Halflings

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CONTENTS


CONTINENT

The halfling continent, Dalreen, is actually a chain of islands stretching across the Queran Sea, and lies more west than south of Ornoth, the human continent. The islands are fairly small, even for a halfling’s diminutive stature, so almost the entire race has taken to the sea. Many fleets act as merchant convoys, ferrying goods from place to place around the rest of the world. Others resort to piracy, but most of these limit their activities to non-halfling vessels. Because of this, the canny halflings enjoy a rather large advantage when it comes to sea-based transportation. Token efforts are made to dissuade the pirates, but since they are actually doing the rest of the race a favour they aren’t punished too harshly (unless a ship belonging to some other race manages to chase them down).


SPIRITS

Since halflings have always lived a nomadic existence with few permanent shelters, the spirits of their homeland inhabit the haflings’ wagons instead. There are a number of “regular” spirits, but these are smaller and fewer by far than those who care for the travelling caravans. As the halfling race grew past the capacity of their little string of islands, they began to build ships instead of wagons. The spirits, long since accustomed to their travelling homes, found the change easy. The tendency for groups of ships to travel together for significant periods of time allows one or more spirits to come to dominance – but this is by no means the same as what happens on Ornoth, where a single spirit subsumes all others and ends up the only one left. Rather, all spirits coexist in a more or less stable fashion, but the dominant ones are able to exert more influence over the fleet as a whole. Overall, the interactions between the spirits mirror those between individual halflings, just on a larger scale. And with boats.


OTHER RACES

Dwarves are fond of halflings in the same way that an older brother is fond of his awkward smaller sibling. Halflings have a knack for figuring out how to fit in and make themselves useful, both traits that dwarves prize highly. At the same time, halflings as a race do not hold battle in high regard.

Most elves don’t know what to make of halflings. The little folk seem charming, but also seem to hold something back. Halflings are somewhat in awe of elves and tend to be on their best behaviour around them, but extended contact brings them out of their shells to reveal their fun-loving nature.

Many gnomes find halflings to be the most frustrating allies they have. On one hand, gnomes respect halfings for their practicality and ability to adapt. On the other hand, they consider halflings to be flighty and undisciplined, and content with an unexamined existence.

Humans have a strong affinity for halflings. They are respected for their drive, curiosity, and willingness to get along. Despite this, many humans retain the impression that halflings are whimsical or cute, much to the dismay of the small folk. Travelling halflings learn quickly to either tolerate these attitudes or redouble their efforts to act fiercer than the big folk.


CLASSES

BERSERKER (Barbarian)

Halfling berserkers are not common; the race thrives on regular contact with other societies. However, a vessel wrecked on some deserted coastline, cut off from civilization, could have reverted to barbarism. Pirate ships sometimes employ (or enslave) berserkers – they are quite useful in ship-to-ship combat.

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MINSTREL (Bard)

Song and story are the foundations of the halflings’ traditions, so minstrels are fairly common. They are valuable additions to a merchant fleet because of their support capacity, and when in port can act as shills to spread rumours that may later support a scam. Pirate ships will usually have a single minstrel.

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PRIEST (Cleric) Every boat has a spirit, and usually a cleric to go with it. They work in supporting roles on ships – cooks, carpenters, and et cetera. When called to defend their fleet they perform a similar task by augmenting the combat capabilities of their front-line fighters, and by modifying the battlefield.

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SHAMAN (Druid)

Because of their affinity for weather magic and their ability to converse with the often dangerous animals of the ocean, a shaman is a prized member of any crew. Few shamans take up with pirates, due to the fact that they are often far more interested in material wealth than in the bounty of the seas.

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WARRIOR (Fighter)

Because of their small stature, halfling warriors are not as highly regarded as those of other races. While not proficient in the stand-and-fight situations that dwarves excel at, they are quite agile and try to keep enemies off-guard. Halfling warriors are less common than hunters, both on land and at sea.

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CRUSADER (Paladin)

Halfling crusaders are rare – instead of one per spirit, it is more common to find one per fleet. They act as commodores, commanding and coordinating the boats under their care. As head of the fleet, they handle any serious diplomatic matters and have to approve any especially large purchases made by the merchants.

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HUNTER (Ranger)

Halfling hunters are professional sailors and accomplished trackers – the most experienced can trail a ship through troubled waters even with a three day lead. They are master archers, and few of them take up the two-weapon fighting style. Flaming arrows tend to be their weapon of choice.

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SNEAK (Rogue)

As the most common archetype among halflings, sneaks are ubiquitous on board the merchant fleets and wherever they set ashore. Many have skills useful for keeping the ships in good working condition, and when land-bound ply their larcenous trade as often as possible without getting caught.

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MAGE (Sorcerer/Wizard)

Because of the halfling belief that magic is less useful than technology, mages of either kind are rare among the little folk. They tend to focus on damaging spells to use in defense of the fleet and/or capture of fleeing prey. Scholars and blood mages are equally uncommon.

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Halflings

Dei Penates ArcaneZedric