Realms of Thorin
Halflings refer to themselves as the Erhavas, which roughly translates into “the folk”. To them, family is everything. Lacking a homeland, they turn to each other for stability and security, both physical and emotional. Their society is organized into caravans, each consisting of several extended families. They travel in special wagons pulled by ponies. Each wagon is brightly colored (as is all halfling dress), and they are often covered in carvings, either of geometric patterns, plant life, or animals, according to the inhabitants. The interiors of the wagons are also lavishly decorated, with silk pillows, surfaces inlaid with semi-precious stones (or perhaps just glass, depending on the wealth of the owner).
The diminutive halflings survive in a world full of larger creatures by avoiding notice or, barring that, avoiding offense. Standing about 3 feet tall, they appear relatively harmless and so have managed to survive for centuries in the shadow of empires and on the edges of wars and political strife. They are inclined to be stout, weighing between 40 and 45 pounds. Halflings’ skin ranges from tan to pale with a ruddy cast, and their hair is usually brown or sandy brown and wavy. They have brown or hazel eyes. Halfling men often sport long sideburns, but beards are rare among them and mustaches even more so.
Halflings are seen by others cheerful, welcoming folk, always ready with a drink and some food for those visiting a caravan. They do this as a form of self-defense, to make those whose lands they are passing through more at ease with their presence. Because they are so giving, it is seldom noticed, until after they are gone, that the halflings never let anyone see what is inside the wagons. In deed, while the halflings may spin tales and sing for hours, they never reveal much about themselves at all. This need for privacy has lead to a host of rumors about halflings, not many of them flattering.
Each caravan is lead by a Chief Drover, who is elected by the heads of the comprising families. The Chief Drover leads until his (or her) death, or until they lose the confidence of the caravan members. In either case, a special meeting of elders is held, and a new Chief Drover is chosen. Often, this choice has already been made, informally, through campfire gossip and talks over tea. It has been know, however, for a caravan to split if no agreement can be made.
Once a decade or so, multiple caravans will converge upon one location. This meeting (called a taramine) is an occasion of great celebration. The days are filled with sports (halflings are fond of bocce ball, lacrosse, and polo from dog-back), dances (including the bowl dance), and feasts. Nights are given over drinking, more dancing, and storytelling. This meeting is a chance for exchange, of goods, information, and affections. Almost all halfling courtships are begun at the taramine.
This meeting of caravans is not only an event of significance to the halflings, but it is also a destinations for non-halflings. Humans of one kingdom may linger around the campfires of caravans that frequent a rival land, gleaning intelligence on the state of their enemy, without the risk of actually espionage. Forbidden goods may be passed across borders, as well as fugitives. Thrill seekers may attend a taramine wishing to hear any new rumors of adventure. Often, human nobles will go in disguise to a taramine, just to experience a festival where they are treated as regular people (for what ever reason they would wish that).
Halfling caravans follow the laws of whatever kingdom they may be passing through, but they also have their own code. The First Law of the Erhavas is: Do Not Betray the Caravan. If halflings cannot trust the members of their own caravan (that is, their family), then they are vulnerable. Betrayal can include, but is not limited to: stealing from or cheating caravan members, causing physical or emotional harm to members, impeding the progress of the caravan’s travel, alerting hostile factions to the caravan’s presence or movement. The definition is determined by the Chief Drover, and so varies from caravan to caravan. The Second Law of the Erhavas concerns conduct between halflings and other folk. It is, simply, Don’t Get Caught. Halflings will forgive almost any behavior towards outsiders, as long as it does not bring unwanted attention to the caravan.
Halflings are known throughout the kingdoms as excellent woodworkers and textile makers. In towns, settled halflings take up occupations such as wood carvers, tailors, weavers, or similar. Travelling halflings sell finished wooden objects (bowls, cups, statuary), clothing, or bolts of brightly colored cloth.
The other great industry of the halflings is entertainment. Halflings are born storytellers, natural singers, and extraordinary dancers. They practice their singing via way chants, songs sung to keep the pace as the caravan travels. When they arrive in a village, they often set up a stage (if one is not available in a tavern), and sing songs and tell stories for coin. The performances usually end with a performance of the halfling bowl dance, wherein a dancer begins with one bowl upon her head, and more bowls are added as the music tempo increases. (Often, wagers are placed against the number of bowls reached before the dancer looses balance. It is a great source of revenue for the halflings.)
