- For role-play purposes, halfling Cs are able to detect anything living or moving around them within an area of effect equal to Power Level 3.
The Little Folk (halflings, hobbits, wee-folk) of Mythandar are much as they have been portrayed in classic literature and films. An adult rarely stands over four feet tall, and they are childlike in proportion. They have large eyes and round to slightly pointed ears. In Anglamar and the West, they are generally fair with blonde, sandy or dark hair and eyes of varying hue. Halflings are very quick, naturally stealthy and adept at avoiding danger - talents that have served them well in a world of far larger and more dangerous creatures. However, most halflings prefer a calm, ordered and non-adventurous existence and those who take risks or venture out into the big wide world are considered, at the very least, to be slightly insane by their kin.
The Halfling lifespan is slightly longer than that of humans and oldsters over a hundred years are common. They are not considered to reach adulthood until their twenties, so halfling familiies are usually large with children remaining at home twice as long as most human children.
Halflings have always lived seperately from other people, gathering in their own rural communities and chosing to trade and travel among themselves. The physical differences are simply too great for humans and halflings to coexist on a large scale. Humans are too loud, use too much and are far too aggressive for halfling tastes. They have had little contact with dwarves, having even less in common with them, despite the similarity in size (dwarves are still larger and physically stronger). Halflings do not mind elves, but consider them to be fay, meaning inexplicably strange and alien in nature and motivation. Halflings do not practice the Magic Arts as humans do (most have a superstitious fear of magic), though they are fascinated by magic tricks, or "sorcelments." They are not generally greedy but fascinated and attracted to bright and ornate items such as jewelry, badges and baubles. For the few halflings who pracice the profession of thievery, the attraction of a gem or a glittering gold ornament is irresistible.
Obviously, the profession of warrior is not prominent among the Little Folk. However, they can fight and will do so viciously to protect themselves and their families. Halfling archers are renowned for their skill and halfling woodsmen are second only to elves in their ability to move and hide in the wild.
Halflings are quicker and more agile than humans, but physically weaker and less tough. They possess no innate magical abilities nor any special rsistance to magic (as do elves and dwarves).
Halflings have an animal-like ability to see at night (some humans have described it as "rodent-like") and very sharp hearing, particularly sensitive to high-pitched and soft sounds (like distant whistles, whispers or rustling leaves). They have a reputation among humans as eaves-droppers, often accused of being too nosey and curious. To a halfling, these are simply survival traits.
As a people, halfling religious beliefs and practices are simple. They worship the Great Mother as the matronly goddess of life, nature, the family and good fortune and have a deep-seated terror of dark and evil powers. To them, evil and ill-fortune are represented by Hob the Prankster, a stunted, twisted entity with an evil rat-like face, mushapen body and spindly limbs covered in course hair. Halfling priestesses service their communities as healers, midwives, apothecares and fortune-tellers.
Halflings believe that the afterlife is a pleasant place for those who are good, honest and hard-working. The Farthest Hills are a place of peace and security where families are reunited and there are constant celebrations. Those who are bad will find themselves in Underburrow, lost and alone in an endless maze of dank gloom and misery where Hob the Prankster will torment them.
Halfling origins are lost in the mists of time, though it is believed that they have existed at least as long as mankind. Naturally drawn to green and well-watered hills where they can build their burrow homes, farm and fish the rivers and streams, they have always dwelled seperate from men. Throughout history, they have been forced to abandon their homes and move elsewhere when men begin to intrude upon them. In many lands across Mythandar, the Little Folk have been forgotten or become little more than a myth, the subject childrens tales ...
In the West, halflings inhabited the valley of the upper Andural River before the Koths migrated from the East. As the barbarians moved westward, halflings withdrew farther south and were soon surrounded, with the Kothic clans to the north and west, orc-infested mountains to the east, and the Imperial province of Arandor to their south. Thus, they survived for centuries against the pressures and hardships of a world inhabited by large, greedy and dangerous people.
By the time of the founding of Anglamar, most halflings inhabited the hilly region along the middle Andural, known today as the Dales. Men still intruded on them and forced them to subsist in the less fertile areas, until the year 1336 I.R. when a plague swept through southern Anglamar and the coastal cities. The halflings themselves were unaffected, though the human settlements in their midst were abandoned. Then, followed the Long Winter of 1338-40 and there were many orcish incursions from the Storm Giant Mountains. One large horde swarmed into the Howling Hills and began to raid into Arandor. The halflings, fearing that their homes would be overrun, sent word to King Holmar at Gondaran and prepared to defend themselves. Led by the stout waterman, Buckleman the Boatwright, some 1000 or more halfling archers and farmfolk marched to intercept the orcs. They harried and harrassed the orcs as they pressed westward, slowing the enemy advance until the arrival of the army of Anglamar. In one day-long battle (and many scattered skirmishes) the orcs were routed and pushed back to the mountains. As reward for their efforts, King Holmar invested the Dales as a county under Royal jurisdiction, setting it outside the rule of the Barons, and granting Buckleman and his descendants the title of Warden of the Dales.
Today, the vast majority of halflings in Anglamar live in the Dales, though there are a few who have moved to the towns and cities of men. Even more rare are halflings who have taken to the wandering life of adventurers. There may be other populations of halflings elsewhere in Mythandar, but they are unknown in the West.