need it. All males (and some females) wear vests; these are both utility items (a place for more pockets) and a display of status based on materials and embellishments. Belts, pouches and gloves tend to be of leather.
Halflings dwell in small homes that are essentially burrows into hillsides, with multiple rooms and halls that expand with each generation into sprawling warrens, some of which are fortified. In areas where they congregate and form a community, specialists such as millers, smiths, tailors and brewers develop, and every hafting village has at least one mill, smithy and tavern.
Halflings also believe in education, at least for the middle and upper classes, usually sending the young halfling into fostering by another family, where they learn the skills of reading, writing, basic math (for accounting), and basic business customs (such as sealing deals before the party). The labor class of halfling society tends to be marginally literate at best, but usually are excellent craftsfolk, gardeners and animal handlers.
Halfling communities are organized and governed by a popularly elected council, usually consisting of several of the more well-to-do hafting household leaders, local businessfolk, and the General Public. Most communities also has a chief administrator (mayor), elected to be the leader in times of trouble (and scapegoat if things go bad from there). Oftentimes the communities will also have a standing watch warden or constable for general security (like making sure the “reveling citizenry” don’t drown in the millpond on their way home from the pub). In times of need, the council may call for a muster of all able-bodied halfling folk for the defense of the community.
Halflings who dwell in cities usually form their own neighborhoods where the housing and economy has been adjusted more to their liking. These halfling enclaves will oftentimes be self-governing and self-regulated, with representatives answering to whatever civic leadership is in place in that particular city.
The inhabitants of these neighborhoods work at jobs within the city at tasks that they are deemed suited for, such as bookkeeping, intricate craftwork, and gardening. In some cities, the halflings prosper, and their neighborhoods are bright, cheery places; in others, they are downtrodden, living in ghettos of despair.
Halflings will willingly trade with any one of the Other Peoples, provided it is in good faith and doesn’t harm their lifestyle, and don’t mind making a profit if possible. However, the past interactions with certain other bigger races have been known to be difficult, so the more isolated halfling communities tend to restrict their contact with the Other Peoples to those of similar height and interests, such as gnomes, dwarves and elves. Typically the race that gives the halflings the most problems (besides the Goblinkin) is the humans, who tend to view then as awkward children, nuisances, or in some cases, vermin.
Halflings in general have both keen vision and exceptional hearing, able to see and hear things from amazing distances. They are also agile, able to move silently in most terrain and able to hide in almost any type of cover. Halflings typically have some form of infravision. These skills have evolved in response to the constant threat from the larger predatory fauna, as well as those humanoid species who find halfling delectable.
Halflings have a high resistance to magical phenomena, as well as to poisons or disease. However, they have limited resistance to life/manna draining events. They are susceptible to weather, fire, lycanthropy, and vampirism. Halflings have a hatred for undead like the elves and dwarves do. Halflings are somewhat aware of changes in earth energies, and can usually sense magic energies better than other Mankin.
Halflings can be of any profession (class) except magic user (there are rare cases where Tallfellows have become mages, and where Stouts have become illusionists, but these are very rare occurrences). Most adventuring halflings are fighters or thieves, with some clerics. In hafting cultures, the more rural areas tend to produce farmers, fighters and craftspersons; the more urban areas tend to produce clerics, fighters and rogues, as well as specialized craftsfolk and merchants. Most halflings are actively engaged in some form of trade or skill at an early age, usually in the teenage years, although in halfling communities the age of true adulthood is usually 30 years old. Halflings can live to be 150 years old in exceptional cases.
Halfling breeds in Thamatra are: Harefeet, Tallfellow, and Stout. Halflings are known to be interracially fertile with both gnomes and elves, as well as humans. This ability to crossbreed is believed to be the origins of the Tallfellow and Stout breeds, although more current evidence suggests all halflings may descend from a crossbreeding of elf, gnome and human during the Dark Years.