Halflings prefer to use diplomacy to avoid fighting, but when necessary, they are courageous fighters. They make great use of mounted archery, firing from the backs of riding dogs, rarely staying in one spot, denying the enemy a chance to fire back.
Halflings have a special fondness for dogs. They see a kinship between the loyalty of a dog pack and the loyalty within a caravan. It is not uncommon for a caravan to have as many dogs with it as it does halflings. An individual halfling my have a favorite canine (and the dogs may choose a favorite halfling), but the dogs belong to the caravan, if they can be said to belong to anyone, for they come and go as the please.
Halfling religion, as with everything else, centers on family, specifically, ancestors. Halflings believe that if they pay proper respect and reverence to their ancestors, then the ancestors will watch over their descendants. Each caravan has at least one official patron ancestor, usually a particularly notable Chief Drover, waychanter, or someone who did something extraordinary in service of the caravan. Each family will then have its own ancestors that it will call upon in times of need. The belief among halfling priests is that any spell effect is in actuality the action of one or more of their deceased loved ones intervening on their behalf.
Affable and Positive
Halflings try to get along with everyone else and are loath to make sweeping generalizations— especially negative ones.
- Dwarves. “Dwarves make loyal friends, and you can count on them to keep their word. But would it hurt them to smile once in a while?”
- Elves. "They’re so beautiful! Their faces, their music, their grace and all. It’s like they stepped out of a wonderful dream. But there’s no telling what’s going on behind their smiling faces— surely more than they ever let on.”
- Humans. “ Humans are a lot like us, really. At least some of them are. Step out of the castles and keeps, go talk to the farmers and herders and you’ll find good, solid folk. Not that there’s anything wrong with the barons and soldiers—you have to admire their conviction. And by protecting their own lands, they protect us as well."
A halfling has a given name, a family name, and possibly a nickname. Family names are often nicknames that stuck so tenaciously they have been passed down through the generations.
Male Names: Alton, Ander, Cade, Corrin, Eldon, Errich, Finnan, Garret, Lindal, Lyle, Merric, Milo, Osborn, Perrin, Reed, Roscoe, Wellby
Female Names: Andry, Bree, Callie, Cora, Euphemia, Jillian, Kithri, Lavinia, Lidda, Merla, Nedda, Paela, Portia, Seraphina, Shaena, Trym, Vani, Verna
Family Names: Brushgather, Goodbarrel, Greenbottle, High-hill, Hilltopple, Leagallow, Tealeaf, Thorngage, Tosscobble, Underbough
Your halfling character has a number of traits in common with all other halflings.
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2.
Age. A halfling reaches adulthood at the age of 20 and generally lives into the middle of his or her second century.
Alignment. Most halflings are lawful good. As a rule, they are good-hearted and kind, hate to see others in pain, and have no tolerance for oppression. They are also very orderly and traditional, leaning heavily on the support of their community and the comfort of their old ways.
Size. Halflings average about 3 feet tall and weigh about 40 pounds. Your size is Small.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet.
Lucky. When you roll a 1 on an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll.
Brave. You have advantage on saving throws against being frightened.
Halfling Nimbleness. You can move through the space of any creature that is of a size larger than yours.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Halfling. The Halfling language isn’t secret, but halflings are loath to share it with others. They write very little, so they don’t have a rich body of literature. Their oral tradition, however, is very strong. Almost all halflings speak Common to converse with the people in whose lands they dwell or through which they are traveling.
The two main kinds of halfling, lightfoot and stout, are more like closely related families than true subraces. Choose one of these subraces.
As a lightfoot halfling, you can easily hide from notice, even using other people as cover. You’re inclined to be affable and get along well with others. Originating in Valonde, lightfoot halflings have spread the farthest and thus are the most common variety. Lightfoots are more prone to wanderlust than other halflings, and often dwell alongside other races or take up a nomadic life.
Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 1.
Naturally Stealthy. You can attempt to hide even when you are obscured only by a creature that is at least one size larger than you.
As a stout halfling, you’re hardier than average and have some resistance to poison. Some say that stouts have dwarven blood. In Thorin, these halflings are called stronghearts, and they’re most commonly found in western Valonde.
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 1.
Stout Resilience. You have advantage on saving throws against poison, and you have resistance against poison damage.