And, now, the Halflings:
Harefoot – the Harefoot (or Harefeet) halfling is the most common breed of halfling. Typically limited to just under 3-1/2 ft in height and 50-70lbs in weight, Harefeet are the essential halfling, loving food, working hard (to make a living), and shunning adventure as something scandalous (which it is, in polite halfling society). Harefeet tend to be homebodies, rarely leaving the areas of their birth, and usually fill some needed occupations within their communities, ranging from craftsfolk and farmers to merchants, millers and community leaders.
Harefeet all aspire to be rich, since it allows them to push their agendas and embellish their status within their communities, but don’t view adventuring as a legitimate means of acquiring it. They prefer to use skills and trading as their means to riches, along with the “buy cheap – sell dear” theme to business. Harefeet have no qualms about using their status to influence business dealings with their cousins, and will also use rumor as a tool. Issues such as comfort, social status (which Harefeet are very conscious of), and security are often publicly discussed and debated (usually in the pubs). As such, most politicians and civic leaders are Harefeet, except in times of direst need, when Stouts and Tallfellows tend to become leaders of the militias.
The adventuring Harefoot is usually an outcast of sorts, often a rebellious youth who is bucking The System and has decided that adventuring is a viable means to wealth (which it is, if you survive). They tend to be fighters, clerics and rogues, although some who dwell in the cities become traders, craftsfolk, merchants, clerics and local leaders.
The typical Harefoot has brown hair, usually thick on head, body and feet, and brown to green eyes, although blonde/blue-eye variants are known in those who may have some Tallfellow blood. Clothing is usually of practical sturdy fabrics, but the quality of the materials and level of embellishments varies with social standing (farmers wear wool vests; merchants wear silk brocade vests). Colors tend to be somber for working clothes and brighter for party wear.
Tallfellows – the Tallfellows are the fairest of the halflings, having slighter but taller bodies than the Harefeet, averaging almost 4ft tall and usually about 60lbs, with brown to blonde hair and blue eyes. Clothing tends to be woolens and linens, but are usually bright colored and more designed for comfort than style. The body density of the Tallfellows is such that it resembles a human body density, allowing them to float better on water than Harefeet or Stouts. This has allowed Tallfellows to become excellent (by halfling standards) swimmers, and many Tallfellows communities are along lakes and streams. Some Tallfellows even build and use boats and small watercraft for trade and recreation.
Tallfellows are more easygoing than their Harefeet cousins, preferring music, song and merriment above labor and toil, and tend to be not as judgmental in dealings with other races and adventurers. In fact, Tallfellows tend to be more inclined to pursue an adventurers life, at least for as long as it takes to amass a tidy nest-egg to “retire early, in comfort,” as it were. Image and social standing are irrelevant to a Tallfellow; they will make efforts to “keep up appearances” in the community they dwell in, but would prefer to be left to their own devices in their burrow-homes, where they can entertain elves, old campaign friends, and other scandalous folk in privacy. As adventurers, Tallfellows tend to be clerics, fighters and rogues, but those with exceptional skills may sometimes become bards and mages.
Tallfellows usually can adapt to city life better than their cousins. Their innate friendliness opens doors that otherwise would be closed to other halflings, and this gift they use to their advantage. Many Tallfellows have become successful traders, merchants and negotiators in all manner of goods and services in cities with a mixed racial populace. Their mannerisms also make them the natural leaders in times of crisis within their communities, as halflings in general won’t follow orders from someone who they dislike or distrust (such as Harefoot politicians).
Tallfellows are highly intelligent, oftentimes taking on research as a hobby, be it in agriculture, brewing or some other sciences that interests them. They are also creative, writing poetry, prose and songs as an everyday habit. These characteristics add to the charm of the Tallfellow, with some becoming minstrels within their communities. Due to their adventuring streak, many Tallfellows have managed to return to their homelands incredibly wealthy (much to the dismay of the Harefeet), and will invest some of this wealth into their communities, especially in higher education for the less fortunate.
Tallfellows are also more prone to have some psyonic abilities in exceptional individuals. These are very rare, and tend to manifest themselves in unfavorable circumstances, as halfling society really does not have the skills necessary to be able to detect and develop psyonic abilities effectively. Instead, the psyonic halfling tends to become alienated from its community, and will usually leave their homes to seek their fortunes elsewhere, hopefully finding help for their “malady” (as it’s sometimes called) along the way.
Stouts – Weighing in at almost 80lbs and seldom over 3ft tall, Stouts are the shortest and stockiest of the halfling breeds. Naturally suited for heavy toil, Stouts are the laborers of halfling society. They tend to be masons, smiths and construction specialists, having both the fortitude and the mental capacity to make or build just about anything a halfling community needs. They are also suited for mining, animal handling and millwork, able to handle large loads easily. They favor heavy clothing of somber tones, and typically have dark hair and dark eyes. Stouts are poor swimmers due to their density.
Stouts have an awareness of their social standing within any given community, usually as the working class. They tend to view their role of laborer and tradesman as an honorable one, since the quality of their labors tend to determine their standing, and tend to encourage their young to follow in the family trade. Stouts are intelligent, but education is accepted only as long as it is directed to the advancement of the skilled trades (like math and blueprint reading); topics such as music and poetry are considered frivolous wastes of time, and public displays of talent and wit by Stouts are usually frowned upon, when such efforts should be directed towards work, or in drinking vast quantities of beer while watching the Tallfellows “make fools of themselves” at the pub.
Stouts are generally of a gruff but somewhat friendly disposition. They are very trustworthy, and put as much value on their word as their work. Stouts are not usually adventurers, but are more inclined to migrate into the cities in order to make their fortunes than their cousins, usually in construction and landscaping. However, the Stout who is down on their luck will resort to adventuring, using their talents as fighters or rogues to earn a living. Stouts are more adventurous than Harefeet, if for no other reason than it gives Harefeet fits. Stout adventurers tend to be fighters or rogues, with the occasional cleric. Stouts are naturally good at intricate devices and small fabrications. Stouts with exceptional intelligence sometimes may become illusionists.
Stouts distrain accepting charity, self-reliance being one of their ethical virtues (it’s more ethical to loot ruins and rob rich buggers than beg for a handout), but will give charity freely to other halflings in worst states of being than themselves, as long as the recipient isn’t “a lame ass” – someone who won’t work to better themselves (yes, Stouts have their own opinions on what “bettering oneself” means – even adventuring is a better fate than having to rely on charity to survive).
Notes on Halflings in Brendanmoor:
Brendanmoor has a large halfling population. Most halfling communities are located in the South Hills, an area south of Lake Miramere and Lakeside Locks, east of the Crystal River, north of Westwood, west of Durham’s Downs. The area is predominately fields, meadows and wooded hills scattered thru the countryside. The villages of the area are primarily agrarian and textile-based economies, with local governments and a regional administrator. Regional capitol is Southall, located in the Heartlands, the center of the South Hills.
Most Harefeet dwell in the Heartlands around Southall, with a sizable population in the cities of Windstop and Oldstone Keep. The areas around the Crystal River are predominately Tallfellow communities, as is the village of Harper’s Ferry by the Kingswood/Westwood border. Most Stouts dwell in the hills near Durham’s Downs, and associate with the gnome and dwarvern communities of the Downs and Kaladan’s Dam to the Northeast.
The South Hills Region produces grain, beer, meat and dairy as well as wool. Most of these products is for use within the kingdom, with surplus’s being traded for outside goods, and for goods from the Downs and the Dam.
The Highlands to the north of Lake Miramere also has some mixed communities of halfling/human/other populace, especially in the High Country. Most of these Halflings are of Stout or Tallfellow stock; Tallfellows because they like the solitude of the Highlands, Stouts because they’re as tough as the terrain. There are some Harefeet, but most Harefeet dwell closer to Lakeside, where the trading happens in the region. There is also a Tallfellow presence in Lakeside Locks for a small shipbuilding community.
The primary export of the Highlands (and the kingdom) is wool. Most wool is sold as a finished product of cloth, sorted based on quality, color, and other properties. Other exports include metal goods from the Dam and Highland Whiskey.